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High on the low side

With prices still on the low side and available stock up, 2012 is becoming the year to secure a great property for an even better price, experts have predicted. Real estate veteran Barry Plant encouraged buyers to make their move within the next six to nine months, claiming the 'window of opportunity' would narrow. "The market always moves by way of the lower end, so the lower end moves first and then you’ll start to see it filter up" Mr Plant said. "I think the higher end will be fairly dormant and a tough market for quite a while". A Leader investigation of houses for sale across Melbourne found there were many opportunities for buyers to enter the market at a low price, with some one-bedroom apartments and units in suburbs including Frankston, Hoppers Crossing, Corio and the Melbourne CBD selling for about $200,000 or below. Similarly, there are a variety of larger units, small townhouses and houses available for under $400,000. Statistics from RP Data also highlight several Melbourne suburbs with house and unit prices under $300,000 since January 2011. Werribee topped the list for houses under $300,000 with 213 houses sold, followed by Pakenham with 154, Melton with 133, Hoppers Crossing with 124 and Wyndham Vale with 123 sales. Melbourne CBD recorded the most unit sales under $300,000 with 312, while Frankston (170), Noble Park (114), Carlton (107) and Hawthorn (100) completed the top five. Mr Plant said buyers could scoop up bargains but urged people to consider location, body corporate fees, transport and refurbishment work needed before signing. "I think suburbs that had flats, not apartments, but flats built in the 1960s primarily, like Frankston, can have some really low-end stuff", he said. "Often you have a look at those and at the fact that you have to redo the bathroom and kitchen and give it a lick of paint but that might not be too expensive". Wakelin Property Advisory director Paul Nugent agreed. "While there might be opportunities to buy at seemingly low prices in certain notionally very good areas, if you're wanting to hold a property long term and get good capital growth, you need to look at the principles that underpin what you are buying", Mr Nugent said. Most certainly though at the moment we would suggest you could buy in some blue-chip areas for some pretty reasonable prices. He encouraged buyers to consider factors including car spaces, a well-designed floorplan and a history of good sales results when choosing cheaper property. "Just because you buy a property very well doesn't mean you've bought good property and it doesn't mean that you'll get strong capital growth", he said. "You don't want just a level peg. There are many instances where people have bought apartments in very good areas where over quite a number of years (they) haven't performed. Location is essential when buying property whether you're a first-home buyer or an investor". Source: