The demand for housing in regional towns has not abated, Young Rich Lister Andrew Welsh says, after his development firm Wel.Co sold more than 60 lots in a new Bendigo housing estate in a single month.
The former Essendon football star said a large proportion of buyers in the Harlowe estate were from outside Bendigo, including many relocating from Melbourne.
“We launched in February and have achieved over $15 million in sales to date, which is huge for a regional project,” Mr Welsh told The Australian Financial Review.
“I was really positive about regional towns even before COVID-19 supercharged demand.”
His bullishness comes as other developers, including Goldfields, ResiVentures and ID_Land, pursue opportunities in regional hubs, despite early signs that the exodus of urbanites from Sydney and Melbourne fuelled by the pandemic might be starting to ease.
The Bureau of Statistics’ most recent regional migration data shows Melbourne experienced a net loss of 8273 people over the March 2021 quarter, slightly down on the 8491 people who left the city during the December 2020 quarter.
The numbers in Sydney over the same period dropped from 9317 to 8169.
At the same time some tree- and sea-changers are making the move back to the city for jobs and a more exciting lifestyle.
Increased job opportunities
While some Melbourne buyers buying in Bendigo would be able to work remotely, Mr Welsh said there were plenty of nearby employment opportunities in the regional town of about 125,000.
“We’re working with [Bendigo] landowners on another project with over 2000 lots,” he said. “We already have 600 buyers on our database and hope to launch that project this year.”
House-and-land packages in Bendigo average less than $500,000.
Mr Welsh said Wel.Co would soon launch a new housing estate in Echuca on the Murray River in northern Victoria, where there is an undersupply of housing and jobs being created through investment in tourism and the port.
East of Echuca, developer Goldfields has acquired a 44-hectare site in Shepparton for $15 million, where it is planning a 450-lot housing estate with an end value of more than $200 million.
The site lies within the Shepparton South East Precinct Structure Plan being drafted by the Victorian Planning Authority.
Goldfields national director of communities Paul Cicchiello said Shepparton was benefiting from significant population growth and investment in infrastructure, including an upgrade to the train link to Melbourne and redevelopment of the Shepparton Hospital.
“Based on our research, we see strong underlying growth in the region,” Mr Cicchiello said.
A little closer to Melbourne, Goldfields is undertaking a mixed-use residential project in Kyneton, in the Macedon Ranges, which includes a new Bunnings. It is also eyeing opportunities in Bendigo and on the Mornington Peninsula.
In Western Australia, Goldfields has acquired a 400-lot site in the Margaret River region south of Perth for $8 million.
“We’ve identified significant growth opportunities in Margaret River due to favourable economic conditions, employment expansion and significantly constrained land supply in the area,” CEO Lachlan Thompson said.
Joining Wel.Co in Echuca, developer Resi Ventures has signed a land development agreement with a local family paving the way for a 1000-lot subdivision on 107 hectares.
The developer shares the profits of a project with the local landowner under an LDA.
The $284 million development will offer lots ranging from 500 to 1000 square metres. The first batch is expected to hit the market towards the end of the year.
Resi Ventures is also undertaking a 500-lot subdivision at Warragul, about 100 kilometres south-east of Melbourne, and a 500-lot development on a former quarry site north of Ballarat in the township of Miners Rest.
This article is from Australian Financial Review, please click the following link for the original article: https://www.afr.com/property/residential/regional-housing-is-still-in-demand-says-young-rich-lister-20220303-p5a1ff