Ballarat City Council’s ambitions to propel infill development have been dealt a blow with figures showing residents are preferring the western suburbs to the centre of town.
Numbers released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday revealed a steady population growth for the wider city of 1.9 percent exceeding the previous growth figures.
But the distribution of the growth was skewed away from the centre of the city where figures went backwards by 72 residents over the last year, a decline of 0.6 per cent.
All up 12,241 residents lived within the area in 2017, compared to 12,356 in 2006.
The reason they come to the regions is they want to escape that apartment living lifestyle.Nick Grylewicz - Integra land development director
The Ballarat statistical area takes in parts of Bakery Hill, Newington, Lake Wendouree and Lake Gardens as well as the CBD.
Unsurprisingly the two largest growth areas continued to be Alfredton and Delacombe, whose populations increased 5.7 and 4 per cent respectively between 2016 and 2017.
See how Alfredton grew from 2004-2017 here.
Integra land development director Nick Grylewicz said the statistics showed buyers in Ballarat saw better value in the western suburbs than established areas close to the CBD.
“There’s a lot of demand at the moment for housing and people from Melbourne have their eyes on Ballarat,” Mr Grylewicz said.
“The reason they come to the regions is they want to escape that apartment living lifestyle.
“I agree there’s a role for infill development but it’s ambitious to aim for 50-50.”
Ballarat North and South both grew by 1.5 per cent over the year, while Buninyong continued to prove an attractive investment outside of the city with population growth of 2.5 per cent.
The population in Wendouree and Miners Rest received a 0.6 per cent boost across the 12 months, while just three more residents made the move to Smythes Creek, a 0.1 per cent increase.
In a statement earlier this month Ballarat City development and planning director Angelique Lush said “supporting new inner city housing and the re-use of upper storeys of existing buildings in the CBD are key housing priorities”.
See how Miners Rest grew from 2004-2017 here.
Overall Ballarat City’s population growth climbed above the 1.6 per cent in Greater Bendigo and 1.8 per cent in Wodonga.
Greater Geelong continues to lead the way for regional Victoria with growth of 2.6 per cent.