ECHUCA-MOAMA is closer to Melbourne than it has ever been, according to First National Real Estate chief executive Ray Ellis.
In a visit to the Charles L King First National Echuca office on Monday, the head boss said the regional market was booming.
‘‘Through improving roads and technology the city is closer than ever for regional Victoria,’’ he said.
‘‘Everyone knows where Echuca is and the lifestyle that comes with living here.
‘‘There is affordable housing here, close to Melbourne and that makes the market strong, not crazy like some other places, but strong.
‘‘And you can be in Melbourne in two and a half hours and the next town over is never further than 30 minutes.’’
Mr Ellis said low interest rates were a major draw card to regional Victoria.
‘‘Interest rates are at the lowest they have been since 1964,’’ he said.
‘‘That is a long time and interest rates will be at this level for the next 18 months at least and they have been at this level for the past two years.
‘‘People are now factoring that into it so what I say to the average consumer is are you using interest rates to your advantage?
‘‘To either pay off some of your debt, increase your capital or to fund a lifestyle.’’
The Echuca team were one of the first to find the First National Real Estate brand had been recognised by Canstar Blue.
‘‘We are very excited to announce we have been recognised to have the most satisfied customers in both the real estate and small business awards by Canstar Blue,’’ Mr Ellis said.
‘‘This is the second year in the row we have been recognised and it just goes to show what great things our staff are doing in all of our offices.’’
Mr Ellis said he aimed to get to each of his 400 offices at least once every year.
‘‘And those offices are all across Australia and New Zealand,’’ he said.
‘‘I like to visit to find out what’s going on in the local community, what the market conditions are, what’s selling, what’s not selling — just all those issues that impact on our business.
‘‘Obviously our job is to sell houses but as an industry we have a great impact on land developments, subtitles, leases and all those sort of things.
‘‘Particularly in country towns where the main street is very important.
‘‘Echuca is one of our better offices in Australia and arguably be our second or third best office in Victoria.’’
He also had some advice for those paying off their mortgage.
‘‘If you are only paying five per cent on your mortgage you probably should be paying it back as if it was at seven per cent,’’ he said.
‘‘Because when they go up a little bit it won’t be such a shock to you.
‘‘So my message is, take advantage of the interest rates to increase your capital and reduce your debt.’’