Midfield plans may hit Merrivale house prices

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merrivale sales
An extract from the Merrivale letter-drop by the Red Circle real estate asking homeowners to consider selling while their houses hold their value. Image: Bluestone Magazine.

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #A02F2F;”] T [/dropcap]he proposed milk processing factory and cold storage plant at Midfield Meats still need planning approval, but at least one real estate company is urging Merrivale homeowners to consider selling in case property values fall.

Red Circle real estate associate Phil Gray has letter-dropped several streets in the Merrivale area to tell homeowners about a potential opportunity to sell their property before any impact on prices from the Midfield development.

“I’ve been following the progress of the plans to further develop the Midfield site, which may have an impact on the sale prices of Merrivale homes in the future,” Mr Gray writes.

“This could be a great opportunity for a change of scenery as we have been approached by an investor looking to buy properties to rent to future workers,” the letter says.

Mr Gray told Bluestone that the investor was not, as some residents believed, connected to the Midfield group, but was a number of individual people.

“Several people have put it to me that they think it would be a good investment to buy in the area, not to live in, but just to rent because they feel rental prices will increase,” he said.

phil gray
Red Circle real estate associate Phil Gray. Image: Red Circle Real Estate, Warrnambool.

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #A02F2F;”] P [/dropcap]roperty prices, however, may go down as a result of the development, he said.

“We are expecting it to have some kind of effect,” Mr Gray said.

Mr Gray’s letter also reinforces this point: “…this could be the perfect opportunity to move forward and take full advantage of the current market situation”.

A significant portion of the Midfield Meats workforce is made up of overseas workers on temporary visas who need to rent, rather than buy, in the Merrivale and west Warrnambool area.

“Investors see Merrivale as good for rental returns because of the relatively low property prices and, either way, there is strong demand for rentals in the area,” Mr Gray said.

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17 thoughts on “Midfield plans may hit Merrivale house prices”

  1. The vultures are circling already. Sell us your house now (even if it’s worth considerably less than it was not so long ago) because in a couple of years time when the new Midfield Meats operations start up it won’t be worth a cracker when all your neighbors are living three to a bedroom paying $80 a week each to the nice landlord. This is the thin end of the wedge for Merrivale residents – I pity young couples with a family already struggling with a mortgage facing the prospect of owing more than their house is worth. I can’t believe that the planning for these new Midfield operations has gone as far as it has let alone that they will ever be built almost surrounded by such pleasant suburban settings and so close to the Warrnambool Hospital and CBD.

    1. Yes I agree Keith but its not only the young couples with a mortgage who will suffer. We have lived in Aitkins Road for over 30yrs now and have done substantial reno’s to our home to keep up with the times and make our lives simpler in retirement only to be faced with the prospect of living in the bronx of Warrnambool. Our children’s inheritance is slowly diminishing before our eyes and our comfortable future is disappearing with 3 overcrowded houses in our block alone. The street looks like a carpark with all the cars, houses with missing curtains/blinds, overflowing bins on display for anyone walking or driving past to see and unkept gardens. WCC have a lot to answer for.

  2. I find it hard to believe a group of private investors would be silly enough to buy the properties for the purpose of renting out when the ’employer’ buys his own houses to then rent out to his workers and makes a profit on the way. Why would he do it any other way? Just as a fictitious example, imagine if you have 15 workers staying on one 3 BR house with each paying $120/week rent. That’s a total of $1,800 rent collected for that week. Simple.

  3. NB Charles, it is fictitious as you said. Do you have anything to back up your claims? Sounds like bluestone are in a Collin McKenna witch hunt…… Correct me if I’m wrong Charles but aren’t you affiliated with bluestone magazine? And pretty good mates with Ol’ Roy Reekie too……? Community magazine my A! This magazine is nothing more than a public platform for you and your kind to try and bring down anyone you have a beef with…… Pardon the pun. And you want people to PAY for it!?!?

    1. We have decided to approve this comment by ‘Just Saying;, just to give our readers a taste of some of the anonymous comments that we receive daily.
      There is never a real name attached and, rarely, is there even a real email address: despite us always supplying both for everything we write.
      It appears that the main argument from such anonymous attacks is that we are trying to “bring people down” – a common response to the simple journalistic act of asking questions which, in turn, provokes debate.
      Seeing journalism and debate as “bringing people down” is a mindset that has been allowed to thrive in an environment where some sections of the mainstream media have become too timid to ask the hard questions of those with power and influence.
      We will press on.
      And, just for the record:
      1. Charles is a subscriber to Bluestone – just like the other 305 people we now have supporting us.
      2. We have never met him, although we hope to, one day.
      3. And yes, we do hope people will pay a little for Bluestone: that is the only way independent media can survive.
      Thanks to all of those people who do subscribe. We hope more of you will do the same.
      Carol & Louise

      1. Let me see if I am reading this correctly..
        1.) Mr Gray said “we are expecting it to have some kind of effect” ummmm yes but he doesn’t say if he expects it to affect the prices negatively or positively….. and you cannot deny IT WILL HAVE SOME KIND OF EFFECT I don’t see any problem there.
        2.) “this could be a great opportunity for a change of scenery as we have been approached by an investor looking to buy properties for future workers” Investors will keep an eye on these sorts of plans and try and get in early, that’s what they do, they look for ways to make money by buying property in areas where there is or will be a demand for it.
        3) a significant portion of the Midfield Meats workforce is made up of overseas workers on temporary visas who need to rent rather than buy, in the Merrivale and West Warrnambool areas- Was this stated by Mr Gray? It’s not in quotation marks?

