Where is Mount Clear and Why is it Special?

This week I secured an investment property for two very special first-time investors.

Like many first-time investors, they have a young family, busy lifestyles, a potential home upgrade on the horizon and a focus on family time with their two boys.

They made a sensible decision to target a property that didn’t exceed out-of-pocket costs* by more than $100 per week, and in particular, didn’t require renovation works or constant maintenance call-outs.

I targeted Ballarat based on the target out-of-pocket cost limit of $100 per week.

Why Ballarat?

Ballarat offers a healthy combination of rental yields, capital growth and tighter vacancy rates than Melbourne’s current average.

Ballarat also offers so much more than many other regional towns because it has an interesting combination of growth drivers. It is home to almost 100,000 people.

Locals can gain employment in several sectors including government, private industry, manufacturing, health and education.

Interestingly, Ballarat is also home to many Melbourne commuters and tree-changers. Travel to Southern Cross Station takes a mere 64 minutes on the fast train, so it’s fair to say that some Ballarat commuters spend less time in transit than we Melburnians do on our metropolitan rail services – and in nicer style on the V/Line trains too!

While Ballarat is a great area to target for combined (yet moderated) growth and rental yields, there are parts of Ballarat, streets in Ballarat and neighbourhood pockets in Ballarat that I always avoid. It’s a diverse city with many suburbs, and like any area, it can’t all be good for investment.

What Makes Mount Clear a Good Choice for an Investor?

One pocket that offers great houses, easy access to schools and the university, private employment, half-hourly bus transport into town and a fantastic rental demographic is Mount Clear.

At just 6km (a 10 minute drive south) from the city centre, Mount Clear (and nearby Mount Helen) are home to the University of Ballarat, IBM and some decentralised government services such as the ATO and Emergency Services.

Mount Clear also boasts the highly sought-after Damascus College, government primary schools, government secondary schools and a kindergarden.

“Mount Clear is advantageous for investors because families and couples find the area very appealing.”

Flats, units, government housing and industrial pockets are NOT found in Mount Clear. In fact, Mount Clear is surprising consistent in terms of its 70s and 80s freestanding houses.

The streets are tree-lined and the terrain is hilly. Some properties look out over the treetops and enjoy stunning rural views.

What makes Mount Clear so advantageous for investors is that many families and couples on either secondment or contract find the area very appealing. As such, rents are strong and tenants are prized.

Professional tenants (i.e. lecturers, public servants, middle and senior managers and post-doctoral university students) are target tenants in Mount Clear. All the while student rental demand pushes up rental rates, keeping vacancy rates tight.

Road access to Mount Clear from Ballarat Central is via Geelong Road – a road tipped to increase in traffic by 50 per cent in the next three decades. 

The Property

The property I secured for my budding investor was last on our line-up of over ten property inspections.

In my own (verbatim) words to my investor: “it’s a no-brainer.” We acted swiftly in the face of competition.

Our opportunity to buy was based on the dreaded ‘best and highest’ offer, which is due by 12pm the next day.

As a buyer’s agent, I don’t like this type of negotiation because my objective is to purchase for the lowest possible price, and to make sure I beat my underbidder by a small increment, not a large one.

In this case, we secured the above pictured property for $251,100. With an appraised rental of $280 per week, our cash flow objectives were comfortably met and there is room for a bit of buffer too.

Mount Clear beckons any cash flow-focused investor to give it some consideration!


* In my calculations I do not take tax benefits (negative gearing or depreciation) into account. Any benefits that the client receives are considered a bonus. I solely calculate appraised rents, mortgage repayments as interest only, and other outgoings as follows: insurance, property management at 6.6 per cent, rates and maintenance of 0.5 per cent of the property value (per annum).

For more information about Mount Clear, read our suburb profile here.

Points of Interest in Mount Clear, Postcode 3350

Mount Clear College
Mount Clear Primary School
City of Ballarat

About the Author

Cate Bakos is an independent buyers advocate and qualified property investment advisor and has proudly been a property investor for 17 years. Cate has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry (Hons), Certificate 4 in Property Services (Real Estate), a Certificate 4 in Financial Services (Mortgage Broking). She is also a licensed real estate and a Qualified Property Investment Advisor accredited by Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA).

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