Hotspotting: Victorian Regions tipped for Melbourne buyer influx

202 Forest St, Bendigo.

Seven Victorian lifestyle destinations have been tipped as the major beneficiaries of an ongoing exodus from Melbourne this year.

But the real estate guru behind the predictions has urged buyers not to forget their due diligence as “frenzied” sales takes over cities like Ballarat and Wodonga.

Real estate analyst Terry Ryder is expecting affordable prices compared to Melbourne’s suburbs, plus improving technology and views on working from home, will make the Mornington Peninsula, Bendigo and Latrobe Valley future hot spots.

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Lachlan James and Jade Davidson made the decision to move to Ballarat from Coburg three years ago. They left the big smoke with no job lined up, no friends or family in Ballarat waiting for them. And they couldn’t be happier with the way the move turned out. Now with two daughters, Holly, 3, and Audrey, 1. Picture: Rob Leeson

“I think this trend has longevity, it’s not a flash in the pan — it’s not a product of COVID-19,” Mr Ryder said.

The man behind hotspotting.com.au said anyone considering leaving the big smoke should consider the three areas named in his Exodus to Affordable Lifestyle Top 10 report.

In a “B-list” Mr Ryder also rated Wodonga on the NSW border and goldfield town Ballarat, but said both were a better buy three years ago though now seeing a “second wave” of demand thanks to COVID-19.

“People there are buying sight unseen, it’s not sensible buying,” he said.

“It’s just become so frenzied.”

Melbourne urban fringe municipality Whittlesea and southwest coastal town Warrnambool were also among seven Victorian regions flagged on a national top 20 list.

Terry Ryder,

11 Jackman Ave, Warrnambool.

Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said Warrnambool was also showing up in their data, hinting it had caught buyers’ eyes — but noted those hoping for a first-home buyer “affordable” property might struggle on the Mornington Peninsula.

There were also signs people were “trying before they buy” as they chased rentals in Bendigo and Ballarat.

Real Estate Buyer’s Advocates Association of Australia president Cate Bakos said while caution was needed, buyers still had time to snap up homes in frenzied markets such as Ballarat — with more growth still on the cards.

Ms Bakos added the Mornington Peninsula was also benefiting from cashed-up retirees who “aren’t really worried about bank valuations”, giving the region strong growth prospects.

Ballarat’s Jade and Lachlan Davidson are glad they bought into the regional city three years ago after watching home prices grow as fast as their two girls, Holly, 3, and Audrey, 1.

288 View Street, Bendigo.

“Houses were $250,000-$300,000 when we moved in and they are now $400,000-$450,000,” Ms Davidson said.

“We don’t think we even would have seen that much in Melbourne.”

She said the biggest rises had occurred from just before the pandemic, but that home values were still on the up.

“The pandemic has brought to a head what’s really important to people, and Ballarat is still so close to Melbourne … you can pop in when you need to via the train, but you already have everything you need here,” Ms Davidson said.

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