13 Regional hotspots set to sizzle

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Over the next few years, many of Australia’s best performing areas for capital growth will largely be outside capital cities. Your Investment Property reveals where you can find them

Hockey great Wayne Gretzky put it best. “A good player plays where the puck is. A great player plays where the puck is going to be.”

He should have been a property investor. If you’re looking for a property market that is going to show immediate capital growth you have to find where the puck is moving to next. It’s no use looking at markets that have already boomed, you have to find the markets that are on the verge of booming.

For investors that do their homework, it’s a mindset that’s has been increasingly pointing in one direction: the country’s regional areas. These are the markets that have been on the receiving end of some of Australia’s biggest investment projects and they’ve also had the largest population increases. Now it’s up to property investors to discover which of these property markets are going to take off.

If you’re thinking this is easier said than done, think again. Yes, the country is a rather large place to be chasing down high returns and the promise of rapid price increases, but in your hands you’re holding something that is about to make it immensely easier.

Analysing population trends, property cycles, rental growth and the range of new and proposed infrastructure projects, we’ve sourced 13 ‘hotspots’ showing excellent potential for dramatic price increases. These are markets where prices are currently affordable and where rents have been increasing, just as the supply of available properties has tapered off. This means supply and demand forces are working in their favour, which is made all the more critical by recent developments that suggest capital growth is knocking on the door.

JARGON ALERT! – Understanding the numbers

Rental yield – Consistent rental increases are often a sign that a market is on the verge of seeing capital growth. As the tenant base becomes frustrated with paying high and increasing rents, many will feel coerced into entering the property market. More buyers in the market will put demand pressures on the existing supply of properties, pushing up prices.

Vendor discounts – Lower discounts are normally another indication of markets ready for growth. A low discount is normally anything under around 7% and an ideal number would be anything lower than 4%. As an investor you want to see low vendor discounts because it means demand is so strong in a particular market that vendors don’t need to slash their listed prices in order to sell their properties.

Days on market – If properties are selling quickly in an area it is usually a sign that they are in high demand. Demand is vital if capital growth is to occur. The national benchmark for days on market is around 110 days, but a really popular market usually sees properties selling in under 80 days.

Proportion of renters – Whenever a market is dominated by investors it is usually going to experience less capital growth. Investors tend to hold onto their properties for much longer and there are less buyers coming into the market to push up prices. An ideal ratio of renters is usually around 20% to 40%.

Vacancy rates – These numbers are important in pinpointing a market where supply is limited. Remember, you want a market where demand is high but supply is low. If vacancy rates are lower than 3%, it usually means that tenants will struggle somewhat to find rental properties and may start paying more rent for the privilege of getting into a good home.

Stock on market – The lower the proportion of properties going onto the market, the better. Within an in demand market this will mean buyers will have to pay more to get the properties they so eagerly desire, ensuring capital growth. Any percentage lower than 2% is usually a good sign for investors.

Click through to the next page for a state-by-state breakdown

QUEENSLAND

1.SOUTH TOWNSVILLE

Location: 1,300km north of Brisbane

Population: 4,300 (suburb), 145,000 (Townsville)

Median price: $361,700 (units)

Listings: $250,000 to $600,000

Median rent: $395

Gross yield: 5.7%

As the unofficial capital of Northern Queensland, Townsville property will always have something going for it. “As a large regional city with a diversified economy it is not largely susceptible to the peaks and troughs of the mining boom,” says PRD Nationwide research analyst Aaron Maskrey.

Townsville’s economy is recognised as one of the most diverse regional economies in the country. It is an industrial port, exporting minerals from Mount Isa and Cloncurry, but the town also relies strongly on tourism, manufacturing, processing and education.

Hotspotting.com.au director Terry Ryder believes Townsville’s time has come. “There’s been a lull in the property market for a couple of years, but the city’s links to the resources industry are also strong, so the economy is doing well,” he says.

Ryder points to the city’s large government and military offices as an added bonus for investors, helping keep the city’s employment market buoyant. This ensures that good tenants are in abundance and Townsville’s average household income outstrips the Queensland average by about 10%.

