The local housing market has not caught up to changing household preferences, according to census data, which shows a sharp decline in the number flats and apartments in the locality, and an above average rise in four-or-more bedroom properties.
There was a 74.4 per cent drop in flat or apartments across Bendigo from 2011-2016, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show, which contrasts with Victorian (-1.8 per cent) and Australian (+3.0 per cent) rates.
There was also a 23.6 per cent increase in four-or-more bedroom properties during the same period.
The growth in semi-detached, terrace or townhouse properties ballooned 120.9 per cent in Bendigo over the same period, but the area was starting “from a very low base”, according to City of Greater Bendigo manager strategy Trevor Budge.
“We’ve got around 90 per cent of current properties being built for the classic Mum and Dad with two or three kids - that's not where the household growth is,” he said.
A number of greenfield sites have been developed in the area over the past five years, but the City, through its residential strategy 2014 resolved to “strongly support” the provision of medium-density housing, given more than 50 per cent of households in Bendigo were one or two-person occupied.
It has identified around 30 parcels of disused Crown land as potential housing solutions of the future.
Old school sites – like Golden Square Primary School and Golden Square Secondary College – along with the former La Trobe University block in Flora Hill, were being considered.
The City of Greater Bendigo would not necessarily purchase the land off the government, rather help facilitate the sale to developers.
Since 2011, 5451 private dwellings have been added to the Bendigo region, which also saw a marked increase in unoccupied dwellings (28.6 per cent) over the five-year period.
Bendigo has also had a disproportionate increase in single-person households – up 12.3 per cent –compared with Victoria (9.4 per cent) Australia (7.1 per cent).