Home values have risen so much that more than 50 suburbs in Melbourne recently exceeded the $1 million mark for median house prices, which has left many investors looking at regional alternatives.

But it’s not just the cheaper dwelling prices which are attracting attention towards country Victoria. It’s the lifestyle too.

Many country areas offer a coastal location, brilliant bushland and peaceful settings that can’t be matched in Melbourne’s densely populated urbanised suburbs.

Moreover, Victoria’s regions are continuing to attract workers. In fact, regional employment there grew by 5,100 over the three months to August, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

This was led by the Hume region which benefits from agriculture in the west and alpine, wine and gourmet food in the east that also helps make tourism a key pillar of its economy. And as the Australian dollar continues to soften and more Asian tourists visit the region, this can only be good news for this industry and region.

Hume’s population growth is already projected to grow by over 38% over the 20 years to 2031.

Aside from Hume, there was also a reported employment increase in Latrobe-Gippsland, Shepparton, Geelong and Warrnambool and South West.

There are now 26,300 more people employed in regional Victoria since November 2010. And over the three months to August, Victoria’s regional unemployment rate was 6.6% which is actually below the statewide average of 6.8%.

Further job creating infrastructure in regional Victoria includes:

  • The Murray Basin Rail Project (up to $220 million)
  • The Shepparton Courts redevelopment ($73 million)
  • The Latrobe Regional Hospital ($73 million)
  • Bendigo Hospital ($630 million)

Additionally, the Western Section of the East West Link will also provide an alternative route to the West Gate Bridge for Geelong and Western Victoria, which should support export industries with improved freight and logistics networks.

Mildura and the Murray Outback

The northwestern regional city of Mildura is one area that’s catching the eye of investors.

Apart from being a significant service centre for north-west Victoria, as well as parts of South Australia and NSW (providing transport and warehousing services, professional services, health services and tertiary education), it is also the producer of premium agricultural and aqua cultural products for domestic and international markets.

In fact, it is food and beverage manufacturing that are among Mildura’s major exports, as the region’s arid climate creates the perfect conditions for citrus and grape growing.

Additionally, Mildura Airport is the busiest regional airport in Victoria for passenger services, with the number of passengers doubling over the past decade.