This month, the minds of planning and property are descending on Geelong to discuss the future of Geelong and what it looks like from different perspectives.

The Property Council of Australia (PCA) held their summit on Friday last week with the topic “Unlock the future of Geelong”, the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) will hold theirs on November 16 with the topic “Challenges and opportunities facing Victoria’s second-biggest city”, and the API (Australian Property Institute) will hold their Victorian regional conference in Geelong on November 15.

If you are into property, you should consider buying a ticket to any or all of these events. Industry minds are collectively considering Geelong right now, and some of the information and speculation coming from the speakers and within the room are quite exciting.

Additionally, the Committee for Geelong have launched their “Future Geelong Map”, which is a mapping overlay program that allows you to see all the different plans and projects going on in Geelong in one place, under the themes of “live, move, play, work”. It’s a great initiative that will assist developers and investors to know what is happening and where. It’s quite a thing to see all these national bodies recognising that Geelong is on the cusp of something amazing; “It’s there in the DNA’’.

Think of Detroit was what Stephen Hoyne told the audience at the PCA event last week – a similar, sister city in some respects, with previous reliance on the car industry, Detroit similarly has gone through an epic revolutionary change, with focus on small business.

I for one, loved every great idea that came up, but I note many would be difficult under our current planning regulations, especially the Central Geelong Framework Plan, with limitations on height. There is a now a great emphasis on Geelong and we need to capture the moment.

Imagine a central Geelong with a population of 48,000 people, Mr Hoyne said, although he was referring to growth of 48,000 people. In my view, just getting 48,000 people living in central Geelong as a total number would be quite impressive.

I encourage all readers to look at the collective websites of the API, PCA and UDIA, along with events run by the Geelong Chamber of Commerce and Committee for Geelong. Book a ticket and come along to some of these events, we are actually pretty lucky to have so many in one place and all about us, and this is a first!

Back to property, and I refer to some recent statistics coming out of the banks. In September, “First Home Owners” jumped by 1.4 per cent in taking out mortgages. This statistic bodes well for the housing market, which has been starved from First Home Owners over recent months. Obviously, the steadying of the cash rate, has allowed the nervous first homeowners some confidence in jumping in for the first time, and this will assist in increasing demand as the late spring selling period continues to gather strength.

Unfortunately, the housing estates offering new land, have been very slow, with statistics from Oliver Hume indicating land sales volumes are at a 10-year low. Interestingly enough, block prices in the estates remain steady with an average block price of $409,900 in quarter 3, 2023. The same block in Queensland costs $342,250, and only $255,500 in Adelaide or $393,000 in Melbourne’s Western areas of Tarneit, Wyndham etc.

As predicted there are some great properties that have hit the market in the past fortnight. Many of the big movers are the rural/lifestyle type properties on the Geelong fringe, such as 110 & 120 Three Springs Road, Ceres; currently being sold by Elders, this is an amazing property on 21 hectares with a beautiful family home, gardens and even an indoor 25m lap pool! I am excited to see what heights this property can achieve but suggestions of 7 zeros wouldn’t surprise many.

It’s a great time to buy, with agents still noting demand to be holding on – certainly not pushing values, with many vendors matching the market, rather than buyers pushing the market. A change in the cash rate is on the cards, but I don’t think that will sway the market conditions too much, and predictions of a strong 2024 are looking more and more likely.

This article written by Gareth Kent appeared in the Geelong Times on 9th November, 2023.