Fast 50’s Victor Harbor crowned #1 tourist town

The South Australian coastal town is firmly on the radar of investors and tourists alike, having received two huge accolades just weeks apart.

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Just two weeks ago, Victor Harbor was named one of Australia’s best future property investment prospects in Smart Property Investment’s Fast 50 2024.

The highly coveted report combined the insights of a 14-strong investment expert panel and open-source data about local housing performance to highlight 50 Australian suburbs that are primed for future growth.

Fresh off the back of that news, Victor Harbor was named South Australia’s “Top Tourism Town” at the recent Tourism Industry Council of SA (TiCSA) Top Tourism Awards.

At this event, it was also named as the “People’s Choice” winner.

The City of Victor Harbor council noted that the awards recognise towns offering amazing experiences, which are also committed “to encouraging and developing tourism in their region”.

Back in 2020, visitor numbers were already sitting at 1.2 million visits per year, with numbers swelling since then — thanks, in part, to border closures and a renewed interest in domestic travel thanks to COVID-19.

The council said that the receipt of the Top Tourism Town award is a “reward for a significant amount of work that has occurred as a collaboration between council and our local chamber of commerce, Business Victor Harbor”.

Between both groups, they had earmarked Victor Harbor as holding the position of the “vibrant, creative heart of the Fleurieu Peninsula”.

According to the council, Victor Harbor’s renewed interest with tourists “is a result of a significant level of investment in Victor Harbor, not only by council but by all levels of government”.

“We have a brand-new causeway, revitalised Mainstreet and Railway precincts, as well as our new Visitor Centre. We have also developed a great program of vibrant events, and a flourishing arts and culture sector,” the council shared.

Those projects have spurred interest in the area, and residents and investors alike are taking note.

Located under an hour and a half from Adelaide’s central business district (84 kilometres), Victor Harbor’s proximity to the South Australian capital makes it an ideal spot for commuters — and those who wish to escape the city during weekends.

The large number of residents flocking to the area, thanks to its revered lifestyle status and proximity to a capital city, has caused its own issues. Just last year, the suburb was highlighted as one of the Australian suburbs most severely impacted by the Australia-wide rental crisis.

RentRabbit had revealed Victor Harbor as one of the top 20 rental markets across the country in “desperate” need of more rental stock, with the suburb having reported a rental vacancy rate of under 1 per cent.

Suburbtrends had also come to the same conclusion, stating that Victor Harbor was one of the suburbs “hardest hit by a shortage of rental properties” — having held onto a rental vacancy rate of below 1 per cent for more than 12 months.

With supply so tight, it’s not a surprise that median rents rose by $40 per week in the 12 months to January 2023.

Victor Harbor is one of 10 South Australian suburbs contained within the Fast 50 2024 report — and is just a 36-minute drive from the up-and-coming suburb of Aldinga Beach, which was also named within the report.

Looking ahead, the area is set to continue benefiting from a number of key factors: lifestyle, location, and relative affordability.

The City of Victor Harbor has created a Community Plan 2030, which “will be the guiding document for the city”, according to mayor Moira Jenkins.

When the document was first developed back in August 2020, the mayor professed: “There is no doubt that Victor Harbor’s future is bright and brimming with opportunity.

“Set in a stunning natural environment, our city offers an enviable lifestyle with access to services and facilities, great schools, and a passionate and driven community who want to see Victor Harbor be the best it can be.”

She also noted that while Victor Harbor is set to see growth, there will also be efforts made to “protect the highly valued environment, town character and unique identity of our coastal mecca”.

“Woven deeply through the aspirations is the importance of developing an economy that provides the opportunity for businesses and the broader community to prosper. Investment in infrastructure, an environment that encourages innovation and promotes creativity, as well as sound planning processes, will help us achieve this,” she stated.

In fact, in a recent Victor Harbor business sentiment survey, respondents were asked what factors they felt made Victor Harbor “an attractive place to operate a business”.

In response, nearly seven in 10 survey respondents said lifestyle and amenity, while more than six in 10 indicated that proximity to Adelaide made it an attractive proposition.

More broadly, 69 per cent of respondents indicated they are optimistic to very optimistic about business future in the area, while a further 22 per cent remained neutral.

To see which other South Australian suburbs made the list, click here.

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