Duncan Hughes, writing for the Australian Financial Review, says property prices for prestigious cemetery plots close to popular suburbs and seaside views are leaving residential real estate for dead.
Falling supply, increased demand and higher disposable income are contributing to “exponential growth” in prices and changing the way the living view real estate transactions for their final postcode, says fifth generation funeral director Dale Maroney.
A tomb with a view, particularly of the ocean, is the vault to die for, says Maroney, who traces her family’s undertaking business back to 1887, which was the year the first Test match was played between Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Chris Harrington, CEO of Australasian Cemeteries & Crematoria Association, says rising populations in major cities mean cemeteries in high-density areas are running out of space, forcing many regional cemeteries to secure the right mix of cost, location and ambience.
“They are filling up very quickly,” says Harrington about suburban cemeteries. “That means many are being buried outside their community.”
Jacqui Weatherill, chief executive of The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (VIC), says: “Our pricing approach ensures that future generations of Victorian taxpayers are not faced with the escalating cost of maintaining historic cemeteries once they are no longer active burial grounds.”
Weatherill says Victoria is the only state where there is no limited tenure on burial plots, which means once a person has been laid to rest they are there forever.