The UDIA Victoria State Conference was this year held in Bendigo, with the title ‘Connecting Victoria: A Vision for the future’.

Affordability and lifestyle have been key drivers in housing demand in Bendigo in recent times, particularly given its proximity to Melbourne and good public transport links.  Not surprisingly, affordability was a common theme through the conference, with the role of rural sectors in the housing market discussed.  It was commonly accepted that housing affordability (in particular in Melbourne) was one of the greatest challenges to our industry in recent times.  Unfortunately, the only real response to housing affordability that was presented in any great detail was the provision of more land for housing.

Bendigo was an appropriate venue for the conference as planning is well underway in relation to the $630 million New Bendigo Hospital development, one of the largest developments of its type in rural Victoria.  Due to its scale, the development will present a range of issues and opportunities for Bendigo.  While the Hospital is expected in the long term to lead to a demand for housing in Bendigo making it a more attractive market for residents and developers alike, the size of the workforce required to construct the development may create short term housing shortages.

Bendigo is clearly looking forward to the development of a world class hospital, with the scale of the development likely to have positive impacts on it and the surrounding area.