Even within these two regional centres, price growth has varied markedly.
Bendigo and Geelong star performers in otherwise mixed bag for Victorian house prices: REIV
Investors who bought wisely close to the Bendigo and Geelong CBDs could have made steady returns over the past year, according to June quarter figures compiled by the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV).
The two regional centres have gone against the trend of an overall decline in both the regional Victorian housing market and the Melbourne metro market over the last 12 months to the end of June.
However, even within these two regional centres, price growth has varied markedly, with some parts of greater Bendigo and Geelong recording steep falls, highlighting the acute sensitivities of the market and the difficulty in picking an investment hotspot.
The REIV calculates that regional house prices are down 1.6% for the quarter and 4.7% for the year to a median of $305,000, while regional units fell 4.5% over the quarter and a more modest 1.1% over the year to a $247,250.
This compares with inner-Melbourne houses, which are down 5.2% for the year (with a small rebound in the June quarter), and units, down 3.9% for the year with little change over the June quarter.
According to the REIV, median property prices in greater Bendigo increased by 2.6% in the June quarter and are up 10.5% for the year to a median of $315,000.
The strongest gains were made in the City of Bendigo itself, with a 17.3% rise over the past year to a median of $325,000. The REIV calculates a 5% correction over the June quarter, but this may be statistically unreliable due to their being fewer than 30 sales over the quarter.
However, the REIV figures point to great variance across greater Bendigo, with the suburb of White Hills, just five kilometres north of the CBD and the focus of a number of new home projects, recording a 24% decline in median prices over the year from $300,000 to $227,000.
Greater Geelong prices were unchanged over the June quarter but are up 7.2% over the year to a median of $386,000.
The strongest-performing suburb was Belmont, just to the south of the Geelong CBD, with property prices up almost 16% over the year to June with a median of $334,000. However, prices in Barwon Heads on the Great Ocean Road are down more than 8% for the year to $636,000 and nearby Ocean Grove, they are down more than 10% to a median of $427,000.
Among the other major regional centres, Ballarat prices fell 3.5% over the quarter to a median of $280,000 and virtually unchanged over the past year. However, within the greater Ballarat market, the town of Buninyong, 10 kilometres south of the CBD, prices are up 25% over the year to a median of $402,500.
Among the smaller regional centres, East Gippsland prices are up 10.4% for the year to $255,000 while Warrnambool prices are up 8% to $340,000.
Property prices in Wodonga on the NSW/Victoria border are up 11.7% for the year to a median of $310,000.