Ballarat: This regional centre stands out, offering affordability with good transport links to Melbourne, underpinned by a strong economy. Sales activity has been rising in a city where most suburbs have median house prices of $250,000-$350,000.
Greater Geelong: This time last year I wrote that “while much of the publicity about Geelong focuses on the closure of the Ford motor plant, positive job-creating events far outweigh the negative impacts of the Ford shutdown.” Most suburbs in the City of Greater Geelong recorded double-digit median price growth in 2017, including several above 15% and two (Indented Head and Jan Juc) above 20%.
There will be growing signs in 2018 that Melbourne is following Sydney into a wind-down phase. Melbourne got on its growth path later than Sydney and so still has momentum. But the important indicators show Melbourne has already passed its peak.
The ripple effect has taken the growth cycle to the affordable outlying suburbs. The strongest market now is Wyndham City in the far south-west, where suburbs such as Werribee, Hoppers Crossing and Point Cook are selling homes in record numbers.
The elements that drove Melbourne’s boom – a strong state economy and the nation’s highest population growth, fuelled by migrants – remain. But there are powerful forces that can overpower the growth drivers, including affordability and oversupply. So we can expect the 2018 growth to be seen in the outer suburbs and in regional centres within commuting distance. Geelong has one of the hottest markets and will continue to surge in 2018. Ballarat is warming up as well and homes are selling fast there, thanks to the city’s affordability, strong economy and transport links to Melbourne. Other busy markets include Macedon Ranges Shire north of Melbourne (towns like Gisborne, Kyneton, Woodend and Romsey); Mitchell Shire, also on the northern fringes (Kilmore, Wallan, Seymour and Broadford); and Cardinia Shire in the far south-east (Pakenham and Officer).
Warming up ... Ballarat has a strong economy and is affordable.