Moe house prices jump

Moe’s housing market is finally “having its day”, with median prices jumping 16.2 per cent in the past calendar year, making it one of the state’s strongest regional price growth areas.

According to a range of real estate stakeholders, the jump in average house prices, from $170,000 in December 2011 to $197,500 in December 2012 across 173 sales, has been a case of Moe prices catching up from a long-term undervalued base.

Newborough also felt the market lift, ending the 2012 calendar year 12.6 per cent higher, at a median price of $197,000 after 108 sales, according to the Victorian Property Sale Report – December Quarter 2012 released by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries.

The figures have reflected claims made last November by real estate magazine PropertyObserver that Moe was “Victoria’s top-performing housing market” in regional Victoria.

Moe real estate agent Robert Sim, of John Kerr and Associate, said the figures were “absolutely a positive story for Moe”.

“If these were just three-month figures, you wouldn’t get too excited, but over 12 months, the proof is there telling you the story; the figures are plain to see,” Mr Sim said, adding it was largely driven by an owner/occupier market.

“This shift has been driven by some strongly-based fundamentals, but basically we are finally starting to see a lot of buyers prepared to buy up and not down; happy to spend more money and happy to live here.

“Moe has been massively undervalued over the last few years, just like we were at the turn of the century – when commission houses were going from $25,000, but people are now waking up and realising there’s some real value in Moe’s residential areas.”

While Mr Sim said the end of the $7000 First Home Buyers Grant on 30 June was causing a current surge in sales across the Valley, the recent rush would not have been recorded in the reporting period.

On a smaller scale, Churchill has equal reason to celebrate, with a 16.1 per cent jump in its median price through 71 sales over the same period, while Rosedale saw an 8.9 per cent increase across 18 sales.

In contrast, and in reflection of the national economic sentiment, median house prices in Morwell and Traralgon remained largely static, with the latter seeing houses prices diminish 2.6 per cent. Graeme Yalden of Stockdale and Leggo Moe said Moe’s positive figures had been influenced by a constantly improving perception of Moe as a community.

“You can see Moe has certainly still been hanging off the whole (Jaidyn) Leskie thing, but the perception of Moe has changed very much, inside and out – there is a lot of loyalty and pride over here – anyone who knocks the town these days doesn’t know anything about the place,” Mr Yalden said.

“For the suburban crowd too, Moe is still very affordable – they have been looking at Trafalgar down the road for years, but just a quick jump down the road and they can get in for under $200,000.

“There’s plenty of houses here below that and people who can’t afford Melbourne anymore are taking that next step and coming to us – it looks very affordable to them .”

First National Traralgon agent Wayne Hall said while Moe was enjoying a number of “deserved” factors leading to the increase, Morwell’s static result, and Traralgon’s small backwards shift, was in keeping with the wider economy.

“While there is still a shortage of houses in Traralgon, it’s a clear sign of the economy, where a lot of regional places are all suffering just as much at the moment, with things like uncertainty as far as jobs go… but what’s happening at Moe is a catch up game for them, which is great,” Mr Hall said.

Committee for Moe’s Manny Gelagotis said the town’s fortunes had been turning around for some years.

“It hasn’t been a secret that lately opportunities for Moe’s future are improving, and what this town has to offer – considering our locality as the gateway to Latrobe Valley – is going to be in demand,” Mr Gelagotis said.