Residential, commercial and rural land going gangbusters in the Goulburn Valley

It’s difficult to wipe the smile off local real estate agents’ and their client’s faces as property of all persuasions experience boom times. 

The combination of low interest rates and the geographical location of Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley has created possibly the largest property boom ever. 

From developers, land surveyors, engineers, builders, 100s of associated businesses to property valuers and real estate agents, the Goulburn Valley is set for continued growth. 

Shepparton and Goulburn Valley were primed to experience good growth pre-COVID, with a large number of projects and developments already underway. It’s just that COVID has sped things up with many out-of-towners identifying great value investment opportunities in the region. 

Regional Victoria has become very appealing for people looking to move from Melbourne particularly among millennials as COVID drives big change. 

Our Goulburn Valley magazine caught up with a number of businesspeople when compiling our 7th edition.  

Director of Chris Smith & Associates land development consultants, Chris Mempham, said “I’ve never seen anything like it, nearly every development is sold before we’ve started the project.”  

They were expecting the worst when COVID hit but it has been the opposite, “We’ve been flat-out.” 

Property valuer, David McKenzie of Opteon Property Group said, “As a valuer, I believe we can detect the health and optimism of different parts of our economy by looking at the performance of property aligned to those areas.” 

“Using property as a proxy, or a barometer for economic performance in our region, most sectors are thriving, and the outlook is bullish.” 

Property prices in the Goulburn Valley flatlined and lagged for 10 or so years and has leap-frogged the market in recent times, according to Kevin Hicks of Kevin Hicks Real Estate.  

“Shepparton has become a hotspot for property across the board. We’ve had a massive correction in property pricing which is sustainable, because it was a catch-up scenario,” Kevin said. 

“With interest rates continuing to stay low, the price of property will continue to grow,” Kevin added. 

Rural land specialist at Kevin Hicks Real Estate, Chris Drum said, “we are living in extraordinary times.” 

“The Goulburn Valley was well known for when one or two parts of the rural sector were down there would always be other sectors to hold things up, however at the moment everything is up,” he added.  

The rural sector is very diverse, and all are strong in the Goulburn Valley with dairy, fruit, horticulture, beef, lamb, wool and grain within 20 minutes of Shepparton doing well. Canola has hit well over $800 a tonne setting up a boon for farmers across the region. Crops whichever way you happen to drive are looking excellent. 

A major benefit for the region is the price of water which has dropped to approximately as per the public registry the price on the last 7 day average of allocated temporary water in the Goulburn was $92 p/mg providing reprieve to the rural sectors on price and availability. Favourable seasonal conditions and higher farmgate milk prices have also been a winner for the dairy sector.  

Local real estate agent, Rocky Gagliardi of Gagliardi Scott Real Estate has experienced record land sales in the last 12 months. Rocky has been at the forefront of many blocks of land sold. Value for money has proven a big drawcard for young people buying up in regional Victoria, with a promise of a property that generally encompasses a bigger block, access to a regional lifestyle and the opportunity to finally achieve the great “Australian dream”. It’s a trend that’s not expected to slow down soon according to Rocky. 

“Greater Shepparton Secondary College, the new Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) among other developments, have increased employment opportunities in our region and will add to an already thriving place to live as Shepparton is,” Rocky said. Rocky added that there was a huge spin-off to building related businesses with tradies being among the great beneficiaries. 

Big news continues to flow on the education front, with the recent announcement of a brand new $50M Anglican school to be developed on Verney Road, North Shepparton. The facility expects to welcome students from prep to year twelve when doors open in 2024. The Anglican Schools Commission chief executive, Reverend Peter Laurence said, “The decision to invest in Shepparton was made because it is a growing regional city with high demand for additional schooling options.”  

Principal of Youngs & Co Real Estate, Glenn Young said, “People from all areas are seeing Shepparton as a great place to live and invest, it’s a lifestyle decision and everyone from the city, and particularly since COVID, have realised they’re tired of cramped living and are moving to the region. At the top of the list of what people are looking for when looking to move to the region is education, that’s why projects such as the new $50M Anglican school on Verney Road is so important.”  

With the high demand for land created by the tree change of Melburnians and beyond, the challenge for Councils is the zoning of enough developable land to keep things growing. Shepparton’s geography offers challenges with natural growth to the north and south, however the highly productive land to the east of the city, and the river and bushland to the west limits those areas for development. 

The demand for property is not just in Shepparton, there’s big demand on land and property in Mooroopna, Tatura, Numurkah, Rushworth, Murchison, Kyabram and Echuca. There’s a property boom everywhere.  

Earlier in the year we saw four prominent orchard families from Ardmona and Mooroopna amalgamate to form a large fruit packing and growing company with the backing of a Canadian pension fund. Turnbull Bros, Varapodios, M.J Hall & Sons and Pickworths Orchards are now trading under the new name of Pomona Valley. The new entity will operate approximately 500 hectares and will be run by well-known Ardmona orchardist, Rocky Varapodio, as general manager.  

Showing a great deal of confidence in the region is Warren Hicks of Hicks Transport Group who has new depots on the drawing board for both Shepparton (Future Court) and Cobram (Schubert Street). The 50-plus year old successful freight business had invested in a further six trucks and seven new B Double sets in the last 12 months. The family run business was founded by Warren’s father, Brian Hicks who passed away in December last year.  

“Dad’s business principles have been instilled for the longevity of the success of the business,” Warren said. The transport firm of 70 staff have experienced strong growth in the last 12 months.