Buying property in Mt Buller? YES/NO

Coxy

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Hi There! after 2 consecutive years of going from WA to Mt Buller, and loving it, im thinking of buying a property/apartment there? i have done a fair amount of research inclusive of profit/loss statements for several places, talking to hotel owners and understanding the leasehold terms etc etc etc. What i want to know is:
- if anyone here has a place there and if it is worthwhile getting one so i can just use it for say 1-2 weeks a year and rent it out for the remainder of the season
- is there a large summer demand with all the activities that go on ie cycling, mountain biking
- What is the maintenance like on a snow property (remember WA doesnt have snow...booo!)
- Are the fees for servicing etc worth it
- am i better off finding a non leasehold property in another alpine area? (we do love buller though)

So please let me know if anyone can shed some light on this for me or if you know of any people who have got property there and can provide some info.

My wife & I have 2 non skiing kids, 3(will ski this year in Bunyips) & newborn. If someone has knowledge of an excellent family location for rental or purchase this year it would be appreciated
 

Fangin'Wolvy

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If you only use it for 1-2 weeks a year and in one hit, you're better off share leasing a lodge.
That way you can have others looking out for it too, who have a vested interest in it.
You could get some reasonably cheap arrangements like this, on snow, no matter what hill.

Just a thought?


I'm only swaying you away from owning property in the alpine region, unless you're reasonably local, like in the same state, are wealthy or simply mad.
 

FixedGrip

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another copy here too pls if i could luvtha! would appreciate the first hand feedback
smile.gif
 
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FixedGrip

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to what degree has the financial crisis impacted on property prices up there?

i browse re.com.au from time to time, and havent for a few months..now everything is "price slashed" "must sell" "offers invited" and so on...no surprises there sadly

as a case study, theres a 2 bedder w/ carspace at molonys for 410k "was 480"

-where would we have seen such a place priced at the height of the boom?
-is it at the stage where a genuine offer of high-300s would secure such a place?

i guess my biggest fear (from a value POV)would be the effects of marginal seasons becoming more common

fast forward 20yrs - will supply and demand state that even if good snow is less common, those with cash will still want to buy properties to access it?

what will be the key factor to determine values in years to come - snow quality or prevailing economic conditions at time of sale?

i guess a combination of the two..

sorry for the essay, real estate interests me just a tad
tongue.gif
 
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Hunter

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You would need to have money that you are willing to loose on IMO, I would maybe buy into say PB if pressed ( much higher, much more reliable, etc )but Buller..........very risky unless of course you have money to burn
 

Ian D

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I would choose Thredbo over PB if ROI is hoped for. Thredbo has year round business so you are likely to get summer bookings for at least a few weeks in summer school holidays and easter.

Snowmaking extensions (completed and ones going in) have all but guaranteed a ski season there for the foreseeable future.
 

Hunter

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climberman said:
How do you buy into PB ?

If and when the new village ever goes ahead.

Thredbo is making strides in its snowmaking Ian but PB is still way ahead in my opinion and income from summer trade would amount to little I reckon even at Thredbo.
 
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Hunter

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CarveMan said:
Have you ever been there in Summer?

Yes but as Ian puts it :

likely to get summer bookings for at least a few weeks in summer school holidays and easter.

A few weeks trade over an 7month + off season makes "tooling up" a challenge I suspect.
 
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Bogong

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I occasionally package hiking trips, usually staying at a 3½ or 4 star hotel. About one or two each year are out of ski resorts. Typically there are 3 or 4 guides and 35 - 40 paying punters.

Every trip I give punters an anonymous feedback form asking specific questions but with lots of space for people to write in extra comments.

In relation to the "interesting things to do locally" category:

* People couldn't wait to get out of tiny resorts like Mt Mawson or Charlotte Pass once the hikes were over.

* People thought there was "enough" to do at night at Dinner Plain

* They thought there was plenty to do at Falls Creek

* Many people wrote actually wrote in that there was so much to do on the Thredbo trip (5 weeks ago) that they would like to have an extra day there to do stuff other than hiking, they loved it so much.