Within Townsville, one of the more popular places to live is South Townsville. Separated from the Townsville CBD by Ross Creek, the suburb is within walking distance of the centre of the city and is home to an assortment of cafes, restaurants and pubs.

For Townsville residents who want the inner city lifestyle, South Townsville is arguably one of their best choices and units rule the market. Units trumped houses by about 37 sales in the 12 months to August, with 57% of dwellings in the suburb non-detached properties. 

The far majority (70%) of South Townsville residents are unmarried, but the area holds appeal for small families too. It is abundant with parks and a primary school is in the middle of the suburb.

The indicators

Pros:

  • Affordable prices
  • Good inner city yields
  • Rental market reasonably balanced, 2.6% vacancies
  • Rents up 6.8% from a year ago

Cons:

  • The supply of properties on the market is modestly high at 3%

Who would South Townsville suit?

South Townsville is a low risk investment that is ideal for anyone looking at the long-term. Immediate capital growth prospects may not look as sexy as some of Queensland’s mining towns, but the payoff is that price growth is a lot more reliable. Rental returns are good and the tenant base is supported by a stable employment market. It is a good choice for anyone wanting to diversify their portfolio with an investment that’s likely to see them through good times and the bad.

2.ROCKHAMPTON

Location: 630km north of Brisbane

Population: 6,600 (suburb), 76,000 (city)

Median price: $202,500 (houses)

Listings: $150,000 to $530,000

Median rent: $270

Gross yield: 6.9%

The region

These days Rockhampton is acting out the part of the lesser known brother to superstar performer Gladstone. Both have many of the same forces driving their property markets and investors often put them – wrongly – in the same category. They do this for understandable reasons. Both cities have prominent ports within the same major resources area and because of this are developing into major manufacturing and processing hubs.

Gladstone has very much been the big brother in this regard. Investment and population flows into the city have been far greater than in Rockhampton, but this has been to such an extent that many investors are now saying Gladstone property faces serious problems with affordability.

Robert Matta, a research analyst at PRD Nationwide, believes that large-scale growth in the median price of Gladstone property is now affecting its appeal and that the market could suffer as a result. “The lack of affordable house and land [in Gladstone] is driving sales volumes down, exacerbated by unprecedented rental growth which continues to inflate values,” he says.

But why should it matter for investors interested in Rockhampton?

Both Gladstone and Rockhampton accommodate fly-in fly-out workers, who prefer the seaside locale and temperate climate of these areas over the harsher environment in many of the mining locations they work in. With Gladstone rents and property values escalating beyond the reach of many, the appeal of Rockhampton is immediately clear. The city is leagues more affordable.  

Apart from this, it has plenty of drivers of its own. “Yes, it benefits from the mining industry, but the city is larger and has a range of industry which lessens the level of risk. [There’s] livestock and an increasing tourism industry,” says Aaron Maskrey, another PRD analyst.

The Rockhampton CBD residential market is one of the city’s oldest residential areas and is sandwiched between the Fitzroy River and Rockhampton Airport. It is well served for amenities, being within walking distance of the city’s best amenities.

Average annual growth for the area has been robust at 14.3%, but in recent years values have underperformed with RP Data reporting five-year growth of just 3%. This suggests that the market is due a sizeable portion of growth.

The indicators

Pros:

  • Tight rental market, vacancies just 0.6%
  • Good rents. Positive gearing is a possibility for many properties
  • Limited supply. Only 0.5% of properties are listed for sale

Cons:

  • Properties typically aren’t selling too quickly. The average property is on the market for 130 days before selling 

3.EMERALD           

Location: 647km from Brisbane

Population: 23,300

Median price: $442,000 (houses)

Listings: $180,000 to $700,000

Median rent: $600

Gross yield: 7.1%

The region                           

Emerald is another of Queensland’s regional centres that, although profiting from the resources boom, has a diversified economic base. The town is a hub for fruit, cotton and other agricultural producers and has been the recipient of large-scale mining-related investment.

