No challengers to Geelong‘s status as the No.1 market in regional Victoria

No challengers to Geelong‘s status as the No.1 market in regional Victoria
No challengers to Geelong‘s status as the No.1 market in regional Victoria

GUEST OBSERVER

I’ve been charting to rise of regional markets throughout this year and it’s now a trend worthy of note by property watchers.

New South Wales and Queensland both have large numbers of growth markets outside the capital cities. Victoria has more than a few as well and even laggard states like South Australia and Western Australia are starting to show some life in their regional markets.

Perhaps the most significant trend is that NSW and Queensland have more growth markets in their regions than in their capital cities. This is a strong feature of the research I conducted for the Winter Edition of The Price Predictor Index.

The Sunshine Coast has more growth locations that any other municipality in Australia. When combined with neighbouring Noosa Shire, this region is the most upwardly-mobile market in the nation, in terms of trends with sales activity.

Noosa Heads and its neighbours have delivered little growth in the past decade but are now rising, with both sales levels and prices increasing. Noosaville is the local star: sales levels in the past two years, quarter by quarter, have been: 111, 124, 154, 156, 152, 162, 186 and 188. A little further south, Coolum Beach is also rising strongly.

But a regional challenger has emerged: following the merger of the Wyong and Gosford LGAs to form the Central Coast council area, this municipality is now the leading individual LGA in NSW: it has eight locations with rising markets, as well as 21 with steady sales performance.

Markets with forward momentum include Blue Haven, Gosford, Hamlyn Terrace, Point Frederick, Wyoming and Wyong.  Sales in Hamlyn Terrace have increased from 37 to 42 to 45 to 59 in the past four quarters.

The strength of the NSW Regional market has grown, with the number of rising markets increasing steadily in the past five quarters. In terms of growth in sales activity, NSW Regional has more to offer investors now than Sydney does.

While the Sydney market is past its peak and has relatively few growth markets compared to 2015, Regional New South Wales is rising, with the number of growth markets increasing from 30 to 49 to 51 to 55 to 61 in the past five quarterly surveys for The Price Predictor Index.

This is reinforced by other research, such as Time On Market statistics, which shows the fastest-selling locations in NSW are outside Sydney, in locations such as Newcastle, Gosford and the Blue Mountains.

The city of Newcastle, and the locations surrounding it (including the municipalities of Port Stephens, Lake Macquarie Maitland, Cessnock, Singleton and Muswellbrook) continue to be a stand-out region.  Jointly they have 17 rising markets, such as the Newcastle suburb of New Lambton, where sales have lifted from 44 to 49 to 59 to 61 to 63 in recent quarters.

Surrounding LGAs, such as Maitland, Cessnock and Port Stephens, all have growth markets. Hunter Valley locations like  Muswellbrook and Singleton continue to improve after the previous downturn caused by over-development.

There are still no challengers to Geelong‘s status as the No.1 market in regional Victoria. The City of Greater Geelong also has more growth suburbs than any of the LGAs of Melbourne. The Geelong economy is performing strongly and its property market thrives as a cheaper alternative to Melbourne.

But there are a number of other busy markets in regional Victoria, most of them just outside the footprint of the Melbourne metropolitan area. They include towns like Pakenham and Officer in the far south-east, as well as the Macedon Ranges and Mitchell LGAs north of Melbourne.

Usually the last place you’d expect to find multiple growth markets is regional South Australia, where there’s little in the way of economic or population growth. But several country regions of SA are rising, headed by the Goolwa district, where sales have risen from 76 to 88 to 110 in the past three quarters. Nearby Strathalbyn is also rising.

Similar growth patterns have been seen in the seaside town of Victor Harbor and the regional centre of Murray Bridge.

There are growing signs that some regional markets impacted by the resources sector have passed the worst and showing evidence of recovery.

Places where demand is rising again include NSW towns impacted by the coal industry (Muswellbrook, Singleton and Mudgee), WA centres for the iron ore and gas sectors (Port Hedland and Karratha), and Queensland towns impacted by coal (Emerald, Mackay and Moranbah).

There is, for example, a definite upward trend in sales activity in both Karratha and Port Hedland, although price levels remain extremely low, at a fraction of their boom-time levels. Port Hedland has seen its median house price fall from above $1 million to $370,000.

Investors should continue to be wary of buying in such places. Markets like this are always volatile and high-risk. Far safer to buy in regional cities with diversified economies, such as recovering Townsville in Queensland or Wagga Wagga, Dubbo and Tamworth in NSW.

Terry Ryder is the founder of hotspotting.com.au. You can email him or follow him on Twitter.

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder is the founder of hotspotting.com.au.

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Geelong Regional Markets

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