Is this Melbourne home too good to be true?

A MUD brick cottage in an ecovillage could be a bargain buy for those looking for a home in the Bend Of Islands, but snapping it up might not be so easy.

On the market for $245,000, the two-bedroom cottage is nestled near the Warrandyte-Kinglake nature conservation reserve, 30km north east of Melbourne.

Eco Real Estate Network’s Catriona MacDiarmid said the property was an affordable opportunity.

“This is a chance to buy a home that is cheaper than the average house,” she said.

“But certain conditions have to be met.”

The cottage is on 121.4ha of shared natural bushland and is located in an ecovillage.

Ecovillage-style living is based on the concept of becoming socially, culturally, economically and ecologically sustainable.

As the property is on a shared community title, it does not come with the standard freehold ownership.

“It is best that buyers are self-financed and have the full purchase price to secure the cottage,” Ms MacDiarmid said.

As the property is located in a designated environmental living area, residents were prohibited from owning domestic pets, and the buyer has to undergo a vetting process.

“The buyer and members of the village community meet and decide whether they are a good fit,” Ms MacDiarmid said.

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Overlooking bushland, the cottage is filled with character and features leadlight windows and a front door reclaimed from a monastery.

The floorplan is spread over two levels and includes two bedrooms plus an open-plan kitchen, dining, living area heated by a cast-iron wood heater.

There is a second living area with an open fireplace, plus a bathroom with a claw foot cast-iron bath.

A notable feature is the charming mud brick outhouse that is used as a third bedroom, but would also be an ideal studio or home office.

Other features include solar hotwater, a paved outdoor area and a rustic iron gazebo for summer entertaining.

Morrison Kleeman agent Gayle Blackwood said the property market in the Bend Of Islands was tightly held.

“It is a coveted area with a strong community lifestyle,” she said.

“Residents tend to stay for a long time and a property comes up for sale in the area only once in one or two years.”

The Bend Of Islands includes 634ha of natural bushland and combines environmental conservation with residential use.

SUBURB PROFILE: BEND OF ISLANDS

The area is zoned Special Use Zone 2 (Environmental Living) under the Shire of Nillumbik Planning Scheme and is unique in Australia, according to the Bend Of Islands Conservation Association website.

The zoning ensures that the flora and fauna are protected by strict regulations prohibiting the introduction of non-indigenous plants and the keeping of pets or livestock including cats, dogs, horses or cattle.

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