ECHUCA is on a serious growth curve.
While recent numbers released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show only a slight increase of 1.02 per cent for Echuca from the 2011 to 2016 census, this gradual growth is set to accelerate.
According to figures from Campaspe Shire (supplied by .id the population experts), Echuca West’s population is expected to skyrocket 45.7 per cent from 2018 to 2036, while Echuca South-East will rise by 12.19 per cent and Echuca Central-East 5.54 per cent in the same 18-year period.
Campaspe Shire economic and community development general manager Keith Oberin said this acceleration was largely due to anticipated land development and release timing in the area.
It’s forecast the number of dwellings in Echuca West will increase from an average of 67 dwellings per annum to 3655 in 2036.
This surge in the local housing market is set to be a major driver of population growth in the area, potentially providing opportunities for households to relocate from other areas or new households to form locally (such as young people leaving the family home or separations/divorces).
‘‘Up to this time the supply of residential land within Echuca and Echuca West has been limited,’’ Mr Oberin said.
‘‘Council, in partnership with the landowners and the Victorian Planning Authority, is currently undertaking significant planning to cater for the expected growth.’’
Sales consultant Beau Lyon from Echuca’s Century 21 said this anticipated population boom was no surprise.
“We’ve definitely seen an influx of enquiries into the market over the past 12-18 months,” he said.
“People have been looking to retire, invest or have a tree change.
‘‘The enquiries into our market are always steady but we’ve really noticed a swell lately.
“People are looking to take advantage of our market, especially with what’s going on in the Melbourne market and given that we are the closest town to Melbourne on the river.
“New residents are coming from Melbourne, the regions around the city and other towns such as Ballarat.”
Across the river in Moama, there is less concrete evidence of future expansion, with Murray River Council unable to provide population growth forecasts.
However, ABS statistics show a gradual population increase in the past decade, with a 1.33 per cent rise from 2006 to 2016.
And it’s hoped this growth will continue.
The extent to which population growth in the twin towns is realised, however, will depend on demand and developer interest.
The continued migration of young adults from the district for secondary education and employment opportunities will also keep population growth in check.
But co-chair of the Murray Business Network Wayne Jenkin said any growth is good news for local businesses.
“We’ve definitely noticed an increase in the past couple of years of new businesses opening. I think it’s fantastic, population increase will offer more opportunity for growth and further expansion for the future,” he said.
And Echuca is not the only town in Campaspe shire facing expansion.
Residential land supply could also influence future growth in Kyabram, with a 21.32 per cent population increase projected for Kyabram East and an 18.7 per cent increase for Kyabram West.
But growth elsewhere in Campaspe will most likely remain modest, with small amounts of housing growth assumed in Rochester, Lockington, Gunbower and district and Tongala and district.
Council is anticipating an overall 13.07 per cent population increase across Campaspe by 2036.