First home buyers battling it out with investors: Yarraville state of the market

First home buyers battling it out with investors: Yarraville state of the market
First home buyers battling it out with investors: Yarraville state of the market

Yarraville has been Melbourne’s best kept secret. Ten years ago, the median house price was just $316,000 and there was nothing more than a historic cinema and a milk bar. Fast forward to 2013 and the area is now bustling with shops, cafés and the Maribyrnong council has commenced work to improve traffic and roads in the area as part of the Yarraville Urban Design Framework.

Our median house price has now grown to $739,000 but is still viewed as one of the most affordable pockets within a 10 kilometre radius of Melbourne’s CBD when compared to the likes of Prahran, Richmond and Fitzroy which report median house prices of $837,500, $985,000 and $1,290,000 respectively.


Photo: Sunset in Yarraville, courtesy Anthony W/flickr

It’s common knowledge the market hasn’t exactly been cracking hot the past couple of years, but things have definitely started to take a turn for the better this spring. We’ve seen an increase from one to two buyers per property earlier this year to three to four these past six weeks. Our office has recorded an average clearance rate of 90% compared to 70% last year, while days on market have decreased from 26 days last spring to 22 days currently. Our stock levels this spring have also nearly doubled, with only 40 properties on our books at the same time last year compared to the 76 homes we now have listed. Our increased activity is consistent with reports across broader Melbourne that a “spring boom” is erupting, with median house prices increasing by 14.9% since last spring.

There’s no doubt the market has been driven by record low interest rates and the federal election finally over – across the state agents have been reporting increased levels of activity in their local markets. For us, we also found a lot of people were gearing up to put their property on the market after the AFL Grand Final, with that and the election the trigger points for our spring selling season.

So where is all this extra interest coming from? Traditionally Yarraville has attracted young families and couples to the area, namely for the high supply of affordable, spacious period homes. However, one of the biggest trends we’ve seen this spring is a large influx of investors. It’s very unusual for us to see investors running neck and neck with first home buyers in our area but it’s evident they’re taking advantage of low interest rates.

For example, we recently sold a two-bedroom period home at 71 Eirene St (pictured below) $96,000 above reserve due to investor bidding driving up the sale price. We’re also expecting high levels of investor interest at an upcoming auction in 74 Francis St Yarraville on the 30th November.

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So what’s in store for the rest of the year? Where interest rates are going is obviously the million dollar question – history tells us they can't remain at this level, so my bet is that they will start to increase in the first half of next year.

As for the Yarraville market, we’re definitely expecting to see investors and first home buyers continue to battle it out. Luckily for them there’s currently plenty of high quality stock so they’re spoilt for choice. But as per basic economic law of supply and demand, if the number of homes on the market continue rising at this level from eager sellers wanting to cash in on the ‘boom’, it will put buyers back in the driver’s seat. We’re awhile away from that yet – right now, it’s an even playing field but it won’t stay that way for long.

Leo Dardha has 10 years experience in real estate and is director of hockingstuart Yarraville.

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