Bargain Towns

Reporter: Clare Brady

Forget tree-change or sea-change... this is survival.

Rachael Treasure hopes it's an offer too good to refuse, $1 a week rent for this house. This isn't crazy generosity, it's a crafty plan.

A last attempt for the locals of Levenadale, a tiny town just outside Hobart that desperately needs people.

Levendale isn't alone in this kind of struggle. Country towns right across the nation are feeling the pinch. Older residents moving to bigger centres with greater medical facilities. Younger people heading out, for jobs.... what's left are barain towns.

Houses going cheap to buy or rent.

A 4 bedroom house on 2000 square metres of land - probably $1 million in the city - in Lismore, perhaps $218,000.

This gem that even has an antique shop on the title is in the heart of Lismore, just under two hours from Melbourne but closer to Geelong.

Real estate agent Kevin Gleeson believes its population of 254 is being challenged by elderly people moving on.

George Watts and Terry Nunn are following the trend and selling their dream home and country life.

Now this one hundred year home is on the market.

"We've got a few at the moment seems to be a periodical thing with smaller country towns ... you get a little oversupply and that's reflected in the price" says Kevin.

And price is what caught the eyes of this former city couple.

"We paid $140,000." This period home would be well out of Trisha and Steve Ringe's reach in the city.

So for a fraction of the price of an average city house, you can leave all the city life behind... and start your life over right here with money still in your pocket.

Queensland's Millmerran, a hundred kilometres from Toowoomba, reflects the trends of cheaper prices.

Muriel and Anthony Price snapped up this house. "We paid under $140,000 for it... basically what we wanted and it's a large block 1150 square metres... we wouldn't get anything like this in the city for the money that we paid."

Millfield, nestled in the Hunter Valley is a bargain hunter's paradise. For $165,000 Sonja and Philip Wood are rubbing their hands together. "Yeah price was a huge factor we couldn't get this sort of house on this size block of land for anywhere near the amount that money we've paid for it...and we get a great pool for the kids."

"Fading towns are now re-badging themselves....and the sales pitch is simple...

Survival of the cheapest" says Bernard Salt.

Lismore Real Estate Agent Kevin Gleeson can be contacted on

(02) 5593 1188.