Pandemic-driven property price rises putting the squeeze on regional home buyers

Victorians dreaming of living in regional Victoria will continue to be priced out by pandemic-driven rises to property and rental prices unless the rules change to open new housing lots to the market.

New data from CoreLogic shows the median house price in regional Victoria has risen to $514,668 since June 2020 – an increase of 15.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, rental availability has plummeted in Ballarat (down 39.8 per cent in the 12 months to April 2021), Geelong (down 35.5 per cent), Hume (down 49.9 per cent) and Latrobe-Gippsland (down 49.6 per cent) during the pandemic.

But median rents have surged in the same time.

Instead of paving the way for Victorians to own their own home, the Labor Government’s dreaming up new taxes that will price them out altogether. 

From next year, a new Windfall Gains Tax that will add millions to the cost of developing rezoned land is expected to push up the price of individual lots by up to $25,000.

Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said the tax comes at a difficult time for all Victorians. 

“The perfect storm of sky-rocketing regional property prices, scarce rentals and low land availability is coming together to price first home buyers out entirely, ” Mr Walsh said. 

“Yet the Labor Government still went ahead and axed the $20,000 regional First Home Owner Grant on June 30.

“The COVID pandemic and four lockdowns have seen too many Victorians lose their job or close their business, but Labor’s only plan for Victoria is to dig deeper into the pocket of Victorian families and businesses with increased taxes and charges.”

ABS data shows population migration to regional communities is now at its highest since records began two decades ago. Melbourne lost 26,000 residents in 2020 alone – the highest net loss on record.

Mr Walsh said this movement could create more jobs and opportunity in regional communities, but the Labor Government had no plan to capture the benefits of decentralisation.

“More and more we’re seeing people choose to make the move out of the capital cities to our regional communities, but we need a plan in place to make sure all country communities benefit,” Mr Walsh said.

“The Liberal Nationals have put up a plan to fast-track 50,000 lots to market in rural and regional communities by supercharging the planning departments of our small councils and implementing reform to stop planning applications getting stuck on the Minister’s desk.

“The Labor Government’s out-of-touch and out-of-ideas and while Dan’s got no plan, our regional communities are missing out on population growth and the better jobs and service delivery that come with it.”

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