Idle land on outskirts lures buyers

Greenfield land prices and sales in Melbourne's outlying suburbs are showing signs of life as developers and buyers become more active.

Greenfield land prices and sales in Melbourne's outlying suburbs are showing signs of life as developers and buyers become more active.

The net median land price has increased for a second consecutive quarter up to $198,500 after a prolonged slump following the 2009 - 2010 property boom, according to Oliver Hume Real Estate Group.

Researcher Andrew Perkins said prior to the middle of this year, prices were down by almost 18 per cent. The number of lots for sale were at about 40 per cent below the long-term trends as rising sales were soaking up supply, he said.

Above average population growth, low interest rates and rising consumer confidence were encouraging buyers, particularly people wanting to upgrade, he said.

Oliver Hume research shows 45 per cent of buyers in the September quarter were first timers, 11 per cent were investors (which peaked at 18 per cent in 2010) and 55 per cent were family households. "The market is no longer reliant on first home buyers," Mr Perkins said.

National Land Survey Program director Colin Keane said population growth was putting pressure on established housing prices, making land a more attractive option.

"If that [house prices] keeps going up, it will put some heat under first home buyers," he said.

Land sales were now about 900 a month compared to June when they were 620, he said.

Andrew Egan from Biggin Scott Commercial & Land said the englobo market started to pick up in May this year when a 10-hectare site in Plumpton sold for $7.54 million.

Shortly after a 125-hectare plot in Hacketts Road, Point Cook, which included a precinct plan with more than 2000 housing lots, sold for $103.8 million to Perth-based Satterley Group.

"It would be fair to say that developers are back in the market again," Mr Egan said.

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