Thredbo was going off!
smile.gif
Most cafes, shops and restaurants were open and it had a fun atmosphere. There were no "tumbleweeds blowing down the street" like you see at Hotham or Perisher in summer!

EDIT. I just realised that this is a Buller thread, I've never run a big trip out of Buller as there aren't enough hikes available, but my rating of it as a place to be in summer would be a distant equal third with Dinner Plain. Both are behind Falls Creek, which is a looong way behind Thredbo.
 
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Snorkler

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If you're getting a mortgage to purchase, You'd better be working in that super hole 500km east of Perth.

Prices are bound to drop further as more and more margin loans are called in (those pseudo rich who brought a place a Buller are going to get burnt), this next month is going to be a doozy.

The people who are selling those places are the same people who are dumping properties on the market in the 'affluent' suburbs of Melbourne.
 

CarveMan

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Lots of old money at Buller as well that can ride it out.

That said, you're spot on, our lodge has been in a 'will it, won't it' development situation for a number of years. Our family is sick of it & sees the next year or so as a chance to buy something really cheap.
 

Snorkler

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Old money is everywhere, including in the big suburbs of the city and will always ride it out, it's the wannabes who get done over and create the opportunity.
 

Fangin'Wolvy

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that big superpit you refer to has a life mine expectancy of 2010, best case scenario 2015.
There are other pit shut downs, one of which a major nickel one is currently experiencing.
I worked for the world's largest Nickel company in Kal, a Russian mob. They've already closed one of three of their mines in Kal.
30% of Kalgoorlie-Boulder has already moved on, sold up and p155ed off.
Lots of work losses, houses that cannot be sold and people who have lived there for 10+ years moving back to the east coast/major capital cities.
So no Snorks, move right away from 600kms east of Perth.
 

Wizard!

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Bogong said:
my rating of it as a place to be in summer would be a distant equal third with Dinner Plain. Both are behind Falls Creek, which is a looong way behind Thredbo.

I agree with you 100% Bogong.
 
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FixedGrip

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almost seems the next couple yrs would be an excellent time to snap up a buller pad

its predominantly a lifestyle move, but with the market in trouble, the numbers do become far more attractive

buy now and ride the next upward growth period...whenever that may be
 

Snorkler

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Property market lags the stockmarket and the stockmarket hasn't finished dropping yet, may not be the best time to be buying now.
 

Ian D

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Hunter said:
Thredbo is making strides in its snowmaking Ian but PB is still way ahead in my opinion and income from summer trade would amount to little I reckon even at Thredbo.

laugh.gif
- Thredbo has snow making on:
Friday Flat
Merrits area
Both Super trails.
World Cup

Pretty much guarantee top to bottom all season.

This summer they are putting in snow making at the run out of
Little Beauty
True Blue

This will give them 5-6 top to bottom lines on snow making close to all season. Not sure if the funnelweb extension is this summer or next but that will add another.

Thredbo is streets ahead of PB in snowmaking (who have started seriously this summer to address that).

Thredbo has an active and vibrant summer trade. They do as many bed nights in summer as winter (yes summer is 8 months and winter 4) but they still match winter or exceed it - no other resort goes close.

Thredbo positions itself as a year round resort that has skiing in winter. It achieves this with golf, tennis, bobsled, mountainbiking, chairlift rides, walks to kosi, the aquatic centre, festivals etc

You could expect full bookings for 4 weeks of summer trade at Christmas and solid bookings for Australia day, ANZAC day, and Easter. On top of that you could expect some other bookings (especially, around Blues Festival, Jazz Festival etc when the resort is booked out).

What "tooling up" is required for an apartment? They are not talking about buying a motel and running it - it is an apartment that they would rent through an agent.

Year round return Thredbo is the only option.

Most shops etc are on a 48 or 50 week operating lease meaning they are required to run pretty much the entire year to ensure that there is a vibrant village atmosphere all year round.

The place is BUSY (not necessarily full) for all but probably October/November.
 
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Bogong

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Ian, I really have to question Thredbo's summer occupancy claims. I've taken groups there in summer on a few occasions and even at times like Easter and between Christmas and New Year, I doubt they achieve over 50% occupancy. If you go there mid week in May, the only people you will see are permanent residents.

