'Boom town' Wagga beats out rivals

Wagga has been named Australia’s strongest “boom town”.

The title was bestowed by property investment guru Terry Ryder after looking at a range of data including sales, infrastructure spending and economic factors.

“Wagga ticks all the boxes,” Mr Ryder said. “A ‘boom town’, to me, is a regional centre with strong growth in the local economy and property market. We look at locations that are growing in terms of population, diversity and other drivers.”

According to Mr Ryder, there was still a tendency among investors to under-rate regional centres like Wagga, Bengido and Newcastle, but there were a lot of advantages to avoiding the capital cities.

“These properties are more affordable, there’s a better rental return and there’s better growth factors in the market,” he said. “Wagga’s strategically located on a corridor between Sydney and Melbourne that makes it likely to get a multitude of future infrastructure.”

Dave Skow from Wagga Property Management said he always thought it was a “good investment town”.

“A smart person once told me rent where you want to live and buy where you can afford,” Mr Skow said. “If you compare Wagga to the metropolitan centres, it’s so much more affordable. The rent yields are strong opposed to the big cities and there’s a good tenancy market supported by two defence bases and the university so there’s always a good tenant pool.”

Mr Skow said investor interest in building new homes for rental was the biggest he’d seen in his 15-year career.

“There are stamp duty concessions and a lot of people being referred by marketing groups in the capital cities directing people to areas of potential growth,” Mr Skow said.

“Some people are even renting in Sydney, living there, but purchasing their first houses in Wagga as an investment and almost ‘neutral gearing’ as a way to eventually have a deposit for another house. We’ve got one customer in Queensland who hasn’t even seen his investment property and may never make a visit to Wagga.” 

Farmland surrounding Wagga is also experiencing a boom, with an Australian Farmland Values report showing NSW experienced 6.1 per cent growth, above the national average of 5.8 per cent. Wagga farmland performed better than much of the Riverina, fetching a median value of $4067 per hectare.

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