Bendigo and the nearby towns that pepper Victoria’s goldfields are proving to be a real lure for not only those who already live in the vicinity, but also people from Melbourne and interstate.
Di Selwood, the Castlemaine and Harcourt sales consultant for Bendigo Property Plus, is witnessing firsthand the growing number of Melburnians moving to these outlying towns, often in search of a period property.
“A lot of them are not necessarily retirees, but starting to look down that path,” she says. “They’ll be looking to purchase a weekender with access to transport or the highway, and keep their Melbourne property.”
Selwood says her hometown of Harcourt is becoming more popular with young families who have pre-school or school age children.
“It’s not as pricey as Castlemaine and we have a very good pre and primary school,” she says, adding that the 15-20 minute commute to Kangaroo Flat means plenty of amenities are close by.
Artists and those seeking a sustainable lifestyle continue to seek out the region, while Selwood says the Castlemaine State Festival attracts people from interstate and Melbourne who subsequently move there or purchase a weekender.
“I recently sold a house in Newstead to a woman from Caboolture (in Queensland)” says Selwood. “They often have family or a connection to Melbourne, but don’t want to live there. They’re looking for somewhere an hour away, hour and a half max.”
On the flip side, people from towns such as Maldon, Newstead, Muckleford and Harcourt are making the move to Bendigo. Selwood says it’s often an older demographic looking to downsize. “They’re coming off acreage and looking for something that’s newer, smaller, low maintenance and also closer to facilities such as the hospital, medical services. and public transport. “That’s one thing the smaller rural towns lack,” she notes. “You’ve got access from Castlemaine to Bendigo or Melbourne, but to get from Harcourt or Newstead into Castlemaine to shop or catch the train, the services are pretty grim.”
Younger people and first home buyers are also making a beeline for Bendigo, as it’s more affordable than the likes of Castlemaine.
“If you’re looking to purchase a reasonably new build on a 500-600 square metre block in Castlemaine, where there are little estates popping up everywhere, on average the property is probably about $50,000 dearer than same sort of property in Bendigo,” says Selwood, adding that Kangaroo Flat is a smart option.
“It’s really close if you’ve still got family in Castlemaine and you can buy something reasonably priced.”