First it was gold, now affordable houses are the treasures worth digging for in Ballarat and Bendigo.
This is the verdict of a new Hotspotting report, which has named the regional cities among Australia’s top “cheapies with prospects” homebuyers and investors should be targeting.
Rounding out the national top five are New South Wales’ Wagga Wagga and Parkes, and South Australia’s Port Augusta.
Hotspotting founder Terry Ryder said buyers could “readily find dwellings in the $200,000s or $300,000s (with) solid growth potential” in these regional gems with “bright futures, good infrastructure and growing populations”.
He said among the factors lifting the Ballarat and Bendigo markets were growing local economies, convenient transport links to Melbourne — and affordable real estate offering much stronger growth prospects and rental yields than the lacklustre state capital.
Elmore on Bendigo’s fringe is the regional city’s most affordable suburb. 6/14 Wright St is up for grabs there, for $165,000-$180,000.Source:Supplied
Meanwhile, further research from Aussie Home Loans and CoreLogic has identified where buyers can score the best bargains in the cities.
They found fringe suburb Elmore has Bendigo’s cheapest median house value at just $197,200, while California Gully, Eaglehawk, Long Gully and Sailors Gully all came in below $300,000.
Sebastopol took most affordable honours in Ballarat at $311,521, remaining cheap despite 13 per cent annual growth, followed by Wendouree, Mitchell Park, Learmonth and Redan (all between $316,384-$344,503).
137 Upper California Gully Rd, California Gully is for sale with a $220,000-$240,000 price guide.Source:Supplied
Mr Ryder said Bendigo’s infrastructure improvements, including the completed $5 billion Regional Rail Link and $630 million hospital redevelopment, had been market boosters.
Ballarat was “one of Australia’s strongest regional cities”, thriving thanks to strong employment rates and its popularity as a commuter city to Melbourne.
Mr Ryder said a diverse economy buoyed by the tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and IT industries also made Ballarat a winner.
Biggin & Scott Ballarat director Francesca Nicol said the city’s flourishing education, dining and cultural offerings were other drawcards, while buyer’s advocate Frank Valentic said its affordability had become more and more enticing for those priced out of Melbourne.
Melanie Ansley moved from LA into this $640,000 house in Ballarat suburb Black Hill.Source:Supplied
Mr Valentic said Ballarat and Bendigo — and many areas across regional Victoria — had resisted the downturn plaguing Melbourne.
“The regional markets … tend to lag behind the Melbourne market,” the Advantage Property Consulting director said.
“Melbourne’s market peaked a year and a half ago, so Ballarat and Bendigo may still have a year or so of reasonable growth.”
Mr Valentic and Ms Nicol both highlighted Ballarat suburbs Golden Point and Wendouree as areas buyers should target.
When returning to Australia from LA in October, Melanie Ansley turned her back on former home city Melbourne to instead move her family to Ballarat suburb Black Hill.
“We were looking for a place that didn’t have too much traffic, and prices are affordable for really nice heritage houses,” the 39-year-old said.