Property: 16 regional hotspots across Australia

The ability to work from home and affordability is driving people to move out of big cities. We asked a property expert to pick regional hotspots in each state.

Has COVID-19 got you thinking about a tree or sea change? You’re probably not alone. One of the property trends experts think we are likely to see as a result of COVID-19 is more and more people moving from the big cities and buying in affordable lifestyle areas within an hour or two of the city.

Interestingly this shift to regional areas has been happening for quite some time, according to a new report by the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) released last week. The Big Movers report, which looked at the flow of people around regional Australia based on 2011 and 2016 Census data, found that regional Australia had a net inflow of 65,204 people. This means that in the five years to 2016, regional Australia attracted more people than it lost to capital cities.

RAI CEO Liz Ritchie says the notion of how we work has been turned on its head thanks to COVID-19 and she hopes this change will see further population growth in regions. “Over the last few months, we’ve all had to change how we work and this has allowed staff and employers to see that location is no longer a barrier for where we choose to work,” she said.

The ability to work from home is just one of the reasons more Aussies might consider a move to regional locations. Many regional towns have good infrastructure which allows workers to commute to capital cities which can make it easier to keep their current job and still work in the office at least part of the time if they need to.

Affordability is another factor that may play a role in people’s decision to make the move to a regional area. For first-home buyers the cheaper prices mean it may be easier to get their foot on the property ladder while those who have a large mortgage may like the idea of reducing the size of their debt and pocketing some extra cash.

Cheaper house prices may also make it easier to qualify for the federal government’s new HomeBuilder scheme which gives eligible applicants a grant of $25,000 if they build a new home as a principal place of residence valued at up to $750,000 (including land); or substantially renovate an existing home as a principal place of residence, with renovations valued at between $150,000 and $750,000 and the dwelling not valued at more than $1.5m before the renovation. Income caps also apply.

Regional hotspots

So what regional areas might be worth a look? Canstar asked Terry Ryder from Hotspotting to nominate regional ‘hotspot’ locations in each state. The areas Mr Ryder has chosen have a combination of the following features – a strong diverse economy that is COVID-resistant, they are affordable, there is infrastructure spending in the area and/or they are attracting buyers from the big cities.

You can find Mr Ryder’s picks below along with a sentence from him about why each location made the list. The median prices and growth data provided for each of the locations is from the Domain House Price Report, March 2020. The only exception is Bendigo as that data was not available in the report. The data from Bendigo came from the suburb profile page on Domain.

New South Wales

Orange

Orange, NSW
Orange, NSW. Source: Alf Manciagli (Shutterstock)

Median price: $435,000
Year-on-year change in median price: 1.4%
Five-year change in median price: 27.9%
Why it’s a hotspot: The local economy is ideally set up to thrive during and after the pandemic.

Albury-Wodonga

Albury NSW
Albury, NSW. Source: C de la Cruz (Shutterstock)

Median price: $375,000
Year-on-year change in median price: 7.1%
Five-year change in median price: 22.5%
Why it’s a hotspot: The five biggest jobs sectors are all COVID-resistant.

Queanbeyan

Bridge over Queanbeyan River
Bridge over Queanbeyan River, NSW. Source: Liz Jakimow (Shutterstock)

Median price: $657,500
Year-on-year change in median price: 9.6%
Five-year change in median price: 27.7%
Why it’s a hotspot: It has close links to Canberra – the strongest anti-virus economy.

Northern Territory

Alice Springs

Alice Springs
Alice Springs, NT. Source: Morgane LAVIEC (Shutterstock)

Median price: $449,250
Year-on-year change in median price:  -4.2%
Five-year change in median price: 1.0%
Why it’s a hotspot: It has remained a steady market while Darwin has been in decline.

Queensland

Sunshine Coast

Noosa
Noosa in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Source: Darren Tierney (Shutterstock)

Median price: $627,000
Year-on-year change in median price: 4.5%
Five-year change in median price: 26.7%
Why it’s a hotspot: $20 billion in infrastructure spending is keeping this economy strong.