Essentially, I like Thredbo in summer a lot, but I think they are telling pork pies about non winter occupancy rates. Perhaps occupancy rates are over 50% in commercial lodges during school holidays, but if you add club lodges, flats and houses to the mix, I doubt they would reach 50% overall in the school holidays, let alone in the off season from mid October to mid June. But that still means that there are thousands of people in town from late December to early February and at times like Easter, But no way do they get an average of 50% in the entire 8 month period.
 

Ian D

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I agree they don't get 50% all summer but nor do they get 100% all winter.

June long weekend is huge but the rest of June is just about empty, 2nd half of September is empty as well. Most lodges budget on 10 weeks of near full occupancy during winter and the rest is cream.

I would guess for an average lodge average occupancy over the 16 weeks of winter would be about 65-70% at best (10 x 100% + 6 x 40%). Some would do better others would do worse - many wouldn't have 100% for 10 weeks that's for sure (they may have 85 or 90%).

That means that summer has to average only 30% all of summer to hit the same numbers since that is 36 weeks to winters 16.
 
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Hunter

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Ian D said:
Hunter said:
Thredbo is making strides in its snowmaking Ian but PB is still way ahead in my opinion and income from summer trade would amount to little I reckon even at Thredbo.

laugh.gif
- Thredbo has snow making on:
Friday Flat
Merrits area
Both Super trails.
World Cup

Pretty much guarantee top to bottom all season.

This summer they are putting in snow making at the run out of
Little Beauty
True Blue

This will give them 5-6 top to bottom lines on snow making close to all season. Not sure if the funnelweb extension is this summer or next but that will add another.

Sorry I did not explain myself well, for me PB is a better long term proposition, not just with snowmaking but snowmaking in combination to its base elevation, even with Thredbos improved snowmaking system its very low elevation is an ongoing battle.

As for tooling up, there is a lot of preamble and ongoing costs and maintenance issues if you are going to turn a personal apartment into a rental property, issues of is it worth the hassle for a few weeks of summer is not an uncommon quandary, and as stated above occupancy rates can be over stated.
 
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FixedGrip

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so we go from buller property to the ins and outs of thredbo snowmaking

forums *sigh*

laugh.gif
 
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Hunter

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Why, ? may not be 100% Buller related but it is 100% pros and cons of investing in alpine real estate all of which can be related to deciding on buying in the snow.
 
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Ian D

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If an apartment is "tooled up" for sharing (ie family a couple of weeks a year, the rest of the time rented) it doesn't matter when it is rented or for how long. If it is a motel that you have to have staff for cooking, cleaning etc etc that is different but an apartment doesn't require those and cleaning is simply contracted after a visit. No additional "tooling up" required for summer rentals.

Yes I know this, my extended family has a summer rental property that family use for some of summer, it is rented for the rest. Over winter it is empty much of the time but gets occasional rents for a few days or a week here or there and that is considered "cream".

I do agree with Hunter that all this topic is relevant to someone looking to buy on mountain - any mountain - in Australia as they are all considerations.
 

Fangin'Wolvy

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As I said 2nd post in........


Fangin'Wolvy said:
......I'm only swaying you away from owning property in the alpine region, unless you're reasonably local, like in the same state, are wealthy or simply mad.
 
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Hunter

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I have had a different experience Ian, with family and friends holiday rentals, often it has been too hard and the return marginal for the effort and hassle factor of a few weeks income or the year, I am sure it works for some mind you, I am sure many of those thousands of lodges/aparments etc in the resorts that are closed up outside the ski season are in part due to the reasons I have outlined, Thredbo I am sure is a better proposition, Buller on the other hand..........
 

Ian D

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Depends on how you set it up for holiday rentals v personal use. Our extended families property we use as a "holiday house" - when we go there we treat it like a rental, not as our home (in that we don't leave all our personal stuff there - it is a holiday destination). At the end of our stay we remove everything that is ours just as we would at any holiday rental.

There is a section of it that is "locked off" and renters don't have access to that area, and personal stuff can be stored there.

