Research reveals top spots for first home buyers in regional Australia

INCREDIBLE OPTIONS: The Margaret River township ranked third in a survey of first home buyers looking for an affordable lifestyle. Photo - Shutterstock.
INCREDIBLE OPTIONS: The Margaret River township ranked third in a survey of first home buyers looking for an affordable lifestyle. Photo - Shutterstock.

First home buyers are more likely to look to the regions for their first purchase not only because of COVID-19 but to save money and improve their lifestyle according to research by ME Bank.

A shortlist of 83 towns were scrutinised on categories most relevant to someone working from home, such as internet quality, health and education facilities and the town's character.

Housing affordability was also applied with a double weighting.

"We did a thorough search right around the nation, looking for towns with just the right mix of lifestyle, amenities, housing market and natural beauty," ME's consulting demographer, Chris McNeill said.

South Australia's Nairne took the first prize closely followed by Mount Barker, both a 40-minute commute to Adelaide.

"Nairne has a vibrant and growing community expected to reach 6,200 by the year 2036; good access to hospitals and schools; spectacular surrounds in wine-growing country; and heritage streets that give it a 'lost to time' quality," McNeill said.

Victoria didn't disappoint, and had the most favourable towns for first home buyers than any other state, with eight making it into the national top 20

Woodend is the best regional town for first home buyers in Victoria, placing 6th nationally, while nearby Kyneton finished just outside the top 20 in 25th place.

"The Macedon Ranges are a perfect distance from Melbourne where you can enjoy the country lifestyle, but still commute to Melbourne if you need to," McNeill said.

"It's no surprise Victoria fares so well. So many Victorian towns are within striking distance of Melbourne, or a major regional city, which gives first home buyers in these areas great job flexibility and access to amenities."

In NSW, the Far North Coast was the most awarded region with Lennox Head, Byron Bay and Mullumbimby all making the top 20.

"The Far North Coast is ideal for first home buyers. Stunning beaches and bushland, and close to Byron Bay and the Gold Coast. There are some less expensive towns too, some of which represent good bargain buys," McNeill said.

"If it wasn't for the double weighting we gave housing affordability, NSW would have performed far better. There are incredible little towns all over the state. The fact Byron Bay still made the list despite its soaring prices is a testament to the amazing beach lifestyle on offer there."

The Margaret River region shone for WA with two towns appearing in the top 20.

The Margaret River township itself ranked 3rd and Dunsborough, roughly 40 minutes away, ranked 8th.

"The Margaret River region has some incredible options for first home buyers. It's the best South West WA has to offer. You're wedged right between some of the most breathtaking beaches and picturesque wine country," Mr McNeill said.

"Margaret River or Dunsborough would be a breath of fresh air for first home buyers feeling cooped up in the cities."

This story First home buyer hot spots first appeared on Port Macquarie News.