Mackay

Mackay
Mackay Harbour, Queensland. Source: Nina Alizada (Shutterstock)

Median price: $365,000
Year-on-year change in median price: 5.8%
Five-year change in median price: -3.9%
Why it’s a hotspot: Links to the Central Queensland resources sector are creating strong rental demand.

Gympie

Lake Alford, Gympie, Queensland.
Lake Alford, Gympie, Queensland. Source: ribeiroantonio (Shutterstock)

Median price: $330,000
Year-on-year change in median price: 0%
Five-year change in median price: 17.9%
Why it’s a hotspot: Affordability and links to Sunshine Coast are drawing house-and-land buyers.

South Australia

Whyalla

Whyalla ocean lookout, South Australia
Whyalla ocean lookout, South Australia. Source: Alex Cimbal (Shutterstock)

Median price: $252,500
Year-on-year change in median price: 7.4%
Five-year change in median price: 5.2%
Why it’s a hotspot: This resources town is mounting a strong comeback from the previous downturn.

Victor Harbor

Victor Harbor, South Australia
Victor Harbor, South Australia. Source: amophoto_au (Shutterstock)

Median price: $395,000
Year-on-year change in median price: 7.3%
Five-year change in median price: 11.3%
Why it’s a hotspot: It’s a lifestyle market attracting retirees and sea changers from Adelaide.

Alexandrina LGA

Goolwa
Goolwa, South Australia. Source: Norman Allchin (Shutterstock)

Median price: $385,000
Year-on-year change in median price: 0.0%
Five-year change in median price: 10.3%
Why it’s a hotspot: Centres like Goolwa are attracting lifestyle buyers.

Tasmania

Launceston

Launceston
Launceston, Tasmania. Source: ian woolcock (Shutterstock)

Median price: $350,000
Year-on-year change in median price: 7.7%
Five-year change in median price: 31.3%
Why it’s a hotspot: Affordability and the growth potential are attracting local and mainland buyers.

Victoria

Bendigo

Bendigo
Bendigo, Victoria. Source: Peter Clayton (Shutterstock)

Median price: $400,000 for a three-bedroom house
Year-on-year change in median price: 0.5%
Why it’s a hotspot: It has a strong diverse economy, a growing population and big infrastructure spend.

Ballarat

Ballarat Town Hall, Victoria
Ballarat Town Hall, Victoria. Source: Taras Vyshnya (Shutterstock)

Median price: $425,000
Year-on-year change in median price: 10.4%
Five-year change in median price: 41.4%
Why it’s a hotspot: It’s a national leader on price growth, attracting buyers from Melbourne.

Latrobe City

Yinnar Community Garden, Latrobe City, Gippsland, Victoria
Yinnar Community Garden, Latrobe City, Victoria. Source: Red Dirt Road Blog (Shutterstock)

Median price: $285,000
Year-on-year change in median price: 3.3%
Five-year change in median price: 25.3%
Why it’s a hotspot: Affordability is attracting investors and home buyers from Melbourne.

Western Australia

Mandurah

Mandurah, WA
Mandurah, Western Australia. Source: Lev Kropotov (Shutterstock)

Median price: $375,000
Year-on-year change in median price: -1.3%
Five-year change in median price: -10.7%
Why it’s a hotspot: It will attract people from Perth working remotely and resource workers.

Port Hedland

Port Hedland, WA
Sunset in Port Hedland, Western Australia. Source: Brad.Pass (Shutterstock)

Median price: $255,000
Year-on-year change in median price:  0.9%
Five-year change in median price: -62.8%
Why it’s a hotspot: Post-boom prices are low but are rising again as the resources sector revives.


Effie ZahosAbout Effie Zahos

Canstar’s Editor-at-Large, Effie Zahos, has more than two decades of experience helping Aussies make the most of their money. Prior to joining Canstar, Effie was the editor of Money Magazine, having helped establish it in 1999. She is an author and one of Australia’s leading personal finance commentators, appearing regularly on TV and radio.

 

 

Main image source: Shuang Li (Shutterstock)

 

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