Bendigo is being trumpeted as Australia’s No. 1 “growth star” property market in a new report.
While the Melbourne market continues its slump, the regional city has been dubbed a top prospect for price gains in the coming months, by leading research firm Hotspotting’s Price Predictor Index.
The report identifies affordable housing, strong rental yields, accessibility to Melbourne, a solid job market and “a more relaxed lifestyle than in the capital city” among Bendigo’s strengths.
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It also pinpoints 10 “rising” suburbs in the hot municipality — more than metropolitan Melbourne’s measly nine, a figure that’s plummeted from a peak of 127 in mid-2015.
They include Eaglehawk, Golden Square and Kangaroo Flat, which have median house prices just above $300,000.
The report defines a rising suburb as one where home sales volumes are increasing, as this is generally a precursor to price growth.
“Investors can buy ahead of price growth by finding locations where sales volumes are rising,” it said.
Report author Terry Ryder also labelled regional Victoria as a whole “the strongest market in the nation, both for rising demand and big price growth”, with Ballarat and Latrobe other smart targets.
“A lot of demand is coming out of Melbourne,” Mr Ryder said.
“We saw it first in Geelong, Pakenham-Officer and Warragul, then Ballarat, and now Bendigo is rising.
“For people who are looking to buy now, Bendigo is a good option.”
Ray White Bendigo’s Mitch Balnaves said his market had been boosted by new infrastructure, including the $630 million Bendigo Hospital upgrade and a $31 million Kangaroo Flat aquatic centre, plus Qantas’s new Bendigo to Sydney flight service.
“We’re seeing steady growth,” he said.
Hotspotting found five rising suburbs in both Ballarat and Latrobe. They include Ballarat North and Buninyong, which have already notched 15 per cent annual median house price gains, and Moe, Morwell and Churchill, where the medians remain below $200,000.
Mr Ryder said Latrobe was a “surprise”, given the economic hit expected to follow the Hazelwood power station’s 2017 closure.
“But the local economy has stayed strong because governments have invested in the area, to create jobs and offset the negative impacts of the closure,” he said.
Mr Ryder said the Melbourne market was long past its peak, with just nine rising suburbs — three in the Melton region and two in Hume.
“Prices are still increasing in the outer, cheap areas — most Melton suburbs have grown 20 per cent or more in the past 12 months,” he said.
“First-home buyers are more active than they had been in six to seven years, and they’re buying in those areas.”
On the flip side, Hotspotting named the Melbourne CBD unit market and Toorak house and unit markets as “danger” zones investors should avoid, following dramatic falls in sales activity and rises in vacancy rates.
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Municipalities and suburbs with increasing sales volumes, which are likely to deliver strong price growth in the near future
BENDIGO: Bendigo ($395,000 house median), California Gully ($275,000), Eaglehawk ($305,000), Flora Hill ($340,000), Golden Square ($330,000), Kangaroo Flat ($320,000), Long Gully ($270,000), Maiden Gully ($480,000), North Bendigo ($310,000), White Hills ($310,000)
BALLARAT: Ballarat North ($380,000), Brown Hill ($350,000), Buninyong ($495,000), Miners Rest ($395,000), Sebastopol ($280,000)
LATROBE: Churchill ($180,000), Moe ($190,000), Morwell ($165,000), Newborough ($230,000), Traralgon ($295,000)
MELTON: Burnside Heights ($635,000), Fraser Rise (n/a), Harkness ($480,000)
HUME: Gladstone Park ($640,000), Mickleham ($540,000)
Other Melbourne suburbs: Carrum Downs ($575,000), Deer Park ($575,000), Doreen ($605,000), Ivanhoe East ($2.005m)
Other regional suburbs: Bairnsdale ($270,000), Leopold ($485,000), Maryborough ($225,000), Mooroopna ($230,000), Portland ($235,000), West Wodonga ($325,000)
Source: Hotspotting’s Price Predictor Index, summer 2019