Investors can still ride the tree change wave in Churchill

As Aussies continue to aspire to live out their tree change dreams in the post-pandemic world, one regional Victorian suburb stands out as an enticing destination for home buyers and investors alike.

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With rents in the capitals continuing to rise and house prices remaining elevated, the growth of the regions seen during the pandemic is still happening.

Over the 2021-22 financial year, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed regional Australia grew at the same rate as the Australian capitals combined, with both populations increasing by 1.2 per cent over the 2021-22 financial year.

But it’s not just being priced out that’s causing Aussies to move out of the big smoke. A recent report from payroll and HR services company ADP showed 45 per cent of Australian workers either want to relocate within the country or are already in the process of doing so.

The figures highlighted the new Australian dream of making a “tree change” or “sea change”, which reached new heights during the pandemic.

However, there is a catch: the number of regional areas that still offer good opportunities has become increasingly limited.

As the demand for these lifestyle changes continues to surge, certain regions have experienced a strain on housing supply and rising property prices.

In December 2022, CoreLogic data showed combined regional housing prices soared by an average 41.6 per cent after COVID-19 hit (compared to March 2020).

Despite this, not all hope is lost for investors and buyers looking for a tree change location that still has a low entry point.

Churchill, a suburb within the Latrobe Valley in Victoria’s Gippsland region, was recently identified as a top contender among numerous other suburbs in the state, securing a coveted spot in the Smart Property Investment FAST 50 ranking for the upcoming year.

Drawing insights from a 14-strong investment expert panel and recent housing performance collected from open-source data, the FAST 50 report offers an unparalleled glimpse into Australian suburbs poised for future growth, providing valuable insights into their housing performance.

Stockdale & Leggo co-director and chief executive, Charlotte Pascoe, described Churchill as a suburb with strong prospects due to its ideal location.

“Nearby infrastructure is great. General area offers excellent education, medical and sporting facilities. Lifestyle change potential,” she said.

Notably, the suburb is near the Latrobe Regional Hospital, providing a host of employment opportunities. Known as a commuter suburb for people working in the surrounding district, it is also home to the Gippsland Campus of the Federation University as well as Lake Hyland, a popular destination for anglers, birdwatchers, and walkers.

Over the past few years, Churchill’s property market has experienced steady growth, making it a promising investment opportunity for those seeking out regional lifestyles.

The property market in Churchill has experienced steady growth, with a median quarterly growth rate of 0.70 per cent. Over the course of a year, the suburb has seen an impressive 12-month growth rate of 20.70 per cent, indicating a healthy and thriving market.

Moreover, the average annual growth rate stands at 8.10 per cent, reflecting the suburb’s long-term potential for capital appreciation.

For investors, the gross rental yield in Churchill is a promising 5 per cent, indicating that properties in the area have the potential to generate a solid return on investment through rental income.

With a median rent of $350, the rental market in Churchill offers favourable opportunities for landlords seeking stable and consistent rental returns.

Most importantly, home buyers and investors can find value in Churchill. The median price for properties in the suburb is $365,000, which is relatively affordable compared to some other areas in Victoria. This makes it an appealing choice for those looking to enter the property market or upgrade their current home without breaking the bank.

To find out which other Victorian suburbs made the Smart Property Investment FAST 50 2024 report, click here.

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