Property is a game of patience

May 24, 2024 BY

Gareth Kent, Director Preston Rowe Paterson analyses the real estate trends in our region


Property is a game of patience, and a little perspective helps.

It’s becoming quite clear what suburbs and townships within our region have declined in value since the peak in Q2 of 2022. Using CoreLogic median house price data, I have analysed the suburbs of Geelong within three segment groups: New Estates, Established Urban and Coastal Townships.

Within the New Estates, Armstrong Creek is the hardest hit, with a decline in value of -8.34 per cent. At its peak values, in the estate averaged $741,000 and they are now selling at only $680,000. This is a great buying opportunity. New entrants to land development in Victoria are finding it far more expensive to create new lots, so buying an established home at a cost base approximately $100,000 lower than it would cost to build, is something first homeowners should be flocking toward. The least impacted region in the Estates category is Curlewis, these lots with sea views are holding their value, recording an actual increase in the median house price by +0.34 per cent. In the same period the average decline across all New Estates was -5.46 per cent. Location, location, location! Lara is also worth an honourable mention, suffering a decline of only -0.71 per cent, The proximity to Melbourne continues to hold it in good stead.

Across the Urban Established suburbs, the average decline was -7.3 per cent. The biggest falls are the inner suburbs of North Geelong (-14.47 per cent), South Geelong (-16.66 per cent) and East Geelong (-10.74 per cent). No surprise to those of us in the know. These inner suburbs were popular with the COVID-19 inner Melbourne migrants whose natural habitat of Brunswick, Fitzroy and Collingwood was quite comparative. Alas not so, these suburbs all have pockets of large diversity, a fact lost in the pandemic. We wish them well as they take their teak-coloured bicycles back to Melbourne.

Established Urban areas that performed the best included Wandana Heights (+1.5 per cent), Hamlyn Heights (-1.6 per cent) and Geelong West (-2.83 per cent). Wandana Heights is a bit of an anomaly. I have never understood why it was so underrated both before the pandemic and throughout it. A suburb with views over Geelong, lovely big houses mostly of the modern 90’s era and proximity to the Ring Road. It has suffered from the development of ‘’New Highton’’ which offered similar positives but within more modern homes. New Highton, as I call it, is now mostly completed and I expect that Wandana Heights will continue to be a pocket of continued price value, it’s simply been too cheap for too long. Hamlyn Heights (-1.62 per cent), a more traditional older suburb, dominated by ’60s and ’70s style working-class homes, also has a lot to offer. Proximity to services and amenities and the Ring Road, at an average median price of $762,500 it is a great buying and still undervalued. What can I say about Geelong West (-2.83 per cent) that hasn’t already been said? Location, Location, Location and Pakington Street; it will remain an in-demand location and have much smaller peaks and troughs during its property cycle.

The worst-performing region is the Coastal Townships. With an average decline of -7.31 per cent across the two years, there were some big losers, but still gave us the biggest winner of all. Ocean Grove appears to have suffered the worst (-17.78 per cent,) however, it must be noted that Ocean Grove also had some of the biggest increases in the climb up, growing at 36 per cent from Q3 2021 to Q2 2022. Again, the big migration from Melbourne changed this town, and it went from a coastal hamlet to one of the busiest places on the coast. Likewise, Drysdale has slowed down and recorded a -16.88 per cent decline. It also had one of the region’s biggest gains of a 45.59 per cent increase between Q1 2021 and Q2 2022. The net gain is still very much in the positive territory for both townships.

What all these statistics are saying is that property is a long game. If you look at the numbers over only half the cycle, the picture can be quite dim. But when you consider the full cycle, the net gain leaves you much more optimistic. Do not expect the growth of 2021. Be patient. I think perspective is key and playing a long game is the only way you stay ahead; don’t expect to grow your portfolio values overnight!

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