Three Victorian regions among nation’s top 10 best property buys
A once “daggy” Melbourne municipality has blossomed into one of the Australia’s top spots for property buyers, new research shows.
The Darebin region — home to suburbs including Bundoora, Reservoir, Northcote and Thornbury — is one of three Victorian markets to make the cut in Hotspotting’s National Top 10 Best Buys of 2019 report.
Hotspotting founder Terry Ryder also tipped Bendigo and the Latrobe Valley to “show growth not only in 2019, but well beyond”, especially now the real estate sector was rebounding from a downturn.
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Driving Darebin’s property market were its closeness to the CBD, “good bones” in terms of public transport links and infrastructure, and “relative affordability”, Mr Ryder said.
The latter was particularly true in the unit market, in which several suburbs still offered medians in the $400,000-$500,000 range, despite the property type outperforming houses for growth.
Unit prices notably jumped 9 per cent annually in Northcote, to a $570,000 median, and 5 per cent in both Thornbury and Coburg, to $560,000 and $495,000 respectively.
In comparison, the region’s best performing house market was Macleod, with 2 per cent gains to $895,000.
“The market is resilient because it’s accessible for many types of buyers,” Mr Ryder said.
“It’s also one of those areas that was considered daggy years ago, and now it’s gone through the gentrification process, people consider a bit trendy.
“The economy … revolves around education and training (notably as the home of La Trobe University), having transitioned away from its blue collar roots.”
Low vacancy rates — especially in Thornbury (0.9 per cent) and Northcote (1 per cent) — made the area attractive for investors, while several Darebin suburbs were set for future infrastructure development after being deemed Major Activity Centres by the state government.
Nelson Alexander Northcote agent Luke Sacco said while Darebin had experienced price falls during the downturn, that had “made it affordable again for young families”.
The market was now bouncing back, with a shortage of available housing stock and “lifestyle perks” including the High St shopping strip among the factors fuelling demand.
Bendigo and Latrobe Valley’s presence in the top 10 reflected the fact regional Victoria was “one of the strongest markets in the country”, Mr Ryder said.
Both offered affordable real estate — especially Latrobe Valley, where several towns had sub-$200,000 house medians — as well as solid rental yields and laid-back lifestyles.
Strong annual house price gains have already been recorded in Bendigo’s Heathcote (up 11 per cent to a $310,000 median) and California Gully (6 per cent, $270,000) and the Latrobe Valley’s Moe (11 per cent, $200,000) and Newborough (7 per cent, $245,000).
Rounding out the national top 10 regions were Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay and Mackay, South Australia’s Marion and Port Adelaide Enfield, and Western Australia’s Stirling and Joondalup.
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AUSTRALIA’S BEST BUYS
Best annual performers: Macleod (median house price up 2% to $895,000), Northcote (median unit price up 9% to $570,000)
Most affordable: Kingsbury ($680,000 median house price), Bundoora ($400,000 median unit price)
Best annual performers: Heathcote (median house price up 11% to $310,000), California Gully (up 6% to $270,000)
Most affordable: Long Gully ($265,000 median house price), California Gully ($270,000)
Best annual performers: Moe (median house price up 11% to $200,000), Newborough (up 7% to $245,000)
Most affordable: Morwell ($170,000 median house price), Churchill ($180,000)
Source: Hotspotting analysis of CoreLogic data