Lifestyle, affordability and new high-paying jobs have attracted more homebuyers to Geelong.
REGIONAL property markets are the “new black’’ with a leading property expert predicting demand will continue to lift.
The latest McGrath Report revealed that Australia’s leading regional hubs, the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Geelong and Newcastle were undergoing significant price growth on the back of strong demand.
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McGrath executive chairman John McGrath said improved infrastructure had made commuting times faster between regional areas and capital cities and when coupled with the NBN rollout making access to technology better, these regions had become even more appealing to buyers.
“Massive infrastructure investment across Australia is also boosting employment in regional centres,’’ he said.
Massive infrastructure investment is boosting employment in regional centres, like Geelong. Picture: Alison Wynd
Geelong was identified as the best performing regional city with its median house price up by 9.8 per cent in the past 12 months.
Despite its median house price of $505,000 was still $200,000 cheaper than Melbourne’s.
“I think Geelong is undergoing a renaissance at the moment, like it has never seen before,” Mr McGrath said.
“When there was the closure of a lot of the industries and the factories in the area people thought that could be the end of Geelong, but I think it has been the rebirth of Geelong.
“And now people are enjoying a great lifestyle without the industries, it is still an hour and a bit from Melbourne and it is building a whole new infrastructure of restaurants and cultural pursuits and so forth.
McGrath Estate Agents executive chairman John McGrath said Geelong was undergoing a renaissance like never before.
“I think that is what happens as the population shifts and in some instances a slightly wealthier demographic and a demographic with different expectations comes into the market and they start catering for it.
“So the quality of eating options increases you start getting better social and cultural opportunities.’’
Mr McGrath said it wasn’t just affordable housing attracting buyers to regional areas, but some even had higher incomes and lower living costs.
The influx of new homebuyers to Geelong was bringing a wealthier demographic and changing the city’s social and cultural opportunities. Picture: Mike Dugdale
In Geelong, workers aged 15 and over received a median income (in 2016) which was $84 more than Melbourne.
Population figures were rising in the regions. Lake Macquarie in New South Wales took 5500 new residents from Sydney and Geelong took 6900 from Melbourne.
He said the regions which attracted the most interest were those within a 90-minute arc of the major capital cities.
“While affordability remains a key reason to move, many say buyers are increasingly talking about escaping from city stress, traffic and cost of living,’’ he said.
“Sydneysiders are thinking I’ve got a $3m house, I’ve got no money in my bank, what can I do. We are seeing an increased migration back up to southeast Queensland, which was similar to before the GFC when we did see a constant stream of people heading north and I think we are going to see that more courtesy of the higher values in Sydney and Melbourne.’’
Mr McGrath said while many were keen to relocate to an affordable regional area it had to have the facilities for them to take the step.
“They generally don’t want to be too far away or too inaccessible.’’