Then first-time home buyers who missed out on the land borrowed at low interest rates and bought established homes for around $650,000, allowing those sellers to move up to the $850,000 family home bracket. $, and these sellers in turn buy an even more spacious house.
Combined with demand from tree changers profiting from the sale of their higher priced Melbourne homes and investor interest, the market has exploded.
Local buyers had “a bit of a bargy argy” with out-of-region buyers, he added.
“There’s an element of people moving out of Melbourne and back to their base, or wanting to change their way of life.”
The growth is being welcomed by Bendigo Mayor Andrea Metcalf, who is happy to see skilled workers coming to the area, while trying to plan for a population that could nearly double over the next three decades.
But tree-changing Melburnians have a different idea of what affordable property is than locals, she said.
“That makes it a little less affordable than for people who live here and have ‘we’re going to buy a house’ or ‘we’re going to build a house’ in their minds,” she said. “He’s being pushed a bit further out of their reach, so it might take them a bit longer to get to that point.”
She welcomed funds set aside by the state government to improve social housing in Bendigo, but said there was a wider need for more supply at lower prices.
There are opportunities for local developers to include affordable housing in their plans, she said, or for owners of family homes to subdivide their blocks and build a villa with a garden that could be suitable for retirees in reduction.
Longer term, it is looking for opportunities to clean up former mining sites and turn them into residential land, in partnership with the state government.
For now, given the limited number of homes for sale, listings are selling out quickly.
McKean McGregor manager Glenn Rea said that before the pandemic properties could routinely take 120 days to sell, especially at the higher end of the Bendigo market.
“You put this property, now in the mix you have 30 or 40 inspections [and] eight to 10 offers,” he said.
Inspections had dropped off a bit during the Christmas holidays, he added.
“You think of someone who grew up and lived in Bendigo and saw this big increase, it just seems too expensive,” he said. “To the tree changer and someone who comes from the subway [areas], it still seems like an exceptional value.”
First National Real Estate Tweed Sutherland director Craig Tweed said values had risen “significantly” over the past year and there was a lack of listings for sale.
Now buyers looking for a modern home on a 600 square meter block can expect to pay around $700,000 to $750,000, he said, although entry-level homes start at $450,000.
“We are always affordable [compared to Melbourne],” he noted. “We are an affordable market and have been for a long time.”