Mount Gambier: SA’s migration magnet poised for growth

Hugging the border between South Australia and Victoria, the region has been one of the most highly sought-after destinations for internal migration in the last few years, and now investors are beginning to ride the Mount Gambier wave.

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The South Australian region’s population could grow even more over the coming years, given the region was recently spotlighted by Smart Property Investment’s Fast 50 ranking for 2024, which launched last month, as one of the nation’s most promising investment markets.

The report and ranking combined the insights of a 14-strong investment expert panel and recent housing performance drawn from open-source data, and it aims to give unparalleled insight into the Australian suburbs that are set for future growth.

Mount Gambier is one of 10 South Australian markets listed within the report, with the region billed as one of the most affordable, and highly prosperous, markets across its state. Despite recent reports indicating the average South Australian home has ticked over to $600,000 — the record median price within the state — Mount Gambier offers investors an affordable slice of the state’s property market, with home prices in the suburb approximately $375,000 at the beginning of this year.

This is despite prices across the region booming 25 per cent in the 12 months to January 2023.

South Australia’s second-largest town, nestled on the edge of a dormant volcano, lies in the heart of the state’s Limestone Coast, a region widely celebrated for its effervescent natural beauty and world-class wine.

Notorious for striking the perfect balance between vibrant city living and quaint regional town comforts, the region is also widely popular with tourists, who flock to Mount Gambier because of how it effortlessly blends the sea and tree change that has become increasingly desired since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notable for investors, the region’s employment market is underpinned by a strong forestry industry, as well as a $120 million renewable energy plant, while a $70 million expansion of the local hospital has been floated.

A sustained decrease in the region’s vacancy rates over the previous decade hit a low point during 2022, when the number of available rentals hit 0.5 per cent, though the tighter market conditions have bred stronger rents, with the median rents at around $360 and gross rental yields resting at approximately 5 per cent.

Mount Gambier was recently named by InvestorKit as one of the “five South Australian markets set to outperform in 2023”.

Further boosting the region’s standing in the eyes of investors is its tertiary education offerings, with the University of South Australia’s campus on the town’s northern rim increasing its attractiveness to students and education professionals, as well as hospital and healthcare professionals, all of which ensures the region’s already sturdy rental demand will remain moving forward.

Data from the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) from mid-last year celebrated Mount Gambier as being “perfectly positioned between Adelaide and Melbourne with wonderful amenities and work opportunities in a diverse range of industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, civil construction, and wholesale retail”.

According to the South Australian government, Mount Gambier can brace for steady population growth for years to come, with this ratified by recent data from the Regional Australia Institute highlighting one in five Australians are dreaming of a regional shift.

RAI’s chief executive officer, Liz Ritchie, stated Australia’s regional hubs are “ready to welcome city folk with open arms”.

“There’s never been a better time to move to more,” she concluded.

To find out which other regions made the Smart Property Investment Fast 50 2024 report, click here.

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