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The flow-on effects of more than $500 million in public and private investment slated for Ararat over the next four years have already been felt in the housing market.

Despite housing prices increasing by as much as 80 per cent between 2001 and 2005, real estate in Ararat still represents excellent value for money. Ararat’s lower median home price - $179,000 - may account for the higher rate of home ownership.

For investors, rental returns are rising at about 10 per cent annually - a much faster rate than housing prices, generally.

Around 280 people are employed in the municipality’s construction industry across more than 60 businesses which collectively turn over $72 million annually.

Approvals for new buildings are running at around 50 per annum, with more than 400 lots either approved or under consideration for subdivision in the near future.

According to 2006 Australian Census data, a higher proportion of Ararat residents live in a separate house than is the norm for the rest of regional Victoria. Of the 4,423 private dwellings in Ararat, 4,134 are separate homes.

Future amendments to the Council’s planning scheme will see further Rural Living (RLZ) and Residential Land (RZ) being made available for development within the municipality.