Terry Ryder is the founder of hotspotting.com.au.

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Terry Ryder

19 November 2012

Why Albury-Wodonga present good opportunities for property investors: Terry Ryder

Why Albury-Wodonga present good opportunities for property investors: Terry Ryder

Many of the best places to buy fly under the radar scan and are seldom considered by property investors.

They’re usually found in regional Australia, and they don’t attract national limelight because there’s nothing happening that would make a capital city news bulletin and the front page of a metropolitan newspaper.

They just quietly get on with business, expanding steadily and producing that special thing that has eluded most capital cities recently – consistent steady capital growth.

We’d hear about them if someone announced a $1 billion power station or a $2 billion mining venture. Otherwise not.

But I’d rather invest in a centre that has 20 projects worth between $10 million and $100 million each than in a place where there’s one $1 billion project and not much else.

The latter is likely to bask briefly in a short-term spurt of high growth before subsiding – or the one-off project, after a couple of years of announcements and ceremonies, may be scrapped because commodity prices have dropped or someone got nervous about what’s happening in China.

The former is a place more likely to be kind to property investors in the long term. A location with lots of small to medium-sized ventures happening is a centre of growth that’s steady, sensible and sustainable.

One such place is the twin cities of Albury-Wodonga, separated by the Murray River and the NSW-Victoria border, but operating very much as a single regional centre of significant proportions. There are no mega projects happening there. No big mining ventures. No billion-dollar infrastructure developments.

There are, however, several dozen ventures of smaller stature, which, when taken together, depict a regional centre that’s on the rise.

The twin border cities are growing steadily and now comprise an urban mass of around 85,000, which produces a gross regional product worth above $5 billion a year.

It has good rail, road and air connections and is a growing centre of agriculture, manufacturing, construction, education and medical services.

A number of businesses which have a national presence are based here, including a major hub for the Australian Taxation Office.

Most of the suburbs that makes up the cities of Albury and Wodonga have median house prices in the $200,000s and median unit prices below $200,000, so affordability is an attraction for investors.

There’s land available for expansion and the twin cities approved 428 new dwellings in the 2011 financial year and 549 dwellings in 2012 financial year.

The many medium-sized enterprises that make this centre worth considering include a $50 million office building for the ATO, $26 million in infrastructure works to kickstart the Junction Place urban renewal project, a $10 million commercial building as HQ for North East Water, the $80 million Mann’s Central Shopping Centre development, a $25 million Quest apartments hotel and a $20 million Pacific Accor Hotel, a $12 million arts centre, an $11 million aquatic centre, a $10 million super clinic, a $65 million cancer centre and a $50 million retirement village.

All that, and plenty more, speaks of a regional centre that’s going places but doing it steadily. Such places usually serve property investors well.

Terry Ryder is the founder of hotspotting.com.au and can be followed on Twitter.

Terry Ryder will present a free webinar on Thursday, December 6 on where to invest in property in 2013, regions or capital cities. You can sign up for the webinar here.

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