Local government areas just beyond the Melbourne metropolitan area are increasingly attracting the attention of home buyers and investors
The big attractions are relatively low prices, a more relaxed lifestyle and the ability to commute to city jobs nodes.
The standout areas are Cardinia Shire in the far south-east and both Mitchell Shire and Macedon Ranges Shire north of the capital city. Sales activity has increased significantly in all three LGAs in the past 12 months.
Of course the LGA just beyond Melbourne with the strongest market is the City of Greater Geelong, which continues to be unchallenged as the clear market leader in regional Victoria – and one of the strongest markets nationwide.
Hotspotting research for the new Autumn edition of The Price Predictor Index finds that the Geelong LGA has seven rising markets, as well as 13 steady markets, which outranks most of the LGAs in metropolitan Melbourne.
Markets doing well in the Geelong region include Norlane, Armstrong Creek, Belmont, Clifton Springs, Geelong West, Newcomb and Waurn Ponds.
Most of the busiest locations in Greater Geelong are locations at the affordable end of the market, reinforcing the region’s appeal as a cheaper lifestyle alternative to Melbourne.
There are a number of municipalities just outside the Melbourne metropolitan area have rising markets because they, too, provide affordable lifestyle options within reasonable commuting distance of city jobs nodes.
The Shire of Cardinia is a neighbour of the City of Casey, one of Melbourne’s strongest population growth areas in the far south-east of the metropolitan area. It includes towns such as Pakenham and Officer which are getting spill-over growth and have steadily growing property markets.
Sales in Pakenham have been continued to grow in the past four quarters as has Officer sales grown in the same time frame.
The Macedon Ranges and Mitchell LGAs are rural areas north of Melbourne and are attracting growing attention for their affordable country towns with good road and rail links to the city.
Sales activity is also rising in towns like Kilmore and Wallan in Mitchell Shire and Gisborne and Kyneton in the Macedon Ranges LGA.
Median prices include $330,000 in Kilmore, $240,000 in Seymour, $280,000 in Broadford and $360,000 in Wallan, which emphasises the affordability attraction. Another part of the appeal is median rental yields in the 5 percent to 5.5 percent range.
Larger Victorian regional centres like Bendigo and Ballarat continue to present steady real estate markets, without delivering any substantial growth. Both these cities have more suburbs with steady sales activity and solid performance than those with growing activity.
There are plenty of solid regional centres with similar stories throughout the rest of the state – including Warrnambool, Mildura, Wodonga, Sale Echuca and Wangaratta – but there is nothing in the sales numbers to suggest strong price growth in the near future.
Mildura features on our National Top 50 list for highly consistent markets. Every quarter for the past two years has recorded between 205 and 235 dwelling sales in Mildura.
But the growth markets in regional Victoria are generally found among the smaller centres.
Smaller regional centres with growing sales activity – in addition to the towns of Mitchell Shire and Macedon Ranges Shire – include Ararat, Bacchus Marsh, Bairnsdale, Bannockburn, Castlemaine, Colac, Portland and Traralgon.