EIGHT interest rate hikes and convergence of rental market pressures in 2022, alongside the usual peaks and troughs, isn’t enough to debilitate regional Victoria’s property market.

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) December Quarterly Median Report reveals that regional Victorian house prices grew eight per cent over the year to $610,000, and the annual median for units and apartments rose six and a half per cent to $425,000.

In Metropolitan Melbourne, on the other hand, the yearly median home price fell by 3.3 per cent to $1,040,000, with unit prices in the fastest annual decline in the city’s history.

Locally, according to realestate.com.au, Sale’s median house price is $490,000, an annual growth of 22.5 per cent. In Maffra, the annual house price median rose 13 per cent to $390,000 and is up 14.9 per cent in Stratford to $475,000.

Graham Chalmer Real Estate director, Mark Ventrella says there has been little effect on the local property market despite interest rates reaching a 30-year high, with another 25 basis points hike to the cash rate forecast next month.

“We’ve experienced a slowdown; it’s slower in a couple of ways,” Mr Ventrella said.

“There are less people looking, not dramatically though, and because there are less people looking, it is reflecting that in price a bit; so instead of getting two or three people offering on one property, you might only get one person at a time.

“Without that competitive market, without that one person making an offer and another making a better one, then someone else making a better one, you’re not likely to get a higher price because there is no one really pushing that purchaser along.

“So because of that, we have found it has slowed down a bit, but in general, it hasn’t gone quiet; it’s busy, but not as busy as it was before.”

While the repeated interest rate rises intended at taming inflation in the aftermath of the pandemic have levelled the local property market, Mr Ventrella is shocked at how little impact they have had on business.

“We knew there was going to be a change as soon as interest rates were going to be raised,” he said.

“As soon as interest rates start going up, the market slows down, so we knew that was going to happen, but it probably didn’t show face until two or three months into those eight months, until it started to really take effect.

“Although, in my experience, it didn’t slow down as quickly as we thought.

“Even up until Christmas, it didn’t have a major effect, but I imagine this year it will really bite home.

“Personally, I would have thought it would have taken a little bit more of an effect prior to Christmas than it did.”

The buying pool may be decreasing, yet a recent, unprecedented influx of properties listed as For Sale with Graham Chalmer Real Estate has hit a two-year high.

“In general, we normally list about one a day, so 25 to 30 a month, whereas the last couple of months, there’s been a significant increase to the number of properties listed a month,” Mr Ventrella said.

REIV president Andrew Meehan said the December Quarterly Median Report data demonstrates good buying opportunities for Victorians, and a resilient real estate market across the state.

“The drop we’ve seen in the median prices in Metro Melbourne must be seen in the context of the rapid price growth Victoria has recorded over the past two years,” Mr Meehan said.

“Property prices still remain higher than they were in December 2020 – the post-COVID real estate boom has placed Victorian property in a stronger position than ever before, a trend we continue to see across numerous suburbs in metro Melbourne and our regional areas.”