HOUSE prices in Gippsland have led the state’s price growth during the first quarter and over the past 12 months.

Some of the state’s fastest growing towns were in Gippsland, including Lakes Entrance, whose house prices climbed 14.3 per cent during first quarter to $677,500, Foster by 11.5 per cent to $680,000, and Rosedale by 9.5 per cent to $520,000, according to the latest quarterly median date by The Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV), the real estate industry’s peak body.

The annual change for Rosedale was 24.6 per cent growth (from $417,500 to $520,000), a difference of $102,500.

Licensed estate agent Ben Britten, from the Traralgon-based Wilson Property, told the Express that Rosedale’s appeal was its standing between the major towns of Sale and Traralgon.

“So a lot of people have partners…who are working and travelling in Sale or Traralgon and will meet in the middle at Rosedale. We find that’s a pretty common thing for people to live that way as (Rosedale is) the same sort of distance between the two,” Mr Britten said.

“There’s a bit of character about Rosedale and it’s quiet enough…but still close to Sale and Traralgon. The highway runs through so you can go straight out…and you’re really close to Seaspray and Golden Beach, so you can get to the beach pretty quickly.”

Mr Britten compared Rosedale to Glengarry, Toongabbie and Cowwarr.

“They’re close to big towns, but are quiet. They’ll always be desirable for that reason,” he said.

During the quarter, more than half of all regional price growth occurred in major regional centres. These include Greater Geelong, with quarterly rises ranging between 1.6 and 4.5 per cent across Newtown ($1,165,000), Clifton Springs ($700,000), Newcomb ($591,250), Bell Post Hill ($645,000), Norlane ($460,000) and Bell Park ($630,000).

REIV President, Jacob Caine told the Express that towns throughout Victoria had experienced “double-digit price growth, particularly in their houses”.

The key drivers of growth this quarter were Victoria’s regional centres, prized by buyers as affordable and lifestyle-focused and close to amenities.

“While the quarter saw an overall steady recovery in prices across the state, it’s pleasing to see regional Victorian centres standing out as drivers of house price growth. Cities like Bendigo and Greater Geelong are attracting buyer interest for their lifestyle appeal and amenity, and all offer affordable buying options that are harder to find in metropolitan Melbourne,” Mr Caine said.

“Notwithstanding the challenges currently at play in our property sector and the need to increase housing supply, there is certainly a strong case for confidence and optimism with prices stable and both auction and transaction volumes high.”

Asked if there were any good news for renters in regional areas, Mr Caine said that prices were “pretty stable from a regional perspective”.

“The median rent for a house in regional Victoria is sitting at $460 (a week),” he said.

“The vacancy rate rose in regional Victoria from 2.1 per cent to 2.2 per cent, which is a promising sign for renters. When the vacancy rate hits around three per cent that’s generally a more balanced or healthy marketplace.

“So that’s an encouraging sign for renters that there’s more housing stock being made available for the rental market.”

Acknowledging the situation for renters continues to be tough, Mr Caine said that REIV continues to “advocate strongly with the Victorian government for greater investment incentivisation of in the property sector” to ease the rental market.