FOR months now, Australians have been inundated with reports of a looming housing market collapse.
But while the median house price in Sydney has already fallen by $72,041 and Melbourne by $45,376 in just one year, another humble Aussie city has emerged as a surprising winner amid the doom and gloom.
That city is Geelong - an area once considered to be Melbourne's poor cousin, but which is now thriving in its own right.
One couple to benefit from Geelong's sudden success is Jessica and Daniel Lordan, who have made a staggering $79,000 in just four months.
The Sydney pair, who already own two investment properties in Sydney and one on the Gold Coast, snapped up a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Leopold in eastern Geelong for $439,000 in July through buyer's agency Your Property Your Wealth.
Just four months later, the dwelling is now valued at an impressive $518,000.
"We expected a little bit of growth, but not what we've seen - it has definitely been more than we expected," Mrs Lordan told news.com.au.
"We did a lot of research into different areas and were also considering buying in Logan in Queensland, but went with Geelong in the end.
"Based on what we've seen so far I think it's only going to keep going, with more growth over the long-term."
However, the Lordans' property is just one of many recording incredible growth in Geelong recently.
In fact, according to CoreLogic data reported in the 2019 McGrath Report, Geelong is the country's "leading regional city for median house price growth", recording a 9.8 per cent increase in home value growth in the 12 months to April 2018.
At the same time, it "remains more than $200,000 cheaper than Melbourne with a house price median of $505,000 compared to Melbourne's $740,000".
The report also revealed Geelong workers were paid a median $616 per week in 2016 - $84 more than Melburnians, even though the cost of living in the Victorian capital is higher.
It's a feat made all the more remarkable considering Geelong lost both its Ford and Alcoa steel plants, which is located just 70km southwest of Melbourne. Many thought it would prove the death knell for the city,
Instead, the federal government threw its support behind Geelong's $100 million rail duplication project and also pledged a further $100 million for the Advanced Manufacturing Fund for Victoria and South Australia, which helped the job market recover.
It's becoming an increasingly attractive option for Melbourne "escapees", with 6894 joining Geelong's 278,929-strong population in the last 12 months, according to the McGrath Report.
In addition to the Lordans' property, Your Property Your Wealth founder Daniel Walsh said a number of other Geelong properties bought for clients had recorded similar stunning results recently, with one in Norlane growing by $110,000 in 14 months and another in St Albans Park increasing in value by $51,000 in 13 months.
He said between 2011 and 2016, more than 10,000 new jobs were created in Geelong in industries other than manufacturing, including about 1500 in education alone, and that he believed the city's employment sector "would evolve rather than evaporate" thanks to a slew of new infrastructure projects.
"There is no doubt that demand for property in Geelong is soaring with days on market in a suburb like Newcomb, for example, falling dramatically from 74 in 2014 to just 22 days today with a price growth of 21.4 per cent in the past 12 months," he said.
"Local agents are even reporting that properties are selling after the very first open home.
"While first home buyers are eyeing Geelong because of its affordable property, investors are also in the mix because of its strong economy and growing population."
He said he expected that growth to continue, and that Geelong was clearly "ahead of the competition" when it came to property values.