Regional Victoria riding high

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    House prices rose in every regional area of Victoria over the past year, with some regions posting price gains of as much as 18%, according to Domain’s latest House Price Report.

    With the COVID-19 pandemic spurring a transition to remote work, many people are leaving the city for coastal and country areas, pushing prices up in some of those areas by more than 15%.

    Real estate agents in some regional areas told Domain that local buyer activity and price gains have also been driven by record-low interest rates and government incentive programs.

    House prices saw the strongest annual growth in the southern Grampians, which includes towns like Hamilton and Dunkeld, more than three hours west of Melbourne. House prices in the area have spiked 18% year on year, according to Domain figures. Prices in the northern Grampians have risen by 15.3% annually to a median price of $245,000.

    Jo Frost, of Elders Real Estate Hamilton, told Domain she wasn’t surprised that the southern Grampians recorded some of the state’s strongest price growth.

    “It’s no surprise at all; pretty much since about May, we have not stopped running,” she said.

    Frost pointed to three factors she said were driving sales activity in the area, including low interest rates and government stimulus, “people panicking after the pandemic hit and pulling their money out of the stock market and putting it into bricks and mortar,” and – more recently – a growing number of tree changers.

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    “The thing is, houses in Hamilton and the surrounding areas are still cheap,” Frost told Domain. “So, early on in the pandemic we had a lot of people buying up properties as an investment. Then with interest rates so low and some of those government incentives coming on, we saw a lot of local movement with people selling and upgrading to something bigger and better and first-home buyers getting into the market while they could.”

    Frost said that the area was only recently starting to see activity from people moving from the city and outer suburbs.

    Greater Bendigo saw the state’s second-largest growth in house prices, with median prices rising 16% annually to $435,000, according to Domain figures.

    Domain senior research analyst Nicola Powell said that regional Victoria has “really been the star performer.”

    “There was no regional area that has missed out on growth, and I think a lot of the growth that we’ve seen – particularly since the pandemic – reflects the fact that Melbourne came out of one of the strictest lockdowns in the country, and the impacts that has had on our lifestyles since and the ability to work remotely has simply changes our ideas on where we want to reside.”

    Original Article