        So to re-cap a Real Estate agent, sent a letter to owners of property in Merrivale stating they had an investor looking to buy in the area. He didn’t say he thought the prices were going to plummet due to the proposed milk plant (in fact if mining areas are anything to go by they should increase) He didn’t say they were looking on behalf of Midfield meats. He didn’t say ANYTHING about putting a whole bunch of overseas workers in the properties?????

        Why is he being crucified? Isn’t it Midfield meats that are invested in this milk plant? Seems to me Mr Gray was just doing his job as a real estate agent (love them or hate them) and letting the Merrivale community know there was someone looking to invest in the area and with the uncertainty of the milk plant now may be a good time for a change? Don’t shoot the messenger!

        1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Lisa. Just by way of clarification, this story is the result of a much longer conversation with Mr Gray who, as you quite rightly say, is simply doing his job as a real estate agent.
          During that conversation, we spoke at length about the impact of the milk processing factory in that area and his view was that the rental potential of properties in this area would remain high and this is what investors were interested in.
          When I asked Mr Gray if property prices would go down if the expansion went ahead, we spoke at length about the potential negative impact on various streets in the area which I chose not to name.
          Instead, I summed up his thoughts with these two sentences, one of which is a direct quote:

          Property prices, however, may go down as a result of the development, he said.
          “We are expecting it to have some kind of effect,” Mr Gray said.

          My assessment of Mr Gray’s letter – and after having spoken with him – is that he is offering homeowners the opportunity to think about selling at a good price now to keen investors, rather than see the value of their home potentially fall later, whether targeting an investor or anyone else. It is up to others to assess whether this is an appropriate approach or if indeed they should consider such a move.

          With point 3 – they are my words, not Mr Gray’s, hence there are no quotation marks. The overseas workforce at Midfield and the related demand for rental housing is well established.

          Again, thanks for taking the time to be part of the discussion.

  4. Sounds like yellow journalism to me Carol. I note the column is called Opinion but is it really going to be based solely on your opinion or the opinion of those who have been given half the information or given information which has been carefully manipulated to cause a controversy?
    Is this the type of journalism Bluestone Magazine is based on? You have (in your own words) “summed up the thoughts of Mr Gray in two sentences, ONE of which is a direct quote.” The direct being “we are expecting it to have some kind of effect” not that property prices may go down as a result of the development?

    You say “it is up to others whether they think this is an appropriate approach or indeed if they should consider such a move.” However much of this article is based on your opinion or as you put it your assessment of Mr Grays letter and carefully worded to try and create a story where there really wasn’t one! Scandal-mongering at its best?

    1. Yellow journalism? Ouch! That usually means unresearched and I can assure you that nothing I write is unresearched.
      I am not sure if you have any journalism experience, but if you do, you would know that the use of direct and indirect quotes is common practice. To directly quote everything someone says and publish it is called dictation.
      I think the best way to settle this is for you to speak to Mr Gray, as I did: I have had no complaints from him that my piece was wrong, poorly researched or misleading.
      As an aside, however, if house prices were expected to increase if the Midfield development goes ahead, I doubt any homeowners would be urged to consider selling now, do you?

  5. Directly or indirectly did Mr Gray actually say that prices would be negatively affected?

    History dictates, that you will get the best price for your property when supply is low and demand is high.

    I actually did speak with Mr Gray, (incidentally from this letter being placed in my mail box) and he certainly did not try to scare me into selling with the whole “sell now before domes day” approach, he simply indicated that he was looking for homes from residents who may have been thinking about making a move as he had an investor who was looking to buy in the area.

    No amount of letter box dropping will persude a homeowner to sell if they weren’t already considering it as an option.

    As for why he may suggest now could be a good opportunity to make a change, if he wasn’t expecting prices to go down…. Simple….He has a client looking to purchase NOW.

    As an educated woman I understand there is not going to be an infinite number of investors wanting to buy, and even though the prices in Merrivale may stay steady overall, I expect I may not want to wait too long to make a decision if I want to sell for more than the current market value..

    It makes sense, that if I’m going to take advantage of the demand that has been created by the proposed milk plant that I should get the ball rolling sooner rather than later. God knows I’ve been meaning to paint the wet areas for years and if I decide to sell Id like to do that first to maximise my sale price.

    After your artical was published I phoned to speak with Mr Gray again, just to get some clarity and he informed me that even though he was extremely annoyed by the article he had no intention of making contact with you because of his concern that you may take his words and manipulate them to try and create yet another controversial piece.

    I think by now it should be quite clear to your readers that there is no big conspiracy here on behalf of Mr Gray or his employer and the real issue is, as it always has been, with Collin McKenna.

    1. We won’t keep going back and forth, but I am surprised to hear that Phil Gray is annoyed by this piece and I will give him a call to see what parts of this story he believes are inaccurate.
      I am happy to change any inaccuracies.
      Thanks for taking the time to write your thoughts.

      1. It was my Pleasure Carol.
        PS there was an interesting piece in the Warrnambool Standard today. Seems Mark Wilson from Wilson Real Estate has happily put his hand up to say he has been working with Colin on the Maddens project and he is in total support of the Milk plant and cold store……. now there’s a story.

    2. “Sell now before domes day” – when actually is “Domes Day” Lisa?
      Any teacher would know that “Domes Day” should be spelt “Domesday”.

  6. Opps seems you got me there Robin. Maybe batman can give us both a spelling lesson?…….. doomsday 😮

    Just to clarify, if you are insinuating I may be a teacher….. take a look on Facebook there are over 100 Lisa Popes. Ironic don’t you think? someone with such a religious sounding last name teaching at a catholic school. lol

    Have a nice week;)

  7. I was at the panel hearing yesterday to hear Mr Wilson (real estate person) telling the panel that to grant the proposed Midfield Milk Processing Plant permits will be the best decision Warrnambool City Council has ever made.

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