A NEW class of real estate has emerged in Melbourne that has buyers paying up to $410,000 for a muddy patch of dirt no more than 15m in length.
Marina berths may sound more at home in Sydney and Brisbane, but for the past seven years a limited number of the moorings have been available as private real estate for the first time in Melbourne.
In some instances the berths have already quadrupled in value.
Just 120 freehold berths exist in the city’s water ways, the product of the Martha Cove development on the Mornington Peninsula creating a man-made waterway and selling small allotments on the seabed. The rest of the state’s berths are leased from Crown land.
While the muddy patches of dirt are permanently flooded and all but impossible to set foot on their rarity is driving demand, according to Stuart Cox from Jacobs and Lowe real estate agents.
Mr Cox said the first 10m lots sold for about $80,000, while 15m berths cost $100,000.
Now they commanded prices up to $175,000 and $410,000 respectively.
“Some people have bought them as investments and are renting them for up to $700 to $1000 per month – and that could be up to a 10 to 11 per cent return for people who bought early on,” he said.
At the moment just three are on the market with prices ranging from $230,000 to $300,000.
Ron and Kaye Morgan are among those who bought a berth early on and they are mostly happy to be able to enjoy having their boat a 30-second walk from their door.
Mr Morgan said it took about an hour and 40 minutes to reach Docklands – and he was also thrilled at the return on their investment.
“I wish I’d bought three of them,” he said.
But Martha Cove marina manager Doug Pickford said the berths might soon be facing some competition as a new stage of the development would sell houses that came with a freehold berth on title – though the title would not be separate from the house.
There were also a further 250 to 300 freehold berths yet to be subdivided and sold in the Patterson Lakes marina area.
Across the bay another development at Wyndham Harbour has sold 110 marina berths on a 99-year licence.
John Roysmith, the CEO of Wyndham Harbour developer Lyons Capital, said a further 1000 berths were approved, mostly on 25-year licences, and would be developed subject to demand.
Melbourne has about 3000 marina berths around the bay.