“It’s strategically located between the Bowen and Galilee Basins and has growing fly-in fly-out traffic from Queensland’s expanding coal mining industry,” says hotspotting.com.au director Terry Ryder.

Ryder says that because of its position as both a key agriculture and mining centre, Emerald enjoys a healthy property market. The supply of new housing remains well below population growth, ensuring huge pressure on rents and property prices.

The area is also a desirable place to live. Sporting complexes and parks abound and an 18-hole golf course, hospital and botanic gardens round out the amenities. Tourist attractions such as the pioneer museum and cotton gin tour add another element to the mix and visitors can explore the gem fields for which the town is historically known.

The indicators

Pros:

  • High yields
  • In demand. Buyers can only negotiate 4% off listed prices, on average
  • Houses are popular and take an average 74 days to sell
  • The rental market is tight. Vacancies are low at just 1.2%
  • Supply of properties up for sale is severely limited. Only 0.4% of all properties are currently listed

4.BLACKWATER

Location: 825km north-west of Brisbane

Population: 8,200

Median price: $397,000 (houses)

Listings: $220,000 to $750,000

Median rent: $900

Gross yield: 11.8%

The region

Blackwater has always generated a fair bit of controversy for investors. It is one of Queensland’s leading property markets, having seen impressive growth over the last decade. Average annual growth rate figures show that the median house price has grown 30.5% a year since 2002, with the year up to August seeing 15% growth. Despite these figures, Blackwater isn’t every investor’s favourite choice because of one factor. It is a mining town.

The area is a major hub among coal mining activities in the Bowen Basin and seven major mines dot the landscape surrounding the town. However, PRD Nationwide research analyst Aaron Maskrey says the property market is stable, owing to the sheer scale of mining operations in the area.

“While the town is heavily reliant on the coal industry bringing in a highly paid workforce, it is not dependant on just one mine,” he says. “Blackwater is the services hub for seven mines… strong growth is highly likely.”

The resilience of Blackwater’s property market is further highlighted in a September industry report which profiles suburbs set for big prices growth over the next eight years. The data provider projects capital growth in excess of 9% a year until 2020 – suggesting there’s still plenty of gusto left in the town’s property market.

The indicators

Pros:

  • Tight rental market, vacancies at 0%
  • Low supply of stock, only 1% of properties up for sale
  • In demand. Buyers can only negotiate 4% off listed prices, on average
  • Pressure on the rental market is high, but prices remain relatively affordable, insuring yield of 11.8%

Cons: 

  • Market dominated by investors, just 26% of residents owner-occupiers

 “Blackwater still has plenty of life left in it, for those who like investing in one-industry towns. It's had plenty of price growth but remains a lot cheaper than Dysart and Moranbah. Its rents are strong, relative to prices, so the returns are good.” – Terry Ryder, hotspotting.com.au

Up next: New South Wales

NEW SOUTH WALES

5. STOCKTON

Location: 1km north of Newcastle CBD

Population: 5,100 (suburb), 290,000 (city)

Median price: $440,000 (houses)

Listings: $290,000 to $750,000

Median rent: $430

Gross yield: 5.1%

The region

Stockton is the only Newcastle suburb on the northern bank of the Hunter River, and with city property markets poised to perform strongly, the suburb looks every bit a winning contender.

Wedged between the Pacific Ocean, sand dunes and the Hunter River mouth, the area is somewhat isolated from the rest of the city, despite being less than a kilometre from the city centre.

Historically a working-class neighbourhood with strong links to the coal mining sector, the suburb is undergoing something of a reinvention as more young professionals move in from Sydney, Newcastle and other parts of the state.

That the suburb has a bright future was highlighted in a September industry report which forecasted 10% growth per annum for the next eight years. This would put it well within the top 100 fastest growing property markets in the country, posting growth well-above the national average.

Stockton’s appeal as a place to live is hard to deny. Residents get what would otherwise be a multi-million dollar view for a price tag of around $400,000. Some of Newcastle’s best beaches are also within walking distance and sports and park facilities dot the area. Getting into the rest of Newcastle usually requires taking a short ferry trip, but a growing proportion of Newcastle residents are prepared to make the sacrifice.

