20 November 2017

High speed train, planes and housing stress drive Goulburn growth

| John Thistleton
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Rocky Hill Goulburn

Rocky Hill overlooks a much wider stretch of new house building in Goulburn these days. Photo: John Thistleton.

Housing affordability continues to underpin new residential projects in Goulburn, amid calls for a stronger commitment from government to address housing stress among older Australians.

Goulburn will never be the same again says real estate agent Peter Mylonas, referring to local and out-of-town developers meeting demand from Sydney’s expansion and high prices. Mr Mylonas negotiated the sale of a large parcel of land at Marys Mount with potential for 300 residential blocks. Property developer ‘Maxiwealth’, which also has land at Tully Park golf course, bought the property to develop 700 square metre blocks and house-and-land packages.

Affordable housing investors are causing house prices to rise. Researcher ‘RP Data’ says Goulburn’s median price has reached $400,000 following 15.4 percent growth over the past 12 months. “Prices will continue to go up and more investors will be coming, I don’t think it will stop,” Mr Mylonas says.

Mr Myonas says Sydney’s second airport at Badgerys Creek and growing speculation of a high-speed train are also attracting developers. He gives an example of a proposed development in Sloane Street where a western Sydney developer has plans for 34 villas, and is also targeting social housing providers with new Goulburn projects.

‘Charlani Constructions’ Westmead director John Ibrahim (not the nightclub owner) who has completed projects in Parramatta, Harris Park and Westmead, has plans for 34 villas on the elevated southern end of Sloane Street, and a five-story project in Goulburn’s CBD, with commercial space on the ground floor and 40 units on the upper storeys. “I call Goulburn the sleeping giant, it is untapped on the Sydney-Canberra transport corridor, with all the infrastructure including TAFE college and hospitals already in place, ’’ Mr Ibrahim says.

He says he is spreading his wings to Goulburn, and believes Mission Australia, the Department of Housing and similar institutions are being drawn to the affordability which will turn Goulburn into the next big stop after Campbelltown. (In a statement last week, Mission Australia chief executive Catherine Yeomans said the cost of housing was putting great strain on older people, and called for a commitment from government to build 60,000 additional social housing dwellings specifically for older people.)

Mr Ibrahim says the apartments trend has spread like wildfire in Sydney, but is out of reach for young people, whereas 600 square-metre housing blocks are still attainable in Goulburn. “The township will explode,” he says. “I have faith in the area, and I am prepared to put my money where my mouth is.’’

Mr Mylonas says government spending on the $120 million Goulburn Base Hospital redevelopment and $47 million supermax would reverberate across the local market. “Motel accommodation and rental vacancies will all be taken up, the whole town will blossom from the spin-offs,” Mr Mylonas says.

Property specialist with a solid track record in Goulburn, Judy Micallef, says prices are catching up, driven by affordability compared to Sydney.

She says the Goulburn market is desperately short of five to 25-acre lots and has opportunities for a wider variety of housing. “Not everyone wants small blocks ­– more variety and more apartments would be great,” Mrs Micallef says.

“We are on a bit of a boom, Goulburn has been trying for many years to convince people to relocate and it now seems to be happening of its own accord. Sydney is so expensive.” Mrs Micallef says people are realising Goulburn is a great place to live. More industry is needed to provide jobs, and while investors are welcome, she says without those new jobs a higher vacancy rate in rental properties remains a risk.

‘Ray White Goulburn’ principal Justin Gay says The Tillage, a 130-lot development at Marys Mount is 60 percent sold. “We are seeing great inquiry from the Camden-Narellan area. A mix of investors and owner-occupiers are keen to move this way. There is a guy who has taken quite a significant parcel of different blocks to do house/land packages. He believes in the town,” Mr Gay says.

A drawcard is the development being underway as a whole, rather than being staged. “People can see it is all happening, they won’t be living in a construction site,” Mr Gay says. “The uptake has been incredible, above expectations, but given we have not had too many competitors, it is expected. The commercial precinct that Basil Toparis is developing is enhancing the area and people are excited.’’

He expects a backlog of development applications. “The builders are going gangbusters here in town, we have only two blocks left up at Platypus Banks, we are a whole stage ahead of expectations for that. To get a builder is going to be difficult.’’

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