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As the Melbourne market winds down, regional Victoria is rising strongly. In a trend similar to that in New South Wales, regional Victoria is the strongest we’ve seen since starting our quarterly surveys of sales activity three years ago.

Our Winter 2018 survey for The Price Predictor Index has identified 47 growth markets among the cities and towns of regional Victoria, compared to 36 a year ago and 23 two years ago.

The days when it was Geelong first and daylight second are over. Both Ballarat and Bendigo have overtaken Geelong, which nevertheless remains a market of note.

These three regional cities combined have 24 growth suburbs, double the number in the Melbourne metropolitan area.

The Geelong LGA still has seven growth suburbs, but 13 plateau markets and five consistency suburbs. This suggests Geelong, like nearby Melbourne, has passed the peak of its boom, while continuing to show strength and resilience.

Many Greater Geelong suburbs have had strong median price growth in the past 12 months, including Corio (up 22% to $315,000) and Norlane (up 23% to $290,000).

Ballarat is now the leading market in regional Victoria, with nine growth suburbs, but it is being seriously challenged by Bendigo, with eight rising suburbs.

We’ve noted the rise of Ballarat in previous quarterly surveys, but the surge in Bendigo has only emerged in our latest survey.

Quarterly sales in Kangaroo Flat in Bendigo have been 52, 58, 64, 64, 68 and 71, while North Bendigo has had 14, 20, 25, 29 and 38 sales in recent quarters. The median house price for both suburbs is $310,000 and this city, like Ballarat, is attracting buyers out of Melbourne because of its affordability, as well as its growth potential.

Another regional centre to emerge recently is Shepparton, which is the nerve centre of a thriving agricultural district and is attracting significant infrastructure spending. Sales in this LGA have been 169, 165, 194, 185, 214, 230 and 242 in the past seven consecutive quarters.

In the Latrobe LGA east of Melbourne, Traralgon, Morwell and Newborough all have busy markets, while in the Mount Alexanader LGA north of state capital, the towns of Castlemaine and Maldon are both rising.

Another regional area that surged early off the back of the Melbourne boom – Cardinia Shire in the south-east – remains busy. The main centres of Pakenham and Officer are still very active markets with strong price growth. Pakenham’s median house price has risen 20% to $485,000 in the past 12 months, while Officer is up 29% to $515,000.

Cardinia is a neighbour of the City of Casey, one of Melbourne’s strongest population growth areas in the far south-east of the metropolitan area.

The Bass Coast area has some strong markets, including Wonthaggi and North Wonthaggi. Quarterly sales in North Wonthaggi have been 24, 35, 31, 39 and 44 in the past five consecutive quarters – and its median house price has risen 9% to $295,000 in the past 12 months.

The Baw Baw LGA features rising markets like Warragul and Trafalgar. This area, east of Melbourne, recently has been prominent in official data on areas with strong population growth.

Warragul’s median house price has risen 19% to $405,000 in the past year.

~ Terry Ryder

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