The indicators

Pros:

  • Shortage of rental accommodation – vacancy rate at 1.4%
  • Only 1.8% of all properties are being listed, indicating a short supply of properties within the market
  • 10% growth in rents over the 12 months to July
  • A healthy 26% of residents are renters, suggesting a market that is well balanced between owner occupiers and investors

Cons:

  • Average turnover times. Most properties take 123 days to sell

"Newcastle is seeing expansion to the world’s largest coal export port (90% of NSW coal exports), $8bn in supporting infrastructure, and over 200 proposed projects in the serviced hinterland.  Low vacancies, strong employment and strong improvements to medical and health services make much of the city appealing."  – Andrew Peterson

6. EAST MAITLAND

Location: 163km north of Sydney

Population: 15,800 (suburb), 67,000 (City of Maitland)

Median price: $338,000 (houses)

Listings: $220,000 to $570,000

Median rent: $355

Gross yield: 5.5%

The region

Much of Maitland, one of the larger settlements within NSW’s Hunter Region, is set to enjoy strong infrastructure investment and will likely see strong growth in property markets as a result. Critical for the region is the completion of the Hunter Expressway, which will link the Newcastle to Sydney Freeway (F3) with the New England Highway. This will create a 26km four-lane, dual carriageway accounting for approximately $1.7bn of investment.

Employment opportunities are strong in the region through mining related activity, which is also set to expand. The local economy currently thrives off aluminium processing and wineries, but coal mining activities have increased, bringing with it population growth and a renewed demand for housing.

With a median house price at $338,000, properties remain affordable, with decent returns. Growth of late has been static, evidenced by RP Data figures showing -1% growth in the 12 months to July. However, the slump shouldn’t last too long, as the huge flow of investment starts to push property prices.

Meanwhile, the suburb has an attractive array of amenities. It is well served for schools and clinics, while sports facilities and parks are in ready supply. Shopping opportunities are within reach of most parts of the suburb and there is a decent selection of restaurants and fast food establishments off of High Street.

The indicators

Pros:

  • Low supply of stock on the market – 1.2% of total properties up for sale
  • Extremely tight rental market with 0.8% of rental stock vacant
  • Suburb is popular. Properties get sold within 88 days, on average
  • Properties are in demand. The average buyer can only negotiate 6% off original listed prices
  • Good ratio of owner-occupiers (72%) to investors (28%)

7. QUEANBEYAN

Location:  250km south-west of Sydney, 20km south-west of Canberra

Population:  8,600

Median price: $455,000 (houses)

Listings: from $280,000 to $1m

Median rent: 450 per week

Gross yield: 5.1%

The region

Queanbeyan is in New South Wales, but it has a much closer association with the Canberra property market. The suburb is a 15-minute drive from the centre of the Australian capital, but because it is outside the ACT, where land supply is often an issue, property prices are a lot more affordable and hence a lot more appealing.

Local agent Aaron Papahatzis of Peter Blackshaw Realty says the suburb offers a diverse range of housing options, with four bedroom houses on decent sized blocks in high demand.

“Properties are everything from heritage-listed homes from the early 1900s to brand new townhouses and apartment complexes. There are [also] several unique little pockets in Queanbeyan, which means there’s something for everyone,” he says.

A leading data provider confirms the suburb’s potential as a regional market to keep an eye on, forecasting 10% annual growth over the eight years to 2020. This puts the market well ahead of NSW and ACT growth averages, signalling a market that could be about to take off.

Papahatzis adds that excellent schools, large shopping centres, a railway station and easy access to Canberra Airport make the area highly desirable to live in. “In the last 12 months alone there’s been a huge redevelopment in Queanbeyan… exciting things are happening at the recently completed Crawford Street lifestyle precinct [and] the Royal Hotel Queanbeyan’s multi-million dollar renovation is also finished. A new library and a major retailer are just a few months away.”

