A surge of tree changers in recent years to regional Victoria has boosted median house prices in many towns and areas outside of Melbourne. Places like Lake Wendouree in Ballarat, coastal towns along the Great Ocean Road and Mount Macedon have seen considerable growth, with regional property prices in Victoria as a whole seeing approximately 8% growth over 2019.
This is why there is all the more reason to seek out those regional pockets that are set for growth in the longterm as infrastructure spending works to match the increasing number of people looking to escape what will soon be Australia’s largest city, Melbourne.
Melbourne is estimated to become more populous than Sydney somewhere in the middle of this decade, with a city the size of Ballarat of people moving to the Victorian capital each year. As the fourth-fastest growing developed city in the world, by 2050 it is estimated that Melbourne will be as populous as cities like New York or London are now.
This has sparked concern for residents in the capital. Melbourne’s liveability has become a central political football for the State government. This is why some are opting for a quieter lifestyle that offers improving connections to the capital.
Shepparton is one such budding regional centre that has a string of infrastructure developments planned and in development to attract people from the big smoke. But what might attract them most is the affordability of large family homes.
With a population of approximately 130,000 for Greater Shepparton, 30,000 or so of this live within the central area of Shepparton. Median house prices sit at approximately $282,000 for the area at large, up from a median sale price of $260,000 this time last year. But there are some more sought after areas that attract higher prices. Kialla in the heart of Shepparton is known as one of the most popular places to settle down, and has a median sale price of $445,000.
A boost in infrastructure spending
While regional giants like Ballarat and Geelong have as far attracted the bulk of growth in property prices and populations, smaller cities like Shepparton are sitting poised to catch up with increasing infrastructure planning to both improve liveability at home as well as access to the state’s capital.
At home, the Maude Street Mall redevelopment plan is currently waiting for a detailed design to be completed by mid-2020, with $16.4 million estimated to be spent on improving “the function and visual amenity of the Mall in maintaining its primacy as the heart of the Shepparton CBD” according to the Greater Shepparton Council.
Access to Melbourne is set to improve with upgrades to the Shepparton Railway Station as well as upgrades to the passenger rail system, with $356 million in rail upgrades underway to better connect the regional city with its neighbours.
The Urban Forest Strategy is one adopted by the council to revitalise the tree canopy in and around Shepparton’s suburban streets with the aim, amongst others, to “increase urban forest canopy cover in each town to 40% and “reduce the number of vacant street tree sites to zero” by 2037.
But it is the New Shepparton Art Museum that has attracted a lot of attention, perhaps because of the power of cultural sites like these in other destinations (think Hobart’s MONA) to make dramatic changes to a city.
Expected for completion by mid-2020, over $40 million has been allocated for the construction that was designed by international architecture firm Denton Corker Marshall. The 5,300m2 building will house contemporary art and hopes to act as a cultural and community hub in the growing regional city.
With more than 1.2 million annual visitors to the regional area each year already, the contemporary art museum promises to places Shepparton as a major regional drawcard for international and domestic tourism.
There are also hopes and expectations that other major plans like the Goulburn Valley Health, Shepparton Education Plan and the Shepparton Bypass will receive an injection of cash following the state budget set out in May this year.
Following years of arguable underfunding to this regional gem, it is clear that Shepparton sits at the cusp of larger growth, but not at the sacrifice to those who are seeking a much quieter, traffic-free and more affordable place to live.