Cheap land and expanding commuter coach services from Sydney and Canberra into Goulburn is driving growth for the heritage city.
Twelve months on from launching a coach commuter service between Goulburn and Canberra, the cost has dropped from an introductory $15, to $6 and three daily services. Daily coach services are running from Goulburn to Sydney's Central Station.
An advertising campaign 'Right Now in Goulburn' in western Sydney suburban newspapers and Canberra's media is gathering momentum.
Mayor Geoff Kettle estimates about 2000 people are commuting daily from Goulburn to Canberra and Sydney. Cr Kettle says growth would be even stronger if the state government caught up with demand for transport services.
"If we had a much improved rail service I would suggest more people would make the move to Goulburn, given the ever-increasing [house] prices in Canberra and Sydney," Cr Kettle said.
"Even if we had half an hour faster service between Goulburn and Sydney, or Canberra and Sydney and a more reliable service I think a lot more people would use it."
The roll-out of the National Broadband Network a year ahead of schedule is drawing people to Goulburn. Cr Kettle says getting the NBN a year earlier is helping more small businesses to decide to relocate as Sydney's second airport is developed at Badgerys Creek.
"It is light industrial – it is good industrial development we want to see around the Goulburn area."
Cr Kettle said smaller businesses and people from Sydney, the Southern Highlands and Canberra were arriving at a sustainable rate. "It is not a huge influx all at once, it is just poking along," he said.
The two main shopping centres had plans for upgrades and in-fill developments near the central business district and inner areas were beginning.
Cr Kettle said NSW Planning had resisted moves for smaller rural residential lots, but real estate agents had indicated there was a strong demand.
Goulburn real estate agent Angella Storrier says blocks in new subdivisions on the edges of town were selling to young local families, and investors from southwest Sydney.
Ms Storrier says house price growth varied and was most pronounced at the lower end of the market. "They are anticipating 8 per cent per annum for Goulburn over the next few years, that's the prediction."
Ganter Constructions is developing 210 house lots on Goulburn's outskirts. A spokesman, Richard Toparis says another subdivision for 150 lots has just been approved over the road, and further afield, another 250 lots.
"I know the forecast for this part of the town, a growth area, is 2500 people over the next 10 years or so, but I think it will be more than that," Mr Toparis said.
"The average land-and-house package we sell is about $420,000, for four bedrooms, en-suite, double garage."
In new subdivisions 2000-square-metre blocks are selling for $230,000, and 700 sq m blocks for $135,000.