New movie Jasper Jones expected to boost WA town of Pemberton


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Could starring in a new feature film turn this sleepy WA town into the next Margaret River?

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Pemberton real estate agents hope the release of the Australian film Jasper Jones will help further fuel demand for properties in the historic West Australian timber town.

The locale, 335 kilometres south of Perth, was picked as the setting of the township for the major feature film set in the 1960s, starring Toni Collette and Hugo Weaving.

Pemberton was chosen for its mid-20th century architecture and streetscape.

Agents are hopeful Pemberton could join other areas throughout the country that have benefited from exposure through film.

Other examples include the Pilbara, where Red Dog was filmed, as well as Coolangatta and Hamilton Island thanks to Muriel's Wedding.

LJ Hooker Pemberton principal Colin Wallbank said Jasper Jones would further boost Pemberton's profile, which had experienced high demand for rental properties.

"We only have 2 per cent of our rent roll available at the moment, and rental yields are averaging between 5 and 7 per cent for landlords," he said.

"Pemberton has had a pretty strong period of growth over the last two years due to its affordability and the demand from buyers looking outside capital cities for yield.

"We've had a lot of young families moving to the area to raise their children, taking up rental properties firstly so they can learn more about the area and where they'd like to live."

Mr Wallbank's wife and property manager Karen said firefighters and teachers from Perth had moved to the area in recent times, joining an established workforce from the Department of Parks and Wildlife, the shire, tourism operators and the farming sector.

In the past six months, according to Domain Group data, 13 homes have sold in Pemberton, which has a median sales price of $230,000. The highest price paid for a home in that time was $533,000. The cheapest was $160,000.

Nearby, in Manjimup, 23 homes changed hands in the past three months, with a 27.9 per cent increase in median sales price bringing it to $300,000.

Elders Bunbury sales representative Orest Luzny, who has been selling rural lifestyle properties in Pemberton for the past 10 years, said there had been more inquiries for properties.

"It (Pemberton) is very pretty and picturesque. Horticulture has had a bit of a resurgence, particularly avocado production and a lot of fruit production, but avocados are really proving themselves," he said.

Mr Luzny was confident the release of the movie would boost the local property market.

"I think it will be the new Margaret River," he said.

Harcourts Manjimup sales representative Lynn Daubney said the film had spurred interest in the town.

"The movie has come up really well and has showcased Pemberton town - its tourism, the breweries, wineries and horticulture has taken off there," she said.

She said residential rental properties were being snapped up, with commercial rental properties also in demand.

"Listings are picking up and I think Pemberton is doing well from it (the movie) - it's very picturesque."

Mrs Wallbank said good investment properties were available for sale, including a three-bedroom, one-bathroom home on a quarter acre block that is currently tenanted at $255 per week, calling for offers over $250,000.

"It's really hard to get that sort of yield in a capital city, and the majority of our tenants here are long term renters; it's common for them to stay in the same rental property for up to five years," she said.

Pemberton is about three hours and 40 minutes' drive south from Perth. The area that would become the townsite was settled in the 1860s and Pemberton, which had become a thriving mill town, was gazetted in 1925.

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The story New movie Jasper Jones expected to boost WA town of Pemberton first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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