Hot or not? Report gauges regions ‘attractiveness’
HAVE you ever pondered why you choose to live on the Granite Belt?
Is it affordability, lifestyle, employment, business opportunity or proximity to schools?
Southern Downs Regional Council recently sought to answer these questions with the commissioning of the Residential Attraction Project.
Thanks to funds through the Building Better Region's Fund, the report has been produced and includes research and analysis of household socio-economic data to support a marketing and communication plan aimed at attracting people to the region.
"In order for the Southern Downs to continue to prosper, we need to have young people and families live and invest in the region," Mayor Tracy Dobie said.
"There is so much opportunity in our region and it's important that we play to our strengths. "This includes education, recreation, weekend activities and being the ideal location for families.
"This report confirms how important it is to attract people to live here."
One of the key findings within the report, is retirees, families seeking an affordable lifestyle and small businesses wanting to expand are the key target markets.
When put up against 'comparison areas' in both NSW and Victoria, the cost of living on the Southern Downs was substantially lower.
House prices were 130.9 per cent below comparison region average, rent costs were 60.8 per cent lower and education costs were also 45.2 per cent less.
Despite all that, the Southern Downs has recorded a population decline of 0.8 per cent over the last five years.
It's been a trying time for anyone living within the Southern Downs realm in recent year's.
But not all have been deterred from moving to the region.
For Sandra Smith, relocating to Stanthorpe has been a long-held ambition.
"My husband Richard and I have had our sights on Stanthorpe for 20 years," she said.
"We've both retired now and are currently living at Wellington Point where we've been for the last 30 years after moving from Sydney."
They haven't made the move yet, but say they hope to "in the very near future".
"We're just after the quiet life and a bit more room around us.
"We got a little freaked out with the fires and drought though, I must say.
"But we've always called Stanthorpe our second home. We stay at the Granite Belt Brewery and eat at O'Maras.
"We just love the feel of the place in general," Mrs Smith said.
After relocating to Stanthorpe in December 2016, Jude Groeneveld couldn't be happier.
"We had 17 years in Darwin and 21 in Brisbane and were over the heat," she said.
"Had many a weekend get away to Stanthorpe and then were lucky enough to be house-sitting here when it snowed.
"After that we took a weeks holiday to look at real estate and found our home. We haven't looked back since."
Businesses still see Stanthorpe as an attractive region.
Construction company JVY Group Limited intend to develop a huge lifestyle resort here, with ground due to be broke some time this year.
"We know a lot of the time areas like Stanthorpe get passed by for a big town centre but we believe with the growth of Stanthorpe, it's becoming very, very well known, we believe it's perfect," JVY's national sales manager Dianne Fielding said.
"We could build down the Gold Coast, Brisbane, in one of the other city areas but we thought why not somewhere where there is a need and where it's a place people want to go to."
To find out more about the report head to https://www.sdrc.qld.gov.au/ or phone council on 1300 697 372