The year 2023 has so far been marked with dampened sentiment among homebuyers due to the successive rate hikes, but some regional areas are still offering opportunities for

While prices have already slowed down in some markets, it remains hard for many buyers to enter the market due to the higher living costs but according to PRD Real Estate some regional locations remained affordable.

PRD Real Estate identified 10 “roaring regions” that buyers can consider getting a slice of this year. These regions are selected based on five factors:

  • Affordability – The region has a median house price below the maximum affordable property sale price, which is the state average loan + 20%.
  • Property Trends – The region must have at least 20 transactions yearly, with positive price gains over the period.
  • Investment – The region must have an on-par or even higher rental yield than its capital city, as well as low vacancy rates.
  • Project Development – The region should have a high estimated value of future project development across infrastructure, commercial, and residential sectors.
  • Unemployment Rate – Low unemployment rate ensures local job growth in each region.

Here are the 10 affordable regions buyers must consider getting into this year:

Whitsunday, Queensland

Median Price: $460,000 (Houses) | $320,000 (Units)
Vacancy Rate: 0.7%
Rental Yield: 5.3% (Houses) | 7.4% (Units)
5-Year Population Growth: 7.3%

Known for its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, the tropical coastal area of Whitsunday is expected to remain popular among homebuyers thanks to its vibrant economy and high local job creation.

Whitsunday’s lower entry price makes it a good place for first-time investors to break into.

Property sales between 2020 and 2022 increased significantly in the area, as evidenced by the consistent growth in prices over the past 10 years.

Meanwhile, the combination of low vacancy rate and high rental yields suggest quicker occupancy of investment properties.

For 2023, Whitsunday LGA is set to witness a total of $1.4bn worth of project development, mainly commercial projects.

Mackay, Queensland

Median Price: $440,000 (Houses) | $214,000 (Units)
Vacancy Rate: 1.1%
Rental Yield: 6.1% (Houses) | 6.5% (Units)
5-Year Population Growth: 4.8%

Mackay is another coastal area located in North Queensland.

Around $511.9m worth of projects are expected to rise in the area, with a large chunk focussing on commercial developments.

According to the latest labour force figures, unemployment in Mackay is at 2.7%, lower than the 3.7% for the whole of Queensland.

Despite the growth in its property prices over the past decade, it remains affordable, especially for first-home buyers.

Mackay also has a lower median entry price than Brisbane, making it the perfect spot for investors.

Charters Towers, Queensland

Median Price: $260,000 (Houses) | $215,000 (Units)
Vacancy Rate: 0.2%
Rental Yield: 5.6% (Houses) | 5.4% (Units)
5-Year Population Growth: -0.9%

Based on history, the rural town of Charters Towers was formed due to rich gold deposits found under the city.

Known for its heritage-listed architecture, Charters Towers serves as a key transport hub between Townsville and the outback.

Over the past 10 years, Charters Towers LGA posted double-digit gains in property prices and solid sales.

Charters Towers is slated to welcome $864.7m worth of development throughout 2023, with a large focus on infrastructure projects.

Over the year, around 116 lots and 20 units are planned, which will help manage property demand. Still, the region’s ready-to-sell house market remains undersupplied.

Federation, New South Wales

Median Price: $405,000 (Houses) | $372,000 (Units)
Vacancy Rate: 0.4%
Rental Yield: 4.5% (Houses) | 5.3% (Units)
5-Year Population Growth: 2.5%

Sitting on the New South Wales and Victoria border, the Federation LGA is known for its prime sheep and cattle grazing land.

Federation’s high economic resilience throughout the pandemic results in consistent property demand.

During the past decade, Federation witnessed significant growth in land prices, up 147%. Over the same period, median prices for houses and units grew, up 85.8% and 100%, respectively.

This year, Federation is set to see a total of $1.02bn of developments, particularly in the commercial space.

Dubbo, New South Wales

Median Price: $495,000 (Houses) | $230,000 (Units)
Vacancy Rate: 1.2%
Rental Yield: 4.7% (Houses) | 5.4% (Units)
5-Year Population Growth: 29.8%

Dubbo is situated in the Orana Region and is home to Western Plains Zoo and the heritage-listed old Dubbo Gaol.

The region has an unemployment rate of 3.3%, lower than the 3.9% average across the state.

Over the last 10 years, property prices in Dubbo increased substantially, up 68.4% for houses, 91.7% for units, and 53.7% for vacant land.

A pipeline of $887.7m projects is set to commence in Dubbo this year.

Lithgow City, New South Wales

Median Price: $500,000 (Houses) | $250,000 (Units)
Vacancy Rate: 1.6%
Rental Yield: 3.3% (Houses) | 3.3% (Units)
5-Year Population Growth: -2.6%

Lithgow City is located north-west of Sydney, in the Central West region of New South Wales.

House and unit prices in Lithgow City increased significantly over the past 10 years, up 119.8% and 150%, respectively.

The region is expected to benefit from a total development pipeline of $824.6m in 2023.

Planned for the area are 127 lots, eight dwellings, and four townhouses.

Greater Bendigo, Victoria

Median Price: $585,000 (Houses) | $410,000 (Units)
Vacancy Rate: 1.2%
Rental Yield: 4.0% (Houses) | 5.4% (Units)
5-Year Population Growth: 6.1%

An inland region located in the central part of Victoria, Greater Bendigo is known for having the third largest economy in the state.

The spike in sales over the past 10 years led to an 88.7% growth in house prices and 78.3% for units. Vacant land in Greater Bendigo grew significantly during the time, up 139.7%.

Overall, $828.7m worth of projects are set to commence in the region, with infrastructure and commercial developments making up the bulk.

Greater Shepparton, Victoria

Median Price: $455,000 (Houses) | $335,000 (Units)
Vacancy Rate: 0.7%
Rental Yield: 4.9% (Houses) | 6.1% (Units)
5-Year Population Growth: 3.9%

Greater Shepparton is a rural region located two-hours away north of Melbourne.

The region is popularly known as the food bowl of Australia due to its thriving agriculture industry.

Over the past 10 years, Greater Shepparton experienced strong median price growth for all property types — houses by 82.0%, vacant land by 123.6%, and units by 77.7%.

Greater Shepparton is set to welcome around $113.7m worth of project development this year.

Ballarat, Victoria

Median Price: $595,000 (Houses) | $405,000 (Units)
Vacancy Rate: 1.5%
Rental Yield: 3.4% (Houses) | 4.1% (Units)
5-Year Population Growth: -1.4%

Ballarat is only one and a half hours drive west of Melbourne City.

Known for its architectural heritage, Ballarat boasts the third highest population in Victoria.

The region experienced exceptional gains in property prices: up 105.2% for houses, 127.2% for vacant land, and 77.7% for units.

For this year, Ballarat is expected to see a total project pipeline of $488.1m — half of which are devoted towards infrastructure development.

Central Coast, Tasmania

Median Price: $515,000 (Houses) | $122,000 (Units)
Vacancy Rate: 0.4%
Rental Yield: 3.4% (Houses) | 4.6% (Units)
5-Year Population Growth: 5.5%

The Central Coast houses the towns of Ulverstone and Penguin. It is also home to the Gunns Plains Caves and Leven Canyon.

House prices in Central Coast increased 102.2% over the past 10 years. Over the same period, land prices also increased 82.6%.

Central Coast is slated to see around $27.1m worth of project development, with majority centred on residential projects.


Photo by zimmytws on Canva.