All depends on how you set it up but you would have the same issues in winter moving between personal use and rental.

I agree the summer market in Buller would be very limited for such a property.
 

Hunter

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Interesting approach Ian, does kind of detract from having the place "as your own" so to speak, and I guess what you have described is another hassle factor in the "tooling up " I am suggesting.

Works for some though I am sure.
 

Ian D

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I know others with a similar setup. If you look at setting it up to goto for 1 week a year (as the original post stated) and the rest rental then you are hardly going to set it up "as your own" and as such the "tooling up" you talk of happens once - when you set it up. Not for each rental be they July, September or January.
 

clanhoondog1

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Hi ALL, its been a while since I have been on. On this subject I have a property in Sawmill at the base of the mountain and have done very well over the past few seasons, there is no high rates as they are council rates and not resort rates and the property is also freehold so finance is easier to get. In winter we were about 80% full for the entire season. As for out of seaqson rents its mainly the public holdays and long breaks. The property prices are cheaper and still affordable. I know it is still at the bottom of the mountain but that also has its advantages. I have been down here for many years and have seen the chang in the type of people who have bought in(lots of european cars now) and my weekly tenents have all been well healrd and mainly famlies. Thats my 2c worth.

Hoondog
 

Fangin'Wolvy

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flockin, strike that, friken hell hoondog, tidy up the litany of spelling errors, it's hurting my eyes...
laugh.gif
 
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currawong

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The question I don't think we asked Coxy is whether he/she is considering Buller because it has a particular attraction (eg best friend is already locked in there), or if that is the first and only place he/she has skied.

Buller has the least reliable snow of any of the major Australian resorts.

If you live in Melbourne and want quick weekend access, then that is an understandable risk. If you live in WA, then why choose Buller? Perisher, Thredbo, Hotham and Falls are all a better bet for your own skiing, especially if school holidays are involved. Because Buller is so close to Melbourne, I suspect that there is more of a wait-and-see attitude rather than locking in bookings ahead of time.

Coxy, if you haven't skied the other mountains, check out a few before deciding on Buller.

The other thing to consider is whether a lodge membership might suit you better than investing in an apartment. Lodge memberships can be quite affordable (mine cost <$6) and give you and your family access to some very comfy places at affordable rates. (Buller lodges may be more expensive). Many have rumpus rooms where kids can play together while mum and dad relax with other grown ups. Some lodges only give you access to one mountain, while others may allow you to stay at a number of mountains.
 

Fangin'Wolvy

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Yep, as the second post in this thread confirms curra.
Lodge membership is a reasonably good way to hedge your bets on first time property acquisition in the alpine game in Australia.
Especially if you're not in the state and not well to do.
Otherwise do a Kylie, n knock yourself out monitarily, with the realtors dying to accept your business.
 

Seth

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Fangin'Wolvy said:
Lodge membership is a reasonably good way to hedge your bets on first time property acquisition in the alpine game in Australia.

Being a member of a lodge is not quite the same as actually 'owning' property.
 
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Seth

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currawong said:
The question I don't think we asked Coxy is whether he/she is considering Buller because it has a particular attraction (eg best friend is already locked in there), or if that is the first and only place he/she has skied.

Buller has the least reliable snow of any of the major Australian resorts.

If you live in Melbourne and want quick weekend access, then that is an understandable risk. If you live in WA, then why choose Buller? Perisher, Thredbo, Hotham and Falls are all a better bet for your own skiing, especially if school holidays are involved. Because Buller is so close to Melbourne, I suspect that there is more of a wait-and-see attitude rather than locking in bookings ahead of time.

Coxy, if you haven't skied the other mountains, check out a few before deciding on Buller.

Why not Buller? If you were coming from Perth it is the easiest to get to.

As for other resorts being a better bet, that is arguable.
 
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currawong

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I wasn't attacking Buller. I just got the impression that Coxy may not have looked at options that might be more suitable.
 

FixedGrip

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with lodge membership do your maths on how many days to 'break even' too

AWESOME pics by the way, thanks for the reminder
biggrin.gif


when bullers on, its ON
 
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