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Demand for regional property ‘here to stay’

The pandemic-infused flight to the regions is here to stay, with a number of more affordable areas likely to see continued growth, according to a new report.

The Hotspotting Top 5 Regional Cheapies with Prospects Report found that there a number of affordable regional locations around the country with good growth potential, led by the City of Geraldton, (WA), Gladstone (QLD), Tamworth (NSW), the City of Mount Gambier (SA) and the Lockyer Valley (QLD).

Hotspotting Director Terry Ryder said many regional locations offered solid properties in the $200,000 to $400,000 price bracket, with the potential for long-term growth. 

“Some areas have outperformed cities in the past five years with these five chosen regions all having unique features like growing economies, diverse industries, and major developments, which makes them promising areas for investors,” Mr Ryder said. 

Mr Ryder said Geraldton – the only city on Western Australia’s Coral Coast – had experienced rapid growth in recent years. 

“As the largest city north of Perth, this key regional centre has expanded alongside the state’s booming economy,” he said. 

“The population has increased five-fold in just one year, indicating a promising future for the property market.” 

“Despite this, prices remain significantly lower than other parts of the country, with an average house price of $300,000.”

He said the region’s affordability, as well as a number of other attributes, holds strong appeal for investors and homebuyers.”

Hotspotting General Manager Tim Graham said Gladstone is also becoming a “destination” town for investors and home buyers looking for a sea change, although recent data shows the prices paid in sought-after seaside locations are on a steady upward trend. 

“Despite the pandemic, it has bucked the national downturn and continues to show positive trends such as falling vacancy rates, higher rents, and increased sales activity,” he said.

“Many are drawn to Gladstone’s economy, which is supported by its diverse range of projects including its transformation into Queensland’s clean energy capital with a large number of hydrogen projects.”

He said the city also boasts a regional airport and numerous local amenities, making it an attractive destination for both residents and migrants.

“With its ongoing expansion and thriving property market, Gladstone is a promising location for future growth,” he said.

Likewise, the Mount Gambier market is a steady performer and an example of the ripple effect that can occur outside major cities, which escalated during Covid, Mr Graham said.

“Offering affordable housing, a vibrant economy, and opportunities for employment and lifestyle, it’s a popular choice for both intrastate and interstate residents looking to relocate to the Limestone Coast,” he said. 

“The region’s key industry, forestry, is undergoing expansion, with plans for a forestry industry development and research centre.”

Mr Ryder said Mount Gambier offered investors a median house price of $376,000 and yields above five per cent.

“Rental availability is extremely tight, with vacancies below one per cent, making it a strong choice for investors seeking both affordability and cash flow,” he said. 

According to Mr Graham, Tamworth’s affordability and rural lifestyle also made it attractive for those seeking a lower cost of living. 

“Government officials encourage this trend, leading to new developments in the city and surrounding areas,” he said.

“Supported by industries like agriculture, mining, tourism, aviation, and healthcare, Tamworth has a solid economy.

He said the University of New England’s upcoming campus would further boost the education sector, while Tamworth’s tourism industry and reputation as the national equine capital contributed to its stability.

“With a strong property market, low vacancies, and high rental yields, Tamworth is a promising option for investors, with double-digit annual growth in units,” he said.

Mr Ryder said the Lockyer Valley, located between Brisbane and Toowoomba, was a highly popular agricultural region with a diverse range of crops. 

“It is home to a UQ campus, light industry, and serves as the gateway to the Surat Basin mining and renewables sectors,” he said. 

“The region is rated among the top 10 most fertile farming areas in the world. It is widely known as Australia’s salad bowl, growing the most diverse range of commercial fruit and vegetables of any area in the nation.” 

Mr Ryder said the region is also well-connected, with the Warrego Highway providing easy access to both Toowoomba and Ipswich. 

“With its rustic charm, affordable housing, and large blocks of land, the Lockyer Valley’s population is expected to grow by 40 per cent by 2041,” he said.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.