Ballarat's property market is looking north right now - metaphorically and physically.
The city council is driving an infill development plan aimed at keeping new residential projects within 10 minutes of the CBD. It wants to provide a compact city that's easy to get around.
As the city's manager planning implementation Terry Demeo says, it's a big trip to drive 15 minutes in Ballarat. And so the city wants to maintain the existing compact nature of Ballarat. Mr Demeo notes infill is the next step in a more tight-knit Ballarat.
Pedestrian and bicycle-friendly is the target, he says. Which means the city's north is ripe to host this in-fill development.
Projects like Villawood Properties' new Drew's Paddock with the Midlands Golf Club at Invermay Park are emblematic of this vision of new in-fill developments.
A fifteen minute commute and freeway access make it an attractive prospect.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics now lists Ballarat as the fastest growing inland city in Australia, apart from Canberra. It grew 1.84 per cent in the last year.
Moreover, as Oliver Hume's national head of research George Bougios tells us, capital growth is moving upwards swiftly in regional and peri-urban centres as they integrate more with Melbourne. The north's ticking more boxes.
Industry experts like Terry Ryder, of Hotspotting, put Ballarat in the top five Australian regional cities that homebuyers and investors should be targeting.
Like many others, he points to Ballarat's good infrastructure, growing population and economy, handy transport links and, affordable property with stronger growth prospects than the state capital city.
The Ballarat market's also underpinned really strongly by Canberra's first home-buyer deposit guarantee; low interest rates; the easing of bank lending restrictions; first home-buyer grants, stamp duty exemptions and lifestyle. The reality is, people are already voting with their feet.
We've found at Drew's Paddock, that 75 per cent of buyers are second home-buyers from Ballarat. Overall, all the buyers are from Ballarat, a real vote of confidence. These people are looking for more quality substantial builds. They're already locals and they're moving from other surrounding suburbs to an area they consider very prestigious. And there are no Melbourne buyers - yet.
It represents a new surge to Ballarat's north by those in the know. So like I say, eyes north.
Julian Perez is Villawood Properties' regional Victoria general manager.
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