The indicators

Pros:

  • Properties are popular. Most sell within 65 days
  • Vacancies are low (0.7%), indicating a tight rental market
  • The supply of properties on the market is also low (1.5%)
  • Rents increased 12.5% in the 12 months to July

Cons:  

  • Owner-occupiers account for only 54% of residents

 

8. BATHURST

Location:  160km west of Sydney

Population:  11,300 (suburb), 35,000 (city)

Median price: $287,500 (houses)

Listings: from $150,000 to $800,000

Median rent: 310 per week

Gross yield: 5.6%

The region

When talking regional centres in NSW, it’s normally Orange and Dubbo that grab everyone’s attention. Rental yields have been particularly strong in these markets and it’s helped a lot that mining related investment has been increasing.

Meanwhile, many investors would be surprised to learn how Bathurst’s property market has been ticking along – growing strongly while the imagination of investors stays fixed on the state’s smaller regional centres.

The city benefits from proximity to the central west farming region and Charles Sturt University, as well as the expanding mining regions in areas such as Dubbo. This mixed employment base has put healthy pressure on the Bathurst rental market, which has shown consistently low vacancy rates.

Residential property values in the inner city have grown 8.8% a year since 2002, according to RP Data, and many now forecast this to intensify. Raine & Horne-Bathurst’s Matt Clifton is one of them. “The area’s affordable housing and a marketing campaign by the local government to promote regional living is contributing to the strength of the local property market,” he says. 

Bathurst remains one of NSW’s ‘Evocities’ – one of seven localities identified as alternatives places for Sydneysiders to live. This has put it within the firing line of a $1.2m campaign to encourage people to move out of the state capital and many Sydneysiders are now taking the bait. Population growth is above the state average and growing industries include manufacturing, retail and health.

Amenities are top notch. The city has 19 primary schools, nine independent non-governmental schools, six secondary schools, six shopping centres, an additional shopping precinct under construction and more than 30 sports grounds. Bathurst Base Hospital provides care for residents and a private hospital has been proposed.

The indicators

Pros:

  • Rents increased 11% in 12 months to July
  • Low vacancy rate – 0.9%
  • Popular with buyers. Properties sell in 88 days, on average

Cons:

  • Investors rule the market, half of residents rent

 

9. DUBBO

Location:  400km north-west of Sydney

Population:  42,000 

Median price: $257,000 (houses)

Listings: from $100,000 to $550,000

Median rent: 280 per week

Gross yield: 5.7%

The region

There are thriving regional centres and then there is Dubbo.

A flourishing commercial centre in the heart of north western NSW, Dubbo is home to approximately 3,500 businesses servicing a shopping population that encompasses close to a third of the state’s geographic area.  It is by far the biggest settlement in this part of the country, and is a hub for communities within the Orana Region and further, accounting for 120,000 people.

Some 42,000 live in the city and the population is expected to swell to 48,000 by 2036, according to ABS figures. Investment is expected to hit a high note in coming years thanks to the proposed Cobbora Coal Project, which is expected to inject $400m into the local economy and create 700 jobs.

The project will cover 288 square kilometres and will be situated roughly a 30-minute drive outside of the city. “If we’re talking 700 jobs, that could well bring 200 families into Dubbo, which should put some pressure on supply,” says Richard Tegart of Ray White-Dubbo.

However, Christian Payne, the Real Estate Institute of Australia’s NSW president, believes supply pressures are already present. “At the moment there are no external influences on the market and just with the domestic market alone, demand is strong. If new employees move in, we’re going to see even more pressure on supply,” he says.

The city remains ideally located at the intersection of major road and rail routes and enjoys first rate medical services. Industries include retail, health, manufacturing, transport, tourism, education and construction. Government services also contribute to the city economy.

