Corio - bullied 'burb offers first home buyer & investor gold

You may already be familiar with the suburb of Corio. Many locals in Geelong will poo-poo any suggestion of living in the northern suburbs – especially Corio. Because increasingly in Australia, we like to stick it to poor people.

Fifteen years ago Corio came up in the Dropping Off The Edge (DOTE) report, and tops the list again in the 2015 study identifying locations exhibiting consistent, entrenched, location-based disadvantage. For nine of those fifteen years, the City of Greater Geelong’s Council Ward Funding program splashed $59 million across the region on projects identified as having little to no community wide benefit. The DOTE report finds that Corio is a community experiencing a complex web of persistent and hard-to-shift disadvantage. If only a lot more of that council money had been spent having a genuine crack at shifting disadvantage in Corio… Perhaps it’s not too late for the people of Geelong, Bellarine and the Surf Coast to commit to supporting Corio a priority, through both direct funding and indirect capacity building? The GROW program is a great initiative and other northern suburbs renewal programs are in train too.

70's era home in Corio

70’s era home in Corio

However, in a broader market of consistently rising property prices, disadvantage is simply not the full picture. In Corio, as with other neighbourhoods, you’ll find residents who own their own homes and cars, work hard and lead a quiet life. In some instances they remain in Corio to free up income for travelling and other recreational pursuits. Crime occurs everywhere, but incidents taking place in the northern suburbs over-index in the local media, feeding the stigma. If the press were permitted to report on family violence cases, people living elsewhere might be less smug about their postcode.

With no illusions about the community challenges, there’s still plenty of property opportunities in Corio, for both investors and owner occupiers looking for a home. The housing stock is actually very reasonable and diverse – entry level prices lend themselves to adding capital value quickly through renovations. Areas within more modern estates are holding up well, needing only cosmetic touches to suit your particular taste. The median sits at around $240K. The highest sales nudge the mid $500’s for redevelopment and owner-occupier fare alike.

New home in Corio

New home in Corio

Based on rental yields just shy of 6%, investors with a 80% loan to value ratio are a very decent chance of having a cashflow positive investment property in next to no time, (Norlane looks similar here).

Rail connections from the northern suburbs are fantastic, although Corio and North Shore services are not as regular. Lara is a short drive away for other peak hour connections with cheaper fares to Melbourne. University students who need to live independently will find cheap rent and a rail and bike connection from Corio to Waurn Ponds hard to beat on the budgeting front. Locals find bus connections below par. This is an area that could benefit from additional local routes and express services in to ‘town’ (aka Geelong’s CBD).

Northern Bay College

Northern Bay College

Northern Bay P-12 College is the main school in Corio, with two campuses and smaller learning communities within those physical spaces. St Francis Xavier School is a local catholic option, as is St Thomas Aquinas in Norlane.

Corio Village provides dedicated and extensive shopping and medical facilities. Come Saturday night you can enjoy the trots or greyhounds at Beckley Park, which also hosts a Saturday market. The Shell Cub, RSL and footy club provide important community connections.

If buying in Corio keeps you financially healthy, provides housing for your family, gets you onto the property ladder and is easily accessible to Melbourne and other parts of Geelong by train, then you’re well placed to shake off that old school Geelong negativity.

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