Busier months are ahead of Victoria's housing market with the expected reopening of the residential building industry.

The state government recently announced that activity in the construction industry can recommence once a 70% vaccination rate is achieved, lower than the previously announced benchmark at 80%.

Housing Industry Association (HIA) executive director for Victoria Fiona Nield said this will provide relief for all stakeholders in the construction industry, including property owners, builders, and tradespeople.

“It is also great to see that this announcement includes works outside homes allowing the many landscaping and other outdoor projects, such as painting, to resume and be completed in time to be enjoyed in the warmer months," Ms Nield said.

“Including maintenance works in this announcement will also allow for many builders to undertake scheduled maintenance works at recently occupied homes, where a backlog has been created in the last few months."

Regional markets hit decade-high gains

The expected recommencement of construction activity is expected to build on the strong performance of Victoria and Melbourne over the September quarter.

Figures from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) showed annual gains of 28.8% for houses and 18.8% for units in regional Victoria during the period.

Regional powerhouses such as Geelong, Newtown, and Lake Wendouree all hit a median price of $1m for the first time over the same quarter.

Meanwhile, Melbourne maintained its overall median above $1m, supported by the 13.8% annual gain.

REIV president Adam Docking said these price gains reflect the strong demand from buyers amid a period with relatively low supply.

"The September quarter also had the most number of days of complete COVID-19 lockdown, which had significant impact on the real estate market’s workings and, ultimately, resulted in less stock and fewer transactions," Mr Docking said.

"That said, a late start to the typically busy spring selling season means momentum should continue through to Christmas, and a return to in-person inspections is giving buyers and sellers more confidence to transact.”

Here are some of the Victorian markets buyers and investors should keep a close eye on:

Top-growth regional markets:

  • Wangaratta (19%)
  • Lucas (14.1%)
  • Point Lonsdale (13.4%)

Melbourne's best-performing suburbs

  • Keysborough (22%, $1.1m)
  • Beaumaris (16.6%, $2.27m)
  • Frankston South (15.7%, $1.25m)
  • Ferntree Gully (15.2%, $968,000)

Melbourne's most affordable suburbs:

  • Hoppers Crossing ($589,000)
  • Tarneit ($592,500)
  • Cranbourne ($600,000)

Photo by Troy Mortier on Unsplash.