The indicators

Pros:

  • Low supply. Only 1.66% of properties are on the market
  • High demand. Over 600 sales in year to July
  • 7.7% increase in rents over same period
  • High yields provide for cash flow positive opportunities
  •  Rental market tight (0.9% vacancy rate)
  • Owner occupiers drive the market, accounting for 72% of residents

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

10.BULGARRA

Location:  1,166km north of Perth

Population:  4,828 (suburb), 17,000 (Karratha)

Median price: $709,000 (houses)

Listings: from $450,000 to $1.1m

Median rent: 1,425 per week

Gross yield: 10.5%

The region

Bulgarra is the oldest residential suburb of Karratha, a prominent port town within Western Australia’s iron ore trade. Like most towns affiliated with the state’s resources boom, property values have enjoyed phenomenal growth in recent times, having posted annual average growth of 17.2%.

What keeps the property market in Karratha and the surrounding Pilbara region ticking is the amount of resource-led investment that continues to stream into the area. This has hiked property values and, admittedly, most investors would find the $1m median price tag of some the region’s suburbs something of a red flag. This is where Bulgarra shows its edge.

“Because it’s the older part of Karratha the houses are a lot cheaper,” says Mark Pages-Oliver, general manager at Crawford Realty-Karratha. “The houses are also on much larger blocks than in some of the newer suburbs and they’re typically old brick homes.”

Pages-Oliver adds that Bulgarra is ripe with renovation opportunities. “Quite a few of the properties going up on sale could use a facelift and because the majority of renters are still corporate tenants, there’s demand for good quality rental stock,” he says.  “Tenants are also finding that it’s hard to compact their lifestyle on the newer, smaller blocks, so Bulgarra properties have a lifestyle factor there – swimming pools and more garden space.”

The indicators

Pros:

  • High 10.5% yield 
  • Limited supply. Only 0.23% of houses are on the market
  • Tight rental market, only 2.26% of rentals are vacant
  • In demand. Buyers can only negotiate 6% off the listed price, on average

Cons:

  • Investors rule the market, 51% of residents don’t own the property they live in
  • Slow turnover, average house takes 118 days to sell

Who would Bulgarra suit?

Like all so-called “resource towns”, Bulgarra carries some risk in that its property market is affected by global demand for commodities. That said, the local manufacturing base is fairly diverse and it’s hard to deny the capital growth and rental potential of the area. With patience and a keen eye on the market, it’s possible to pick up properties for around the mark of $500,000, and with some fixing up they can easily achieve the median rent of $1,425 a week.

This makes Bulgarra a perfect investment destination for a hands-on investor with a medium appetite for risk. Forecasts of excellent capital growth continue for the area, and a rental yield of 10.5% is nothing more than phenomenal.    

Up next: South Australia

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

11.ARDROSSAN

Location: 140km north of Adelaide

Population: 2,000

Median price: $317,500 (houses)

Listings: $230,000 to $800,000

Median rent: $260

Gross yield: 4.3%

The region

Ardrossan is a major regional centre on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula, home to a mix of mining related industries and agricultural processing businesses. It’s also a popular tourist stop, offering excellent recreational fishing and a breathtaking coastline.

Average yields for the area are low at first glance, but capital growth prospects look good, thanks to a number of proposed infrastructure projects. The Yorke Peninsula is home to a number of mining operations, most notably Rex Minerals is developing a copper mine at nearby Hillside. The area is also due a wind farm under the proposed ‘Ceres Project’.

The Hillside mine is expected to be Australia’s largest copper operation outside Olympic Dam, but property author and TAFE lecturer Peter Koulizos says recent developments work in Ardrossan’s favour.

“With the Olympic Dam expansion being delayed, this allows junior miners such as Rex Minerals to sell their copper at a reasonable price as the extra supply from Olympic Dam will be delayed. Also, it will be easier to get skilled workers, suggesting Ardrossan will be a growing town with a growing economic base,” he says.

Koulizos also points out the area’s strong infrastructure. “It has both primary and high schools, a hospital and major industry includes a dolomite mine, grain storage and harvesting salt from the sea.”

