As first homebuyers are increasingly priced out of Melbourne’s property market, eyes turn towards regional towns as the solution to their home ownership dreams. Dubbed the “capital of Western Victoria”, Ballarat is 110 kilometres west of Melbourne, a trip that takes just over an hour by train to Southern Cross station.
The city is home to just over 100,000 people, and with a tonne of infrastructure projects in the works set to boost the local economy, 2018 could be Goldrush 2.0 for Ballarat!
Here, the median house price is just $410,000, representing annual capital growth of 6.34%, reports CoreLogic; the median apartment price is $235,500, up 9.19% on last year. Translation: you can stretch your dollar twice as far as you would in Melbourne’s inner city – with change to spare!
Let’s take a look at the exciting things that are happening in this regional hotspot, and why you just might consider making a tree change and relocating there…
CBD and train station redevelopment
In 2017, a $25 million redevelopment of the Ballarat train station commenced, as part of plans to transform Ballarat into a thriving cultural and commercial hub. There will be an integrated Hotel and Convention and Exhibition Centre, flexible retail and dining spaces, and a mixture of commercial activities sure to inject new energy into the CBD.
With more than 140 local jobs created, not to mention the investment and business opportunities, this project will raise the profile of Ballarat and increase tourism, as well as enhancing the lives of local residents.
BWEZ industrial hub
The Ballarat West Employment Zone (BWEZ) is an exciting development, expected to create up to 9000 jobs, and inject more than $5 billion into the local economy.
This staged development is taking place over 438 hectares, adjacent to Ballarat Airport, and will become a super-sized industrial estate housing manufacturing, agribusiness, construction, freight and logistics. Sustainability is a key focus of the plan, which will include a Bio Economy Innovation Research and Development Facility, securing Ballarat’s position as a leader in industry transition and innovation.
There will also be a Waste to Energy Plant, reducing energy costs for businesses and offering an environmentally sustainable solution to waste in the region.
Improved transport links
Transport infrastructure is on the agenda, with the Ballarat Link Road the standout project. This 16 kilometre stretch of road is a key transport priority for Ballarat Council, and will be delivered in stages over the next few decades. Upon completion, it will link the Western Freeway to the Midland Highway, becoming a major north-south arterial.
The road is set to strengthen the economic base of the area, facilitate job creation and improve access and connectivity for residents. There are also strong sustainability elements of the project, including the planting of 4500 trees, and a wildlife and drainage crossing planned for the Mullawallah Wetlands. The section of the Ballarat Link Road, which will connect BWEZ to the Western Freeway, is expected to be completed later this year, further boosting this growth corridor
Family-friendly projects in the works
There’s also plenty happening in Ballarat to support families. Five kindergartens in the town are currently being significantly upgraded, thanks to more than $4 million in investment from the Victorian Government Children’s Capital Program. The new and improved early learning centres will also house Maternal and Child Health consulting rooms, and multipurpose community spaces suitable for playgroups and other community gatherings.
The Sebastopol Library is set to receive a considerable boost to the tune of $1.25 million, turning it into a community hub that will include dedicated spaces for children and young adults, updated technology facilities, and increased floor space. The library is due to open its doors in mid-2018, with additional improvements over the next three years set to add a Maternal and Child Health Centre, public meeting space and outdoor recreation area.
Kicking goals for sporting fans
Sports lovers aren’t left out either, with major works recently completed, and many more underway, to improve existing facilities across the town. A $250,000 project funded by the City of Ballarat has reconstruction of the Western Oval Netball Court, while amateur footballers are sure to enjoy playing on the new turf at City Oval, which will also receive sub-surface drainage, automatic irrigation and a major lighting upgrade, enabling local BFL matches to be played in the evening.
The Eastern Oval cricket facility is also receiving a $2 million upgrade, transforming it into a Cricket Australia Class II venue with new turf cricket nets, changing room upgrades and lighting works.
It’s certainly an exciting time to be in Ballarat – so why not check out some of the properties up for sale in this awesome town?