Geelong house, unit medians surging to $1m

Ryrie Home (also pictured, top) forms part of a $200m mixed-use complex replacing the Trans Otway bus depot.

The median price for Geelong houses and units has hit record levels according to latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.

If growth continues at recent rates – then the suburb’s average house will be worth $1 million by the end of this year; it is presently $882,000 – up 20.82 per cent for the year to March, 2021.

The median price for a Geelong apartment surged 15 per cent last year according to the ABS.

Apartment values by comparison would hit seven figures by late 2023.

That median value is presently $667,000 – an annual rise of 15 pc.

The ABS statistics, released in May, are considered more statistically reliable than private research issued by groups such as REA Group or the Real Estate Institute of Victoria – as they incorporate the most comprehensive pool of results.

Population could hit 400,000 by 2026

According to the latest ABS population figures – which covers the year to June, 2020 – the City of Greater Geelong accommodates about 264,866 people.

This is an increase of over 20,000 since our last snapshot of the region in late 2019.

At that time, the government was forecasting the municipality would house just over 325,400 permanent residents by 2026.

However given COVID – and a national migration trend from cities to the regions – the ABS now estimates Geelong’s population will circle 417,000 by that time.

CBD population target 10,000

In response to the unexpected population boom, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning in May announced the Central Geelong Framework Plan which – much like the Postcode 3000 initiative did for Melbourne 25 years ago – aims to tackle several issues, from improving livability to managing development while retaining city character.

Presently about 35,000 people work in central Geelong.

A key focus of the policy is increasing the CBD’s population to over 10,000 by 2026.

Project marketing agent Nic Cuni – who last year quit a Collins Street firm to live and work permanently on the Bellarine Peninsula – said residents relocating from Melbourne will be the driver of this change.

He is presently marketing Franze Developments’ Ryrie Home complex, replacing the ex-Trans Otway bus depot.

“More than half the inquiry there is from Melbourne buyers,” the executive said.

“And they won’t consider a dwelling outside of central Geelong,” he added.

“Being walking distance to the Geelong train station and a ferry service connected to Docklands, is a key persuader,” he added.

“Residents then want to have all the city’s amenities – the beach, shopping – at their fingertips.

“This particular development will also contain substantial ground floor retail, set to contain restaurants and bars, and a resident-only rooftop, with barbecue facilities, lounges and dining spaces overlooking the water, pier and yacht club”.

The Ryrie Home buyer profile is consistent with recently released Urbis research which claims that most Geelong tourists – more than 190 out of 200 – don’t leave the CBD.

 The waterfront, and two shopping centres – Westfield and Market Square – are the key attractions, the research house added (story continues below).

Major projects

A resident-only rooftop dining space at Ryrie Home.

Ryrie Home and Geelong Quarter

Ryrie Home forms part of Geelong Quarter, the city’s biggest mixed-use project by value, at c$200m.

Hospitality will flank the ground floor of the Geelong Quarter project.

Construction started in late 2020 when completion due in 2022.

As well as the 14-storey Ryrie Home building, with 109 dwellings, Geelong Quarter will contain a Holiday Inn hotel, with open-to-the-public conference facilities, pool and gym, further car parking and more retail.

“With the work-from-home trend accelerating since COVID, the corporate amenity at the neighbouring hotel has been a big selling point for the apartments,” Mr Cuni said.

“We’ve also had buyers who are looking at relocating to Ryrie Home from Melbourne say that they will put up their own family and friends at the Holiday Inn when they visit,” he added.

“Ryrie Home residents will also be able to access the hotel’s room service – something no other Geelong dwelling can offer”.

Franze acquired the site making way for Geelong Quarter in 2017; the block was previously shortlisted to be the National Disability Insurance Agency headquarters.

Spirit of Tasmania at Corio Quay

In a major tourism coup, last April, Spirit of Tasmania operator TT-Line signed a 30-year lease to dock at Corio Quay, after 35 years of embarking at Port Melbourne’s Station Pier.

The ferry sails about 800 times a year, marshalling some 600 cars.

The commitment is almost certain to mean travelers, whether on their depart or arrival, will tour Geelong.

TT-Line said the 12 hectare Corio Quay depot, now under construction, offers the Spirit of Tasmania opportunity to expand, by way of more trips, something it couldn’t do at Melbourne.

As well as the dedicated freight terminal, the Geelong property will contain retail.

The TT-Line deal came four months since the local council established the Geelong Flyer, a twice daily ferry connecting Geelong Pier to Docklands, in 90 minutes.

Eastern Park wellness retreat

BEKL is building a wellness retreat with restaurants at Geelong’s Eastern Park.

Last August, boutique Melbourne developer BEKL announced plans to build a world class wellness retreat at Eastern Park, in the town centre.

The facility is expected to contain a spa, massage treatments, beauty therapies and services like meditation and yoga.

It will also include farm-to-table restaurants, utilising Bellarine region ingredients and beverages, a bar, conference facilities and events areas.

BELK acquired the 1.6ha site making way for the project last year from The Salvation Army, which held it since 1994.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of