THOUSANDS of Melburnians are ditching the capital andmaking a ‘Geechange’, escaping the big smoke for the state’ssecond city.
Almost 7000 people made the move from Melbourne to the Geelong regionin 2016-17, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows.
And experts expect the number to grow, with Geelong’s lifestyle andproperty prices offering an attractive alternative to Melburnians.
Freelance writer Ross Larkin, 40, traded Melbourne for our scenic city inJuly this year, moving to Belmont.
In an opinion piece today(see below), Larkin writes of leaving the capitalfor a “more affordable, less stressful way of life”.
Larkin describes Melbourne as a city that has “fallen victim to its ownsuccess” and is “slowly cracking under the pressure of popularity”, with itsrapidly growing population leading to traffic gridlock, packed publictransport and “desperate home hunters”.
More than half of the 13,370 arrivals in the Geelong region, including theSurf Coast and Bellarine Peninsula, from other parts of Australia in 2016-17 were from Melbourne, with 6894 coming to the region from the statecapital, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows.
Kirsten Kilpatrick, director of Geelong-based town planning companyNovo Planning, said she “absolutely” expects the number of people movingfrom Melbourne to Geelong to grow.
The City of Greater Geelong’s population has grown from 216,000 to239,000 in the last five years, City of Greater Geelong acting directorplanning and development Joanne Van Slageren said, with the currentgrowth rate of 2.6 per cent higher than the growth rate of Victoria.
“Based on sustained population growth rate of 2.5 per cent, the City’sproposed Settlement Strategy predicts our population will grow by morethan 150,000 people to 387,900 by 2036,” she said.
Geelong Mayor Bruce Harwood said “it’s no surprise that Geelong hasbecome such a popular place to live, given the fantastic lifestyle we enjoy”.“
We have close access to the beautiful natural environments of beach, bayand bush, which are as good as anywhere in Australia,” he said.“
And we’re within easy travelling distance of Melbourne, without the trafficand other ‘big city’ issues faced by people who live there.
“There’s also a real sense of optimism around the region at the moment,with new businesses coming to town and a range of industries growing andthriving — including health, tourism, education, agribusiness, advancedmanufacturing and innovation.
“Add the relocation of major social insurance agencies, and there are jobsavailable for people who want to move here.
”Real Estate Institute of Victoria CEO Gil King said “there is no doubt thatthe Geelong property market is booming and is the hottest in RegionalVictoria right now.”
“The Regional Victorian property market has outperformed MetropolitanMelbourne over the 12 months to 30 June 2018, suggesting that moreVictorians are making a sea change or tree change to areas includingGeelong and surrounds,” he said.
“The Real Estate Institute of Victoria’s latest data shows that the Geelongsuburbs of Corio, Norlane and Newcomb achieved the highest growth inthe median house price in Regional Victoria over the past year.
”Mr King said property values in Barwon Heads and Torquay “have alsoskyrocketed”.