DENNINGTON has come out tops in the south-west's property market with latest figures showing strong rises in house and land prices.
Homes in the area sold for a median price of $347,500 last year six per cent higher than 2010, according to the Guide to Property Values 2011.
It also shows that values have risen 214 per cent since the 2001 median of $110,500, representing an annual growth of 12.1 per cent, which is the strongest in the district.
Land prices were also firm, with blocks in Dennington now selling for $118,000 compared to just $32,500 in 2001 an average annual growth of 13.8 per cent.
Builder Ken Gibson and his wife Lynne have recognised the long-term benefits of Dennington, constructing between 80 and 90 houses there in the past 10 years.
"I started building in Russell Street and I've done the three estates," Mr Gibson said yesterday.
He said the area had good-quality soils compared to some other Warrnambool suburbs and was well located close to facilities, including a new school, childcare centre and soon-to-be-opened supermarket.
"I believe it's got great growth potential, offers great houses for families and rentals out here are strong.
"We haven't left the area in 10 years to build elsewhere," Mrs Gibson said. "That's how good it's been."
Port Fairy retained its hold on the title of the district's most expensive town with houses selling for $375,000 last year. This figure was $5000 less than 2010 but it still contributed to an annual growth of 7.1 per cent. Blocks in the seaside town were also the region's dearest at $165,000, 10 per cent more than the previous period.
Bargain buyers might have better luck in Casterton, where houses sold for a median of $106,500 (nine per cent less than 2010) or Penshurst where they went for $135,000 (five per cent down).
The biggest falls for the 12-month period were at Elliminyt near Colac, where median prices dropped by a massive 22 per cent, and at Terang, where they fell 12 per cent.
When it came to property price increases Coleraine, at 29 per cent, Portland (14 per cent) and Koroit (13 per cent) were the best performers .
Colac suffered the south-west's biggest fall in unit values, with properties selling 15 per cent lower at $204,000.
Prices for units also dropped in Warrnambool by three per cent to $250,000 but the 10-year annual growth average was 7.4 per cent.
Portland also showed a strong trend in unit prices, with values rising by four per cent to $220,000. But the city was not as fortunate when it came to land prices, recording a 21 per cent fall from $72,000 in 2010 to $57,000 last year.
Blocks in Warrnambool jumped by seven per cent to $140,000, representing an annual growth of 12 per cent from the $45,000 median price in 2001.
The figures are based on prices from notices of acquisition which are legally required to be completed by a purchaser within one month of buying any real estate in Victoria.
Released by Land Victoria, the guide is recognised as the most accurate, independent and comprehensive property sales publication in the state.
Valuer-General Robert Marsh said, in general terms, house prices had continued to grow across the state for the past 10 years, with the median house price rising 127 per cent from $185,000 to $420,000.
"Growth in house prices in country Victoria (regional cities and towns) outperformed metropolitan Melbourne, with country Victoria median house sale prices rising 2.9 per cent compared to the one per cent fall in the metropolitan median house price," he said.