Australian property market's 10 most affordable places to buy a home in the regions
Australian housing market’s 10 most affordable places to buy a home in the regions is spread across the nation. Left to right: Mandurah, Mount Gambier, Tamworth. Image: Canva.
  • Several locations are within striking distance of capital cities.
  • There is a considerable exodus from Sydney and Melbourne.
  • Western Australia and Queensland are among the beneficiaries.

Australia’s property market has seen large numbers of people looking to move beyond the big smoke of Melbourne and Sydney, with choices ranging from smaller capitals such as Perth, Adelaide, and Brisbane, and regional locations.

Despite high levels of population growth, Hotspotting director, Terry Ryder, noted that many were opting for a tree change instead of a sea change, with affordability and lifestyle reasons among the main drivers.

Western Australia and Queensland continue to be national leaders in price growth, while the two biggest states on population – NSW and Victoria – continue to lose population through internal migration,” said Ryder.

“The biggest part of that trend is people leaving our two biggest cities and moving to smaller cities or to regional areas. That’s been happening in significant numbers for the past decade and was not caused by the COVID19 lockdowns, as some media reports have suggested.”

While many who choose to call Australia home look to Melbourne and Sydney, Hotspotting general manager, Tim Graham, said that growth rates for those cities were being pulled back by the droves looking to leave Melbourne and Sydney for other locations around the country.

“Queensland and WA are the biggest recipients of this internal migration and it’s why these two states have such consistently strong population growth rates,” said Graham.

“And the latest population figures from the ABS show that the trend is continuing.

“Australians are on the move in search of a different lifestyle at an affordable price, enabled in large part by technology which has allowed more and more people to work remotely.”

The regions have been a standout, with Ryder noting that population data found the biggest growth areas in Australia over the past five years have been in the regions.

“That data showed that the fastest-growing locations among the 50 biggest cities in Australia in the past five years were the Warragul-Drouin region in Victoria, the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Geelong in Victoria, Victor Harbor in South Australia, Busselton in Western Australia, Hervey Bay in Queensland, and Ballarat in Victoria – and the Gold Coast in Queensland,” he said.

“The common feature among most of these strong population growth areas is that they are regional cities within striking distance of a state capital city.

“The core message is that the Exodus to Affordable Lifestyle trend continues and is likely to do so for the foreseeable future, as more and more Australians seek to escape the big, conges ted, expensive cities and find a better lifestyle in more affordable and more relaxed locations.”

Australia’s top 10 affordable lifestyle locations

  1. Tamworth, NSW
  2. City of Greater Shepparton, Victoria
  3. Yeppoon, Queensland
  4. Gladstone, Queensland
  5. City of Greater Toowoomba, Queensland
  6. Lockyer Valley, Queensland
  7. City of Mount Gambier, South Australia
  8. Rural City of Murray Bridge, South Australia
  9. City of Geraldton, Western Australia
  10. City of Mandurah, Western Australia

Tamworth

The thriving regional hub is located in New South Wales’ Greater Northern region.

Renowned for its country music festival, Tamworth is set for substantial growth with several factors playing in the location’s favour, said Ryder.

“Its strong economy, driven by industries such as agriculture and mining, is bolstered by the development of a new intermodal freight hub and plans for a university campus,” he said.

“The city’s tourism and equine industries also contribute to its success, with the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival drawing visitors and its status as the national equine capital attracting investment.”

Tamworth’s property market was considered by Ryder as robust, with low vacancy rates and high rental yields making it an investor favourite, particularly in the unit market.

Rental yields for Tamworth

“With support from federal and state politicians, the city is well-positioned to accommodate the growing trend of people moving from big cities in search of more affordable housing and a better quality of life.”

Asking prices for Tamworth

Gladstone

The regional centre is seeing a positive turnaround, said Graham, with vacancy rates falling, and rents and sales rising; house prices are also on the up.

Asking prices for Gladstone 4680

“This trend has persisted throughout the pandemic, even as many other areas of the country have seen declining property markets,” said Graham.

“The city has been recognised as a top-performing municipality and a rising market for both houses and units.

“Gladstone’s growing popularity is also reflected in its ranking as one of the most desirable destinations for people moving within Australia, which is due to an array of factors, including various projects diversifying the economy and creating job opportunities.”

Rental yields for Gladstone 4680

Graham said the city is emerging as a major clean energy hub, with numerous hydrogen projects and a multi-billion-dollar federal program backing its development.

“Additionally, Gladstone has a strong presence in heavy industry, manufacturing, and construction, providing further economic stability,” he said.

“With its regional airport and abundant local amenities, Gladstone is well-positioned for continued growth.

“Its robust economic and infrastructure development is expected to lead to further expansion and potential growth in the property market.”

Mount Gambier

Affordability, lifestyle opportunity, and employment growth were among the three factors playing in the favour of the South Australian location, said Ryder.

“The region’s key industry is forestry, with plans for expansion and the establishment of a forestry research centre,” he said.

“The town has also seen an influx of interstate and intrastate residents, attracted by the affordable housing and more relaxed lifestyle.”

Ryder said this growth has put pressure on the town’s infrastructure, especially in terms of public transport, road infrastructure, and medical facilities.

“To address these concerns, there are plans for a $70 million hospital expansion and a $190 million upgrade of the Princes Highway corridor,” he said.

“With a median house price of $376,000 and rental yields above 5%, Mount Gambier is a promising location for property investors.

Asking prices for Mount Gambier 5290

“Rental availability is also tight, with vacancies remaining below 1% in the town since 2020.”

Rental vacancies for Mount Gambier 5290

Overall, Mount Gambier offers a great combination of affordability, cash flow, and potential for growth, making it an attractive option for investors, Ryder said.

Rental yields for Mount Gambier 5290

Mandurah

While located some 70 kilometres from Perth, it is generally accepted as part of the Western Australian capital. Indeed, when Covid restrictions hit, Perth and Peel regions were typically considered together.

Graham said the property market in Regional Western Australia is experiencing significant growth, with high sales volume and double-digit price increases.

According to Suburbtrends analysis, Mandurah was among the top 20 suburbs for falling vacancy rates in Western Australia, and has also previously appeared several top regional locations to buy a home lists.

“While the rest of Perth has experienced economic disruption and downturn, the property market in Mandurah has remained resilient and continues to grow,” said Graham.

“Several factors are contributing to the success of Mandurah’s property market, including continued price growth, increased demand from first-time home buyers, and population growth driven by the area’s attractive seaside lifestyle, affordable land, and access to job opportunities.”

Asking prices for Mandurah 6210

Graham said the Peel Region’s Transform Peel program is also expected to generate thousands of new jobs and inject billions into the economy, further boosting the property market.

“Experts have identified Mandurah as one of Australia’s top regional property markets, thanks to its low vacancy rates and rising rental prices,” he said.

Rental vacancies for Mandurah 6210

“With strong population growth, the demand for residential properties is expected to remain high for at least 15 years.

“This positive outlook makes Mandurah an attractive location for both buyers and investors looking to capitalize on the growing market.

“Overall, the continued revival of Mandurah’s property market is a promising sign for the region’s economic future.”



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