How to invest in the Snowy Mountains

Australia’s most famous winter wonderland draws in thousands of visitors each year, so investors in the area need to become adept at working with the seasons.

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As the principal of McGrath Real Estate Jindabyne, Shannon Fergusson has seen it all. Originally based in the Hunter Valley, the agent relocated to his wife’s hometown of Cooma twenty years ago, and now proudly calls the Snowy Mountains home.

Each winter, cashed-up Sydneysiders flock south to the mountains in search of ski slopes, wildlife, and glistening expanses of snow.

“A lot of people bring their kids down each winter for sixteen weeks of the season, enrol them in either of the two schools, and they live there for the whole ski season,” said Mr Fergusson.

When COVID-19 hit, this trend turned into an avalanche.

“There was this huge influx of people taking up the idea of changing their location due to being able to work from home,” said Mr Fergusson.

“A lot of those families through COVID were here anyway, and decided to just buy and stay.”

During the height of the pandemic, the Jindabyne property market experienced an astonishing surge, with prices shooting up almost 50 per cent.

“I think Jindabyne would have rated up with one of the highest price jumps in the state,” Mr Fergusson said.

Since then, prices have softened slightly, but the market remains “extremely high and strong.” According to Mr Fergusson, the mountains “offers a lifestyle that not many other places can.”

Even in summer, the mild climate and abundant mountain biking opportunities draw crowds of buyers and renters in search of a better quality of life.

“You just get such beautiful seasons,” said Mr Fergusson. “You rarely get many days above 30 degrees in summer, and you get that cold in winter which is actually quite beautiful when it’s not blowing.”

With so many buyers based in East Coast cities, Mr Fergusson and his team have become adept at using digital walkthroughs and virtual tours to facilitate sales.

“We had one only last week where a buyer from Sydney bought a unit off us, site unseen,” Mr Fergusson said. “We can go and do a video walkthrough with just our phone and he was happy with that, bought it, and exchanged contracts within a week or two.”

Jindabyne is a competitive holiday market, and Mr Fergusson warned that successful investors need to create premium properties that stand out from the pack.

Like homebuyers, holidaymakers will choose a rental property based on how it presents online, so for sure and steady yields, Mr Fergusson emphasised that top-quality visuals are a must.

“We use professional photographers and videographers to shoot our holiday properties just the same way we would with our sale properties, so that they’re presenting extremely well and so that they’re attracting attention,” he shared.

As well as five-star presentation, holiday lets should have creature comforts like air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and ease of access to local shops.

Finally, views of the mountains or Lake Jindabyne are a surefire drawcard for tourists wanting to spend a winter or summer in the Snowy Mountains.

“The staff at Thredbo quite openly talk about how summer and winter are nearly equally as busy as each other the way mountain biking has gone in the last five to 10 years,” said Mr Fergusson.

“It’s definitely an all-year-round tourist location,” he concluded.

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