Lara land in big demand

A Melbourne company backed by Chinese capital has paid $25 million for a farm capable of being turned into 909 house blocks to Lara’s west.

Soaraway Development, a local division of China’s Yucai Group, recently purchased the 79.59ha property at 285 Patullos Rd, Lara.

Geelong West agency Darcy Jarman sold the property in conjunction with Melbourne firm Gross Waddell.

The key to the property’s prospects was that Geelong’s council had completed its structure planning for the 389ha Lara West growth area that will eventually house 11,600 residents.

The expressions of interest campaign attracted more than 100 bids from local, national and off-shore buyers.

Darcy Jarman agent Tim Darcy said it was the group’s first foray into Geelong, although not the first Chinese-backed investment in the region.

ICD Property is developing the Gen Fyansford project to the city’s west.

Mr Darcy said the purchase showed confidence in the region, on the basis of forecast population growth and proximity to Melbourne.

He said many developers no longer considered Geelong a regional market.

“They’re now looking for the next frontiers and we’re perceived by those within the sector as a metro suburb of Melbourne,” Mr Darcy said.

“There’s starting to be a significant paradigm shift in terms of Geelong now being considered almost metro within the eyes of the property sector.”

Gross Waddell agent Andrew Thorburn said the land was a key corner of the Lara West corridor.

“There was a number of local developers looking at it but they weren’t able to step up to the level which was going to be acceptable to the owners,” Mr Thorburn said.

The sale represented a land rate of $314,000 per hectare, comparable to up to $500,000 a hectare or even $1 million a hectare in Melbourne’s northern growth corridor.

“It’s very much aimed at the first-home buyer market, with tangible links to the first-home buyers grant it should have great demand for house and land packages,” Mr Thorburn said.

The sale comes after local firms L.Bisinella Developments and Costa Property Group paid $11 million for a 48.6ha parcel at 385 Windermere Rd, Lara, in 2015. That property can be turned into 510 lots.