Middleton is located 63km south of Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula, halfway between Port Eliot and Goolwa. It's a smallish town, with minimal amenities but a population in the region of 1,300 people (according to the 2006 census) – however, this had more than doubled from the 505 permanent residents in 2001. It's known for good surf and excellent whale watching between June and September.
The area has seen relatively steadily impressive capital growth throughout the last 10-15 years – a fact local real estate agent Enid Simpson, of Elders Goolwa, puts down to its relatively recent discovery by sea changers and weekenders.
“About 20 years ago, Middleton was just beach: surfies went there and that was it. There wasn't much more than a few shacks there,” says Simpson. “However, over the last 10-15 years, it's been discovered by more and more people, especially due to the whales. People seem to love it down here, because it feels like being on holiday while only being an hour's drive from the Adelaide CBD.”
Property buyers are evenly divided between sea changers, retirees, investors and weekenders, adds Simpson, and she reckons that the lack of amenities is a bonus.
“It just makes it feel more like you're getting away from everything,” she comments. “Besides, Goolwa and Port Elliot are only 10 minutes up the road, and they have more amenities.”
There's a significant amount of building work going on in the town, with farmland subdivided into 800-1,000m2 blocks selling for between $350,000 and $450,000. Simpson stresses that this isn't the limit of growth, though: she comments that a beachside land-only block recently sold for $995,000. However, she does warn that maintenance can be expensive, due to the exposed nature of the terrain to high winds from the Great Australian Bight.
What really sets Middleton apart from the rest of the high performers in South Australia is the fact that its growth is accelerating. According to Residex, median prices leapt by over $15,000 between June and September 2010 – the fastest growth seen in the town since 2004, in the middle of a supposed property slump. Simpson agrees that the indications are that Middleton – along with the rest of the Fleurieu Peninsula – could well be set to take over from the Yorke Peninsula as the sea-changer's location of choice.