In 2009, the southern Illawarra town of Albion Park was included in a list of Australia's "top 10 bogan suburbs".
At the time, now defunct news commentary website The Punch described Albion Park as "bogan heaven on a stick", citing its pub and crime record among the reasons for inclusion.
Some residents may have viewed it as a slur on the suburb's name, but others in Albion Park embraced their area's new-found notoriety.
A tongue-in-cheek, home-made sign proclaiming 'Welcome 2 Bogan-ville' was even placed on the fence at the intersection of Terry Street and Tongarra Road.
More than a decade later, Paul Grebert, treasurer of the Albion Park Chamber of Commerce and a long-time resident of the suburb, said while some local residents chuckled about it at the time, Albion Park's popularity and housing options had vastly increased since then.
"We had a really good laugh that some people seemed to take it seriously," he said.
He said the suburb offered plenty of benefits that were appealing to many home buyers.
"It's a great place to live, and this is a really attractive area to bring people down to," Mr Grebert said.
"To the east you've got the ocean, to the west you've got the bush, to the north is Lake Illawarra, and then you've got the magnificent South Coast.
"We're also the gateway to Macquarie Pass and the Southern Highlands."
Mr Grebert and wife Marilyn lived in the neighbouring suburb/transport hub of Albion Park Rail (site of the Shellharbour Airport) for ten years.
"I was a Warilla boy and Marilyn lived at Lake Illawarra, and we just wanted to stay on the southern side of Lake Illawarra," he said.
They moved to Albion Park more than 30 years ago. The couple are now both retired and living in Nepean Place.
"It's the country type of lifestyle, but you're only a short drive to metro... It's got a real country feel to it, and it's a pretty tight-knit little community here," he said.
"I love the bushland and the country feel," Mrs Grebert said. "People still say hello and smile at you."
Mr Grebert said compared to newer developments west of Albion Park, the town offered bigger blocks of land, "space around your house, facilities for the kids, the bush".
Scarborough Circuit resident Heather Campomar is another who has found a long-term home in Albion Park, having lived there for 29 years.
In decades past, Mrs Campomar said it was a running joke among some outside the suburb to refer to as Albion Park residents as "bogans" and "country bumpkins", due to its country town feel.
However, she said sentiment had shifted away from this partially due to the influx of Sydney-siders, and it was now a town that was in demand among home buyers due to its many benefits.
She said the best aspects of living in Albion Park were that it was "close to the local shops, doctors, chemist, schools, swimming pool... all within walking distance".
"The reason for moving to Albion Park was Centenary Stage 6 was a new estate and was the most popular place to live, and land prices were affordable to start a new life as we just got married," she said.
During the time she's lived there, Mrs Campomar said Albion Park had "tripled in size and is still growing".
"A lot of younger people are buying in Tullimbar and Calderwood estates as the home and land packages are affordable," she said.
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According to CoreLogic, the median sales price of houses in the area is $660,000.
The median sales price was $600,000 in June 2020, and $660,000 a year later.
Ben Linnehan from Ray White Albion Park said there were buyers travelling down from Sydney and other parts of the Illawarra, but there were also a lot of local upsizers, particularly families, looking to buy in Albion Park.
"You've got the bypass that now lands on the doorstep of town, the proximity to access to that freeway, access to Shellharbour City and Stockland, the beaches, and it's the most affordable area in the Illawarra if you want a fairly new house."
Mr Linnehan said one of the big drawcards for most of those buyers was value for money.
He said the council installing new parks, redevelopment of the Croome Regional Sporting Complex, and an abundance of bike tracks were all assets for the town "and really driving the growth of Albion Park, Tullimbar and Calderwood".
"I think the bypass has helped prices," he said. "I think people see it as a much easier option than possibly buying in West Dapto or Wongawilli."
While there is no firm date being offered for when the Albion Park Rail bypass will be finished, it is reportedly well ahead of schedule.
"The Albion Park Rail bypass remains on track to be completed in late 2021 and is still a year ahead of schedule," a Transport for NSW spokesman told the Mercury in July.
Richard Griffiths from Ray White Albion Park said the bypass would have a positive impact on house prices.
"We've had people say they wouldn't have previously recognised the area as a place they could live," he said.
"Now the bypass is happening, they're realising they can. It's benefited the town a great deal I think."
Mr Griffiths said Albion Park had long been a relatively entry-level area, although the prices have gone significantly higher in the past 12 months.
"It's still an entry-level, stepping stone type of area where people start their real estate journey," he said.
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Recent sales in the suburb include 5/7 Cascade Circuit for $700,000; 8 Moles Street for $858,000; and 12 Waterford Terrace for $1,000,000.
Richard Cooper from Illawarra Estate Agents is the selling agent for 13 & 13a Chaffey Way, Albion Park.
Built amongst new homes and situated in a newly established estate, they are two open plan, Torrens Title duplexes.
They offer escarpment and lake views, with an expected completion date of early 2022. They have a price guide of $769,000 each.
"It's on a nice street, a cul-de-sac, and it has some lovely escarpment and lake views," Mr Cooper said.
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Ben Linnehan is the selling agent for 17 Valley View Crescent, Albion Park.
The four-bedroom, two-bathroom home is set on 781 square metres, and has a price guide of $960,000.
Mr Linnehan said the home was attracting plenty of interest from upsizers.
"The standout feature of that particular property is the actual size of the block - it's very difficult to come by nearly 800 square metres at the moment in the area," he said.
"Especially with (nearby developments like) Calderwood, they're building 350, 375 and 400's (square metre blocks) now. That's like the normal size out there.
"It's a decent sized block in a nice, new area, and it's only six years old."
Mr Griffiths is the selling agent for 11 Helena Place, Albion Park.
The four-bedroom, two-bathroom home is set on 571 square metres, and is currently under offer.
Mr Griffiths said the home was attracting plenty of interest from local buyers.