12/03/2008 - 22:00

Affordable rural charm attracts city investors

12/03/2008 - 22:00

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Although it’s still four years away from completion, the impact of the new Perth to Bunbury Highway is already being felt in residential property markets in the Peel and South West regions as more buyers look for medium to long-term growth prospects.

Affordable rural charm attracts city investors

Although it’s still four years away from completion, the impact of the new Perth to Bunbury Highway is already being felt in residential property markets in the Peel and South West regions as more buyers look for medium to long-term growth prospects.

About 70 kilometres of new road will extend the dual carriageway from Kwinana Freeway at Safety Bay Road, around the eastern side of the Peel Inlet and Harvey Estuary to join the Old Coast Road near Lake Clifton, carving 30 minutes off the travel time to Perth from Bunbury and making wide swaths of undeveloped land in the vicinity more accessible.

Landmark Realty state manager Marc Drexel said higher house prices in Perth were forcing investors and lifestyle purchasers to consider regional towns and communities that may not have been traditional investment centres.

Mr Drexel said the southern freeway was already sparking sales activity in nearby towns such as Waroona, Harvey, and Pinjarra, and further out to the towns of Dardanup, Boyanup, Donnybrook and Capel.

The greater Bunbury area was also starting to pick up, he said, with the potential to commute to Perth and existing homes in the area having a median house price of $364,500 in the December quarter of 2007.

“This southern freeway is going to have a huge impact on the way people travel to Perth.

WA’s property market is being affected by the current economic cycle, but I think it will eventually outstrip that cycle,” he said.

“Sure, you can buy five acres overlooking the bay in Dunsborough for $1.5 million, but then you can spend that same money on 100 acres in Dardanup with views over the bay.

And it’s closer to Perth.” Mr Drexel said he was seeing a huge amount of acquisition activity by residential developers along the freeway corridor and in towns within two hours’ drive of Perth.

“Developers are seeing the land as a medium-term investment and are thinking ‘what is this going to look like in five to 10 years’ time?’ The population there will be twice what it is today,” he said.

Despite the lack of trades and the higher cost of building homes in regional areas compared with the city, Mr Drexel said more affordable housing options were becoming available in the form of modular housing systems.

Landmark Realty is currently marketing a 133-block subdivision called Munthoola Estate in Williams, less than two hours’ drive from Perth, where it has engaged modular housing builder Nomad to create housing packages from $95,000.

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