From our Property Partner Domain
When 10 large lifestyle blocks of land were launched for sale recently in a quiet corner of the Macedon Ranges, the reaction from buyers stunned everyone – more than 400 people registered an interest in just a few weeks.
“We couldn’t believe it,” says Rohan Ames, marketing director of Melbourne developer Goldfields. “We thought they would be in demand, but the extent of the interest far outweighed our expectations.
“It really opened our eyes to how many people are now wanting to buy big blocks in regional areas so they can build their dream homes or have a lifestyle with heaps of space, or have a hobby farm and rear animals. The regions are only going to continue to grow.”
Seven of those blocks in the development Hammond Lane in Kyneton have now been snapped up – by Melburnians, locals and interstate buyers – with only three remaining, priced from $1.1 million.
Their popularity wasn’t a surprise to Regional Australia Institute (RAI) chief executive Liz Ritchie, who says the exodus of people from the capital cities to the regions is still 11.7 per cent above pre-COVID levels.
“Regional Victoria is the third most popular regional destination for metropolitan movers, in net terms, accounting for 21 per cent of all capital city outflows,” she says.
“Good job prospects, the likelihood of better house prices and availability, and lifestyle benefits continue to draw people to the regions.”
During the pandemic, sea changes were more popular than tree changes, but now in Victoria, the latter have overtaken popular coastal locations like the Mornington Peninsula and Warrnambool. The coastal areas still come up trumps in many areas outside the state, however.
The RAI’s most recent Regional Movers Index found Greater Geelong to be the nation’s second most popular regional centre.
It tied in popularity with the Gold Coast – with both accounting for an 8.3 per cent share of total net migration – and trailed only the Sunshine Coast, which had a 16.7 per cent share.
It had a 41.2 per cent increase in the 12 months to September 2023, with 16.2 per cent of the new arrivals coming from the Melbourne suburb of Wyndham.
McGrath Geelong/Newtown principal David Cortous says the agency is busy and the market is buoyant.
“Rate rises pulled things up a little bit, but we’ve seen some really good sales, especially at the high end,” he says.
One apartment at 501/6-8 Eastern Beach Road, Geelong, sold with a price guide between $4 million and $4.4 million.
In fifth place on the index was nearby Moorabool. It had a 5.8 per cent share, but recorded the country’s strongest annual growth in net migration inflows at 73.4 per cent.
Further west, the Golden Plains LGA also showed strong growth, with a 103.7 per cent increase over the last year.
To the north, Greater Bendigo emerged as a new growth hotspot, with a 513 per cent increase in net regional migration in the 12 months to September 2023.
These areas are now consistently outperforming the beach towns.
“Higher interest rates have really slowed that lifestyle market,” says Rob Curtain of Peninsula Sotheby’s International Realty. “We’ve certainly seen the market cool off, as it has in many places.”
Over at Golden Plains, however, it’s a sharp contrast. “Demand did quieten down after COVID, but it’s still steady,” says Bruno Esposti of Simonds Homes.
“People seem to be looking for the kind of big blocks you can get here, that are more affordable and offer a quiet lifestyle and plenty of room. There’s a huge appetite for those.”