Real estate agents say the market in Warrnambool is bucking the metropolitan downturn trend, with 2018 delivering a strong sales yield.
Harris and Wood Real Estate director Danny Harris said 2018 had delivered the “strongest residential market he had seen in 10 years”.
"For so long the regional markets have been the bridesmaid but now it’s time for them to be the bride,” he said.
"The reality is we are playing a lot of catch up. We haven't seen the boom to the same extent as the metro areas, therefore history suggests we won't see the same level of downturn. It is a positive.”
He said Harris and Wood had set two price records over the past year, for undeveloped land known as Motang on Hopkins Point Road and a residential record for a property on Logans Beach Road.
Northeast Stockdale and Leggo director Matt Northeast said sales were positive across the city in 2018.
"Last year the real industry as a whole had a very busy year," he said.
"Sales activity was very high throughout the year.
"We haven't seen the downturn effect that is happening in metropolitan cities.
"We have strong investment coming in from out of town."
He said data from Pricefinder showed strong growth for Warrnambool.
"In 2018 housing saw a growth 4.5 per cent," he said.
"In 2017 it was a 3.1 per cent growth."
He said 2019 was off to a good start.
"Going forward we have already started this year off with strong inquiry which is terrific," he said.
"There is still a lot of confidence in Warrnambool given the CBD redevelopment plus the hospital industry, Saputo and Midfield."
He said there could be a slight downturn mid-year.
"I'm predicting that the metro slow down may filter through mid-way through the year, but with interest rates at an all time low, and Warrnambool's pricing still extremely good value considering other regional cities, we've got a bright future ahead," he said.
Ray White real estate partner Fergus Torpy said 2018 had been a strong year.
"Our general consensus on the market as a whole was that it was an improved year on the previous five years," he said.
"The median house price improved, loosely speaking, by about $20,000.
"The days on market reduced by about a month. To me what that correlates is that there is more confidence in buyers. All in all it was a really good year.
"There was a huge increase in purchasers buying their principal place of residency.
"The Warrnambool market as a whole is relatively steady.
"We don't see the ebbs and flows of Melbourne."
He predicted 2019 would be similar to the previous year.
"Warrnambool doesn't spike or dip too much. It tends to head in a steady positive direction," he said.
"There's a lot of good things happening in Warrnambool - facilities, schooling, hospitality - as long as that expands people will continue to come here from other places. I've felt that has been the case a bit more in the past 12 months. Warrnambool has a lot to offer."
Charles Stewart Western Victoria owner Penny Adamson agreed with her fellow agents.
"We had a great year,” she said.
"I think we have been fortunate with an exclusive list of properties to present to the market. They've all sold successfully. There is still good confidence in the million dollar plus range. The $600k to $800k range has also been a lot stronger in 2018.”
She said in 2019 there was “a lot look forward to”.
"The south-west, particulary Port Fairy, has seen record capital growth,” she said.
“It would be nice to see that trend come into Warrnambool.
"The surety of high rain fall and record commodity prices and a strong rural economy is very much the success of the south-west. Warrnambool and the surrounding regions have a lot to look forward.
“Our population is almost 36,000, which is almost self-sustainable. We have a positive council and the streetscape looks great. It's a great place to live. The medical centers are the best they've ever been and we are seeing a lot of sea-changers and people from Melbourne. I think people are exhausted with Melbourne and the traffic.”