Regional cities help Victoria hang on as nation’s first-home buyer capital

Regional cities help Victoria hang on as nation’s first-home buyer capital

Young buyers turning their back on Melbourne and heading regional have helped Victoria hang onto its status as the nation’s first-home buyer capital.

More than 8600 Australians got their start on the property ladder in the state in the three months ending September 30 last year, according to a new report from PRD Nationwide.

Research analyst Josh Mangleson said while their numbers had dropped, there were still 1500 more in Victoria than any other state.

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Melbourne’s tumultuous market had ironically encouraged first-timers to buy, but had also driven more to look at regional centres within two hours of Melbourne.

“A lot of first-home buyers have been waiting a long time to enter the market, so they are seeing this moment as an opportunity,” Mr Mangleson said.

“While there may not be as many first-home buyers in the softening metro market, a lot will be looking to other city markets like Geelong or Ballarat.”

The firm’s quarterly key market indicators showed the state also had the biggest migration margin, up almost 18,000 people, and the second-lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 4.2 per cent, behind Canberra.

It had also seen the biggest growth in the median family income and the highest number of new home construction approvals.

The continued strong economic conditions — which combined gave Victoria the best long-term outlook in the nation — should give confidence to Victorian property owners, Mr Mangleson said.

“Ultimately, what we are seeing in the market at the moment is a price correction,” he said.

“But the fact that these indicators are stable is great news for Victorians.

“Once the fall happens there’s always going to be a rebound, that’s what history shows us. So if Victoria continues to maintain healthy economic figures there’s no reason it won’t see price rises in the future.”

PRD Nationwide Ballarat’s Robert McClure said he’d never seen Ballarat’s real estate market better in more than 30 years, and that many of their buyers were looking to leave Melbourne behind.

“I’ve never seen Ballarat so positive,” Mr McClure said.

“There are a lot more Melbourne people looking to come here to live.”

Affordability was a major attraction, with first-home buyers particularly active below $400,000.

“They could be looking for a nice brand new three-bedroom, two-bathroom place and it will be theirs for about $350,000,” he said.

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A three-bedroom house at 412 Bradshaw Rd, Golden Point had multiple first-timers interested despite its first open for inspection being slated for this Saturday.

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