Hint: the answer is Yes.
Unless you’ve been hiding for the past 18 months, you’ll be aware of the so-called ‘flight to regional’. This flight was (and still is) particularly evident in Victoria, especially given our long
(nearly four-month) lockdown in 2020. As many re-evaluated their lives, and realised they could work from anywhere (those lucky ones), they sought less-crowded cities where they could live better for less.
Two major beneficiaries of that shift are Ballarat and Geelong. And buyers’ agents will be in high demand on both property markets, given the current shortage of stock.
But before I dive into some excellent reasons for operating your buyer’s agent business in either area, let’s take a deeper look at Ballarat and Geelong history and property markets.
Ballarat was first settled in around 1840 but the population exploded after the discovery of gold deposits in 1851. After the end of the gold rush, the town became a major rail and road centre and is now one of the most populous inland cities in Australia. While the city has traded on its gold rush history, it now boasts a thriving economy, with arts, tourism and culture strongly represented. The Art Gallery of Ballarat is the oldest (from 1884) regional gallery in Australia, and residents and visitors to Ballarat can enjoy various festivals throughout the year.
Ballarat offers quality work opportunities, with health care and social services the largest sector.
Property market Ballarat
Housing stock is an eclectic mix of Victorian (think bullnose verandahs) and Federation cottages, with a smattering of utilitarian interwar cottages and then new developments, mainly from the 1980s onwards.
(Remember, while investors and first home buyers might find timber Victorian cottages ‘cute’, when you’re reviewing those types of properties as a long-term investment proposition you have to consider ongoing maintenance.)
As at 21 June 2021, the median price for a three-bedroom house was $595,000. Compare that to a similar home in Sunshine ($824,000), Altona ($966,000) or Mornington ($932,000) and you can understand the attraction of Ballarat.
Median rent for a three-bedroom home in Ballarat is $350 p.w. compared with, say, $500 p.w. in Mornington.
Investors can take comfort in the five-year capital growth of 35.89%.
Ballarat North has performed particularly well over the past 12 months, posting an 8% gain. As a suburb, it is noted by property pundits as one of the least-risky suburbs in which to invest.
A port city, Geelong was established officially in 1838. Although it enjoyed a brief boom in the 1850s due to the gold rush, many residents left the town to find their fortunes in and around the goldfields of Ballarat and Bendigo. However, the town had established itself as a key port servicing the wool industry from Victoria’s Western Districts. From World War Two, Geelong enjoyed rapid growth and today is Victoria’s most populous city outside Melbourne.
As the gateway to popular destinations such as the Great Ocean Road, the Bellarine Peninsula and the Surf Coast (world-famous Bells Beach is just 30 minutes away), Geelong has increased in popularity. Access to high-quality work in key industries such as science, technology and health, as well as Deakin University, attracts workers and their families to Geelong.
Property market Geelong
Housing stock is similar to that of Ballarat, although it boasts some more imposing Victorian architecture. Geelong developers are taking full advantage of the waterfront, where properties sell for over $1 million. In April this year, a three-bedroom waterfront apartment in Brougham St fetched $1.5 million.
Heading up towards Melbourne prices, the median price for a three-bedroom home is $840,000 with rent sitting at $450 p.w. These higher prices reflect the seaside location, proximity to Melbourne, and the tourist attractions nearby.
Property investors would have achieved capital gains of 20.82% over the past 12 months.
Are Ballarat and Geelong good markets for buyers’ agents?
I’d give this a resounding YES.
Both markets are tight, with only 32 homes on offer in Ballarat and just 44 homes in Geelong as at 18 July.
As an indication of the demand, a dilapidated property at 39 Fenwick St, Geelong, a few streets back from the city centre, sold recently for $950,000. Sited on a large block, the property will most likely be redeveloped.
Buyers are desperate to get help to find their ideal property, whether it’s for their home or they’re seeking to invest. More than ever, buyers’ agents can truly shine.
Since 2012 I’ve operated successfully in these markets and have contacts and franchisees who help me source properties that will suit my clients’ property goals. Join me at Property Mavens to take advantage of my trusted brand and a business model that helps you achieve more.