A record spike in regional house prices has driven the median house price in Warrnambool to $499,000 as smaller regional towns have been given a $2m boost to bring more land onto the market to cater for demand.
Regional Victoria's 10.5 per cent quarterly growth and almost 20 per cent annual growth in house prices - the highest on record - reaffirms the trend in tree or sea change investment and relocation, new Real Estate Institute of Victoria data shows.
Warrnambool house prices jumped 7.9 per cent during the June quarter - a 39 per cent jump in just 18 months with the median as low as $358,000 in December 2019.
In Portland, houses rose 8.7 per cent to a median of $345,000. Statewide the regional median price was $560,000.
Units have jumped 6.3 per cent a median of $344,000, a bigger percentage rise than regional Victorian 3.3 per cent rise to $394,000.
Up to 140 residential blocks will be created to attract workers and create jobs in Simpson and Timboon after a $2m cash injection from the state government.
The government also tipped in $465,000 investment in the Koroit Caravan Park Workers Accommodation initiative which will support the Moyne Shire Council to provide five affordable housing units at the council-managed Koroit Caravan Park, with a focus on accommodation for short-term workers.
Corangamite Shire's 'Unlocking Housing' project aims to set the towns up for a secure and prosperous future with up to 100 of the blocks to be in Simpson and 40 in Timboon.
Mayor Ruth Gstrein said the influx of energy sector construction workers and the loss of long-term rental properties to Airbnb were making finding somewhere to live increasingly difficult.
"While the local economy benefits from visitors, this has driven up rents with some going up as much as 10 per cent in the past year," Cr Gstrein said.
"The shortage of rental houses makes it very difficult for local workers to afford accommodation. That then affects businesses which can't get staff.
"Creating housing for key workers will help address current skills shortages. In the longer term, growing our towns and increasing the population will help sustain the local economy.
"Visitor numbers are forecast to grow so new development and infrastructure will be needed to support our tourism operators."
Cr Gstrein said 'Unlocking Housing' would rezone and prepare land for development with the government chipping in $1m to each project.
"It will include infrastructure such as sewerage, water mains, roads, kerb and channel and drainage works, fire services, power and telecommunications."
Coastal Ward councillor Jamie Vogels said 'The Unlocking Housing - Simpson Project' would create 80-100 serviced residential lots in Simpson.
"Agriculture and tourism are the two big earners for the shire and there's a definite need for farm workers right across the district.
"With the expected growth in tourism activity on the Great Ocean Road in coming years, Simpson will be well positioned geographically for workers who need to live close to tourism businesses.
"This project will subdivide 11.1 hectares that was identified in the 'Positioning Timboon and Simpson Strategy'.
"The land is on the edge of the town so an appropriate supply of residential, commercial and industrial land can be made available but still protect the surrounding farmland."
Work will include 400 metres of water mains plus sewer extension to a new pump station, road, kerb and channel, drainage power and telecommunications infrastructure.
"Council will work with the landowner to find a development partner to build and market the subdivision," he said.
South West Ward councillor Kate Makin said the 'Unlocking Housing - Timboon Project' would create 30-40 serviced residential lots in Timboon next to the transfer station.
"There is a definite lack of rental accommodation available in Timboon," Cr Makin said. "Most of the leased properties are targeted at short-term holiday renters.
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"Sales data shows Timboon is popular with tree-changers, people downsizing from farms, retirees and families because it has a hospital and school and close to bigger towns with higher level services.
"They tend to want bigger houses and blocks so there is an opportunity for smaller dwellings that are more affordable for those key workers in agriculture and tourism-related businesses.
"The plan is to create a subdivision on about four hectares of council-owned land next to the transfer station.
"It will need a 280-metre sewer main and new pump station, another 800 metres of internal sewerage, 800 meters of water main extension, plus road, kerb and channel, power and, telecommunications.
"There is also a lot of background work like bushfire, environment, and cultural heritage studies, land survey and planning assessment."
The project will be undertaken over the next two years.
The council is working with the Great South Coast Regional Partnership which is made up of Moyne, Surf Coast, Colac Otway, Southern Grampians and Glenelg Shire to develop a 'Homes for Key Workers Action Plan' which will address housing availability and affordability.
Partnership chair Lisa Dwyer said the partnership had prioritised the need to address the mismatch between housing supply and demand for accommodation for key workers because it impacted the ability to attract and retain them to the region.
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