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Home buyers rescue Victorias second oldest golf course

POSTED ON September 23, 2013 @ 10:00 am

Residential home buyers have come to the rescue of Victoria’s second oldest golf course, as struggling country clubs cash in on surging property prices.

Title deeds were issued this weekend to 200 people who bought home sites on the Geelong Golf Course and have effectively become joint owners of the country club.

The 18-hole golf course, closed for the past 10 years, is being transformed into a nine-hole course with a new clubhouse and dining facilities along with 320 homes.

The project is being spearheaded by golf community developer Links ­Living, responsible for similar projects at Sanctuary Lakes and Sandhurst Club in Melbourne.

Links Living managing director Stephen Head said transforming the golf club to include residential was an alternative solution to struggling courses selling their land and being forced into mergers, as happened recently to the 105-year-old Kingswood Golf Club. It merged with the Peninsula Country Golf Club near Frankston, and the land was sold to developers for an estimated $80 million.

Geelong residents, who purchased blocks priced from $200,000 to $400,000, pay annual body corporate fees of around $1000 each.

PART OF THE CLUB
“This provides an opportunity to create a business model and structure with a new income stream where residents contribute to the cost of maintaining the golf course and become part of the club either playing golf or socialising at club facilities,” said Mr Head.

Elsewhere, the property market surged again with Sydney and Melbourne auction clearance rates rising above 80 per cent, according to Australian Property Monitors.

The Sydney clearance rate hit 86.3 per cent while Melbourne’s rate was 80.1 per cent. This time last year, auction clearance rates for both cities were just above 60 per cent.

APM senior economist Andrew Wilson said it was panning out as one of the strongest springs in some time.

“We are approaching clearance levels last seen in Melbourne in 2009 and in Sydney, near all-time highs of 2001 and 2002.”

Dr Wilson said he sensed buyers were bringing forward their decision in the rising market.

He said it was an “even market” across Melbourne in terms of competition for property, but that in Sydney the middle and lower price brackets were still stronger, though there are signs of increased activity in the prestige $5 million to $7 million range.

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