Local demand for snow apartments picking up

BY Mark Bleby
AFR Wednesday 21 September 2016

Mark Adams has sold 16 properties at Mount Buller since the start of July - nearly double the number he sold over the same period last year.

The increased demand hasn't yet translated into increases in price at the Victorian resort, but buyers are paying the prices the were unwilling to meet last year, said Mr Adams, a 20-year veteran of the area.

"The sales are very strong this year. This calendar year I've noticed it started improving. Since June, it's really picked up."

Prices at Mount Buller, Victoria's second-largest resort by skiable terrain after Falls Creek, are still in the $300,000-$450,000 range for a two-bedroom apartment with parking. they haven't made up all the ground lost since global financial crisis, but agents in Australia's snowfields say the market is picking up. It's not so much low rates - buyers tend to pay cash and very few people buy recreational ski apartments subject to finance - as returning economic confidence and capital gains buyers have made on their homes in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Across the border in NSW, prices aren't yet rising, but there's less discounting going on, said Doug Edwards, a real estate agent based in the Snowy Mountains resort town of Thredbo.

"People are holding their prices a lot now," Mr Edwards said. "This is probably the first time we've seen that for the last three to five years."

Investment is also picking up on the ski fields. Developer Bellevarde is due to start construction in February of an eight-unit block at Thredbo - the first new development in five years - with two-bedroom apartments selling from $925,000. At Mount Buller, the family of builder Pomeroy Pacific executive chairman Dug Pomeroy in June paid "around $900,000" for a three-bedroom apartment in the refurbished Mount Buller Chalet, real estate agent John Castran said.

"This is the first in a recycling phase of premium location properties."

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