THERE are a growing number of country pubs on the market, writes CIMARA PEARCE
More than two-thirds of pubs for sale in Victoria are country hotels.
Dozens of country pubs are on the market, many at dirt-cheap prices, waiting for the right buyers.
Property agent CRE Brokers has 54 regional and rural pubs listed for sale on its website - and only 17 metropolitan hotels.
Director Hugh Roberts said it was unsurprising given that Victoria had more country pubs than metro pubs.
He said the Melbourne market was dominated by corporations.
"A lot of city hotels are owned by corporates or larger groups, so they're less likely to dispose of the asset," Mr Roberts said.
"There's not as great a saturation of hotels in the city as there are rurally.
"There's always a number of country hotels on the market because for every town there is at least one pub, it doesn't matter how remote it is."
He said leaseholds in country pubs often sold every three to five years. Buyers were either trying to climb the ladder and move into a freehold business or dipping their toes in the water to see if they liked the industry.
Mr Roberts said the low price of country pubs - last year he sold a leasehold in Stawell for $40,000 and one in Morwell for $60,000 - allowed first-time buyers to try their luck without risking everything.
"At least 75-80 per cent of the buyers we have that are first-timers who buy into a leasehold for experience. That way they're not putting all their eggs in one basket," he said.
Mick and Debbie Colling decided to have a crack at the industry nine years ago. They bought the Orbost Club Hotel in East Gippsland.
With Mick carrying the publican gene - his father and grandfather were also in the industry - the NSW Central Coast residents wanted to be hotel owners. After almost a decade at the helm of the Orbost Club Hotel, they are looking to move on.
"We almost did a sea change type of thing," Mr Colling said.
"We sold the house and took a punt buying a pub, and we've done very well out of it.
"Now it's just time for another change for us.
"It's a really good area around here, with the Snowy River on your doorstep and good roads for motorcycle enthusiasts."
Australian Hotels Association Victoria chief executive Brian Kearney said there were about 1500 pubs in Victoria - and many more in the country than the city.
He said that although there was a high turnover in regional areas, it meant there were always new and enthusiastic people coming into rural communities and the industry.
"There's always a number of them (country pubs) for sale", Mr Kearney said.
"Pubs in country towns typically don't sit vacant though, and typically continue to operate until the right buyer comes along. When economic times are a bit challenging, sometimes you can find a good one for a good price."
He said country pubs provided a "good business and a good lifestyle and ... can be a pathway to other opportunities".
Pubs currently for sale
- Commercial Hotel, Lake Boga
- Commercial Hotel, Birchip
- Terminus Hotel, Wycheproof
- Bull and Mouth, Maryborough
- Farmers Arms, St Arnaud
- Rafferty’s Tavern, Warrnambool
- Royal Hotel, Warrnambool
- Mamre Hotel, Pirron Yallock
- Barwon Hotel, Winchelsea
- Royal Hotel, Snake Valley
- Pig and Whistle Hotel, Trentham East
- Victoria Hotel, Woodend
- Golden Vine Hotel, Bendigo
- Hurley’s Hotel, Kyabram
- Royal Hotel, Seymour
- Pig and Whistle Hotel, Main Ridge
- Toolangi Tavern, Toolangi
- Sam Knott Hotel, Warburton
- Alpine Retreat Hotel, Warburton
- Shamrock Hotel, Alexandra
- Poachers Paradise Hotel, Rutherglen
- Carriers Arms Hotel, Wodonga
- Harrietville Hotel Motel, Harrietville
- King Arms Hotel, Neerim South
- Royal Hotel, Drouin
- Austral Hotel, Korrumburra
- Cape Tavern, Cape Paterson
- Riverview Hotel, Tarwin Lower
- Fish Creek Hotel, Fish Creek
- Royal Standard Hotel, Toora
- Yarram Club Hotel, Yarram
- Rossmore Hotel, Yallourn North
- Railway Hotel, Heyfield
- Tinamba Hotel, Tinamba
- Gippsland Hotel, Sale
- The Club Hotel, Sale
- Orbost Club Hotel, Orbost