Victoria’s top regional investment hot spots: PRDnationwide

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14 Jacksons Rd, Warrenheip is for sale on Ballarat’s eastern fringe.

A small collection of suburbs on the fringe of Melbourne’s expanding urban boundary have been earmarked as a chance for buyers to have their cake and eat it.

The Mitchell Shire to Melbourne’s north, capturing towns including new housing hub Wallan on the outskirts of Melbourne, has been named one of four Victorian regional hot spots with a chance to see home prices boom despite Melbourne’s falling market.

Regional centres Ballarat, Warrnambool and Wodonga also made the list of Australia’s 12 top regional investment spots.

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The 2019 Ready Set, Go Regional! report by PRDnationwide highlights towns with affordable median house prices, property price growth and at least 20 sales, substantial infrastructure investment, unemployment below the state’s average and rental returns above what you would see in metropolitan Melbourne.

47 Omeara St, Wodongais expected to sell at $340,000 — below the region’s $355,000 median house price.

It named NSW equal to Victoria with four hot spots.

However PRD research manager Dr Diaswati Mardiasmo said the Victorian list edged ahead of its northern neighbours on affordability.

“The Victorian LGAs (local government areas) are definitely more affordable than NSW,” Dr Mardiasmo said.

Three of the remaining hot spots were in Queensland and one in Tasmania.

Mitchell Shire was the closest to a state’s capital of any LGA named in the report and would have to be benefiting from metropolitan Melbourne’s long list of attractions, but far enough away to avoid the worst of the big smoke’s market correction.

15 Hopkins Way, Wallan has a $450,000-$480,000 asking price that frames Mitchell Shire’s $465,000 median price.

“To a certain extent there’s a bit of a spill over from Melbourne,” Dr Mardiasmo said.

“But there’s still affordability in the area — and there’s definitely scope for growth.”

But a 13.5 per cent lift in the median house price in the past year was a sign it would soon be priced out of the hot spots list, she warned.

“In this particular case, it’s having your cake and eating it, but it might not last — often these hot spots grow in the next 12 months,” she said.

With rail and bus links to Melbourne, Ballarat also benefited from its relationship with the state’s capital — but very much has its own economy, and one that looks set to grow in the coming years.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Ballarat saw quite a lot of economic growth in the next 12 months,” Dr Mardiasmo said.

525 Barkly St, Golden Point recently sold under the hammer with three bidders pushing it $22,000 above reserve.

Also on the regional hot spot list in 2017, Ballarat was now in high demand with locals and investors from Melbourne, according to PRDnationwide Ballarat sales manager Robert McClure.

Central Ballarat’s period and heritage homes were particularly in demand, as were some of the more impressive homes that offer country and city life together on the city’s fringes.

An exceptionally competitive rental market would see a new or well-maintained house attract up to 20 applicants, he added.

“The demand is very strong up here,” Mr McClure said.

“And with the capital growth that’s occurring too, that’s all added to it.”

Affordable prices and a growing list of job opportunities headed to the city were helping foster the demand.

A recent auction for 525 Barkly St, Golden Point attracted three bidders and sold $22,000 above reserve with a $582,000 result.

“And all our auctions up here are going very well in the central area of Ballarat,” Mr McClure said.

16 Boiling Down Rd, Warrnambool has a $375,000 asking price just above the regional centre’s $350,000 median house price.

Further afield, Warrnambool and Wodonga appeared set for an equally promising future.

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The pair showed that if you looked at the numbers and “got out of the box” and looked outside of metropolitan Melbourne there were ways to continue growing wealth with affordable property purchases.

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