30 May Take me home country road
Something is happening in our regional towns and outer suburbs. Perhaps it’s the inability to be able to afford a comfortable home for their family, or the tedious two hour drive each way to work in traffic that is becoming increasingly worse but many people are saying they have had enough of the big smoke and looking for alternatives.
Everyone wants a safe place to call home. Where the kids can play happily in the yard, where the commute to work is not arduous and where there is a real sense of community. Anyone who has ever lived or grown up in a country town knows that these are the foundations regional communities are built on.
And now they are being rediscovered and a whole new vibe and culture is emerging that combines, in many instances, the old world charm of the town, with the edgy new vibe being created in café and restaurant fitouts that the newbies can relate to.
For an area to attract new talent they need to be able to find work so they can earn a living but for people to stay and become a part of the community they have to be able to connect with their new town and they do this by experiencing the cafes and restaurants and immersing themselves in the culture.
It is an absolute delight to the senses to walkdown the main street of these towns and see funky fitouts are breathing new life into wine bars, café and places you can graze all day if you wish. Interspersed with the new café culture are retails stores that have transformed themselves to offer a mix of upmarket and eclectic clothing lines and unique homewares.
And its happening everywhere. Regional towns like Orange in New South Wales and Ballarat in Victoria are seeing a huge demand for property.
According to Realestate.com, “Ballarat was the regional town that saw the biggest jump in demand over the past 12 months, with year-on-year demand up by 62.1%”. Orange was hot on its heals with demand for housing on realestate.com.au “up almost 40% in the last year alone”.
The median house price for Ballarat is around half that of Melbourne being around $329,000. And with the commute by train being only an hour you can understand why Ballarat has become attractive to so many.
Yet Ballarat is undergoing its own reinvention with both government and big corporations taking advantage of the commercial real estate availability and pricing and either decentralising some of operations there or relocating their whole business. This in turn is creating a whole new jobs market and is yet another reason for people to look to call Ballarat home.
According to forecast.id the population of Ballarat is 107,647 in 2018 and is expected to grow to 144,108 in 2036 which will make it one of the country’s fastest growing regional centres.
And with people more determined than ever to have a work life balance and live in a place where they can have a home and raise a family safely it seems the appeal from regional towns is far from over.