A leading property market expert has declared Geelong, Victoria to be showing positive growth as it joins several suburbs whose house prices are seeing consistent growth.

The latest report from McGrath, a large estate agent company in Australia, has shown that there are a number of cities beginning to buck the trend of falling house prices in some states, with Geelong joining the Sunshine Coast, Newcastle and Gold Coast on this list.

This has led to Executive Chairman John McGrath saying that the regional markets are “the new black” and that regional connectivity to major cities is making these cities much more appealing to buyers.

Improved transportation is one of the main reasons for making such a move practical. In addition, better commuting times and rapidly advancing broadband speeds in these areas now mean that more people are considering moving to suburban locations rather than living in major cities.

McGrath said: “Massive infrastructure investment across Australia is also boosting employment in regional centers.” He suggested that the level of growth could enable these places to develop in stature, becoming hubs of their own that have more reasons to attract people.

Geelong is one of the best examples, with the coastal city having bumped up its median house price by 9.8% over the last year. Even though the average house price is still expensive for many at $505,000, it still clocks in at a good $200,000 lower than Melbourne’s median, which explains why so many would consider making a move.

McGrath described the city as “undergoing a renaissance at the moment, like it has never seen before” and said that although many expected that Geelong would struggle in the face of closing industries and factories, he feels that there has been more of a “rebirth.”

He hailed the possibility of people “enjoying a great lifestyle without the industries” and welcomed the additional “whole new infrastructure of restaurants and cultural pursuits and so forth.”

The property expert also believes that there is a clear trend of a wealthier demographic moving to smaller regional areas, so the cultural expectations are beginning to change to accommodate the new market.

Saying that this enabled “better social and cultural opportunities,” McGrath feels that the combination of lower living costs and higher-income individuals would see more money passed onto regional economies, which would allow for additional growth in these locations.

Evidence shows that earnings in Geelong were higher on average than they were in Melbourne in 2016, as figures showed that wages for those of a working age were $84 higher than they were in the big city.

Additional data showed a clear trend of movement from bigger cities to smaller ones across the board, as 5,500 people moved to Lake Macquarie in NSW from Sydney, while Geelong took in 6,900 people from Melbourne. McGrath said that a 90-minute window for commuting generally makes it attractive for individuals to move to regional cities and still work in a state capital without hugely affecting their work-life balance.

When discussing why he believes that the trend would continue, he said: “While affordability remains a key reason to move, many say buyers are increasingly talking about escaping from city stress, traffic and cost of living.”