Don't ignore regional markets

Often when people talk property, particularly in relation to growth and decline, the focus tends to be on capital cities. And whilst capital cities around the world do tend to house the largest numbers of people, there’s no denying that within our great southern land, there are many regional centres also worthy of note when it comes to analysing real estate.


Many Australians love the country life, and until very recently mining towns everywhere were experiencing property and population booms. I personally know many people who have made the move to the country don’t want to return to the city once they’ve experience rural life. But not only that, some regional markets are performing incredibly well when looked at from a real estate perspective.


According to recent data from RP Data, the largest municipalities outside of each state’s capital cities is home to almost 2 million people, and with such large population bases, the residential markets in these areas are expansive, and growing. Often you’ll find even greater diversity in the housing stock of these regions than in the bigger cities and often these regions border a capital city boundary, making them viewed as an increasingly affordable alternative to capital city living.


In NSW, the largest region outside Sydney is the Hunter area - home to around 590,000 people. Major regional centres Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens are all located within the Hunter region, as are some of the most prestigious Australian wine regions, making it a great tourist destination as well as a great place to live. Median house values in the area are currently sitting at $310,000, which is about $245,000 lower than the Sydney metro median value – you can see the attraction (and I mean other than the wine!)


Within Victoria, the second largest region is the Barwon Statistical Division which has a population of about 260,000. Located immediately West of Melbourne, this area includes Greater Geelong, Surf Coast and Colac-Otway. House values in the region have been very resilient, falling by just 0.2% over the last 12 months to record a current median value of $294,000.


In Queensland, the Gold Coast is the largest region outside of Brisbane. Despite being most famous for its beaches and tourism, over the last few decades the Gold Coast has established the largest office precinct outside of Brisbane and houses a significant working population. Around 500,000 residents call the Gold Coast home and the region is one of the fastest growing in the nation. At the end of 2008 Gold Coast house values were about $92,000 higher than Brisbane house values – definitely a regional market people want to get into!


In South Australia the largest region outside Adelaide is Outer Adelaide housing around 125,000 people. The region wraps around the Adelaide metro area and includes the Fleurieu Peninsula, Mount Barker which is fast becoming a satellite city of Adelaide. Similarly to the Hunter in NSW, this area houses the wine regions of Barossa and parts of the Adelaide Hills – what more reason do you really need to make the move? House values in the region have not experienced as great an increase as the Adelaide metro, but have still increased over the last twelve months.


When looking at the west coast, the South West of WA is the second largest region in the state after Perth. It’s an expansive region which borders the Perth metro area to the south and extends from Mandurah south to Manjimup, including the coastal areas of Bunbury and Busselton and the wine regions around Margaret River – are you detecting a theme here like I am? House values have trended in line with the Perth metro market, with values recording very strong growth between 2003 and the end of 2006 but falling over the 2008 calendar year.

 Like I said, regional living is a lifestyle embraced by many, and I have to admit that the thought of living within a wine region is certainly a tempting one! I can see why so many people make the move…
Posted by Charles Tarbey on 20/04/2009 at 8:43 AM | Categories:


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