As farmland gives way to suburban development, Officer is a magnet for new homeowners and one of Melbourne’s main growth corridors.
The satellite suburb sits 48km southeast of the CBD in the Shire of Cardinia, where homeowners snap up excellent, affordable properties with access to the city and enjoy the country feel.
Along with up and coming suburbs like Pakenham, Beaconsfield and Narre Warren, Officer is on the edge of the West Gippsland region and is also ideally placed to access the tourist and lifestyle areas of the Dandenong Ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Western Port.
The majority of the suburb still has low-density, freestanding homes and includes numerous thriving housing estates such as Timbertop, Arcadia, Kaduna Park, Savannah, Grandvue and The Rise.
If you’re after a family-sized home with a generous, landscaped block, and the capacity to accommodate several cars, there’s a lot to choose from here. Currently, the median property price in Officer is $550,000 for a three-bedroom house.
According to Barry Plant Pakenham director Dan O’Loughlin, the suburb still offers great affordability and fantastic investment opportunities for both first-home buyers and people looking to upsize to bigger land sizes.
“We are also seeing a surge in renters seeking rental properties due to the affordability,” Mr O’Loughlin says.
“You get a real sense of country lifestyle in Officer while having the convenience of being so close to all your metro needs. The schools are amazing, shopping options are plentiful, and easy access to surrounding suburbs and getting into town is simply no issue. There's a really great community vibe in the area.”
Plans for extra housing are underway as part of the revitalised Officer Town Centre. The development will offer medium and high-density housing, as well as offices, retail outlets and a civic centre, all of which have the objective of promoting economic activity in the area and creating jobs.
Commuters to Dandenong and Melbourne CBDs can access both regular and V-Line express train services which operate along the Melbourne to Gippsland route. Travel times are roughly 30-45 minutes to Dandenong, and an hour to the city.
Ample parks, wetlands, walking tracks and an array of established and scheduled sporting facilities give the area its considerable outdoorsy appeal. The Comely Banks Recreation Reserve is under construction on Bridge Road and will become a regional sporting hub where locals can practice and play AFL, touch football, rugby, cricket and lawn bowls as well as relax in a playground and open space.
Work is also set to start on the 10ha Officer District Park in the suburb’s north on Lansell Avenue. It will include some truly impressive attractions like a regional-level skate and BMX facility, walking tracks, downhill mountain board track and a cafe.
For wine-lovers and foodies, The D’Angelo Estate Vineyard is a family-run winery poised on an idyllic hilltop in Officer’s north. It’s a much loved destination where locals and visitors can enjoy cellar door tastings, eat delicious meals and listen to live music.
The major shopping precinct is the Arena Shopping Centre on Princes Highway and Cardinia Road, which offers a mix of major and independent retailers, supermarket and post office. Casey Central in Narre Warren is another shopping option and, of course, you can always make a day of it and head to the huge centre at Westfield Fountain Gate – just 15 minutes-drive up the M1.
Many new schools have opened in and around Officer over the past decade. The suburb is in the public schools catchment area for Officer and Bridgewood Primary Schools, Officer Secondary College and Officer Specialist School. Private and independent schools include Berwick Grammar School, Glenvale School, Heritage College, Maranatha Christian School, Minaret Islamic College, St Brigid's Catholic Primary School, St Clare's Catholic Primary School and St. Francis Xavier College.
Monash Health’s Casey Hospital is 15 minutes away at Berwick and provides jobs and healthcare services for the rapidly growing communities around the area.
The future is looking bright for Officer, with value for money and the lure of a tree change drawing large numbers of homebuyers to Melbourne’s southeast.