The indicators

Pros:

  • Affordable prices
  • Most residents are owner-occupiers, only 23% of residents rent
  • Vacancies low – 0.2%
  • 7% vendor discounts, on average

Cons:

  • Slow turnover, average house takes 132 days to sell

Up next: Victoria

VICTORIA

12.BALLARAT

Location: 110km west of Melbourne

Population: 10,900 (suburb), 94,000 (city)

Median price: $320,000 (houses)

Listings: $130,000 to $700,000

Median rent: $290

Gross yield: 4.7%

The region

Ballarat is Victoria’s third most populous city, but could be the recipient of new growth as political and economic forces knock onto its property market. “The new Baillieu government is promoting a policy of decentralisation and if this is effective then Ballarat should see some growth,” says thenexthotspots.com.au’s Andrew Peterson.

Local agent Andrew Lewis of Colliers International confirms that Ballarat has a lot going for it. “Ballarat has very strong educational and health based service sectors and this creates an easy place to live. There are four private secondary schools, two universities and a private and public hospital, both being well funded and recently constructed,” he says.

Lewis adds that Ballarat has seen good growth over the last few years, but critically, growth hasn’t been as volatile as some of Victoria’s other property markets. This has a lot to do with the city’s strategic location. “Ballarat is one hour from Melbourne and Geelong and is on the road to Adelaide. Beaches along the Bellarine are all within 90 minutes and Tullamarine and Avalon [airports] are less than an hour away.”

Investors are likely to be further enthused by an ongoing $4bn Regional Rail Link project. The purpose is to reduce travel times to Melbourne, further encouraging Melbourne residents to make the move into Ballarat.

The indicators

Pros:

  • Supply pressures on rental market, vacancy rate 1.4%
  • Limited amount of listings, only 0.33% of properties on the market
  • In demand. Buyers can only negotiate discounts of 4%, on average
  • Rents increased 12% in the 12 months to July

 

13. EAST GEELONG

Location: 110km west of Melbourne

Population: 4,600 (suburb), 160,000 (city)

Median price: $390,000 (houses)

Listings: $300,000 to $550,000

Median rent: $320

Gross yield: 4.3%

The region

“If you’re looking at Victoria and want to invest in areas that neighbour Melbourne, you often have to ask yourself a simple question,” says Cate Bakos, head of property advisory at Empower Wealth. “You have to ask: where would people who work in Melbourne be prepared to live?”

Bakos says the answer to that question would lead many investors to East Geelong, one of Geelong’s most desirable inner city areas. Bakos says that the area has excellent connections into Melbourne, but property prices remain considerably more affordable than most Melbourne suburbs. This means the suburb is one of Victoria’s regional areas best poised to capitalise off of those Melbourne residents who have become tired of living in the big city, but can’t afford to leave their jobs there.

“East Geelong has many attributes that buyers and renters find attractive,” she says. “Houses are typically on large blocks and many of them are heritage homes, but they are still very affordable.

“In addition, East Geelong has a great lifestyle factor. It’s close to everything and there is a good café culture.”

There is also enough in East Geelong to satisfy less travelled residents, with or without Melbourne being nearby. The city centre is within a short walk of many parts of East Geelong, while connections to the Princes Highway to Melbourne are roughly a kilometre away. 

Geelong itself has a robust employment base. Some 10,000 businesses there employ close to 80,000 people. These are employees who work in industries as diverse as manufacturing, retail, tourism and health.  

The indicators

Pros:                  

  • Very popular. The average house is on the market for only 39 days before bought
  • Vacancies are minimal, the rate is 1.2%
  • Supply factors are good. Stock on market is 1.43%
  • Healthy proportion of owner-occupiers to renters (28%)
  • 6.6% increase in rents over 12 months to July 

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Comments
  • Greg says on 27/12/2012 11:17:47 AM

    NEW SOUTH WALES - 5. STOCKTON

    You forgot to add to your "Cons" list, that this suburb has made National Headlines in newspapers a number of times now for numerious poisonious gas leaks of hexavalent chromium from Orica's nearby ammonia plant. That Gas in linked to Cancer. Just google the words (Stockston gas leak) for more info.
    Apart from that small detail, its a pretty place to live.

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How much equity do you have in all your current properties?
First Name
Last Name
Where do you live?
What number can we reach you on?
E-mail address
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