Murray Bridge housing expansion pushes ahead at Hindmarsh Estate, River Park, Avoca Dell, Newbridge

Hundreds of homes are being built on Murray Bridge's outskirts to help its physical size keep pace with its growing population.

More than 200 people are moving to the rural city every year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Next year's arrivals will live in estates springing out of paddocks on every side of town.

‘We’ve got so much to offer’

One of the more visible developments at present is on Hindmarsh Road, where the first stage of an eventual 128-lot, 110,000-square-metre estate is under construction.

Raine and Horne principal John DeMichele, whose agency is offering lots for sale on behalf of developer Peter Day, said the low cost of housing in Murray Bridge made it attractive to both investors and resident homeowners, locals and newcomers.

Buyers paid a median price of just $235,000 for houses in the city in the second quarter of this year, according to the Real Estate Institute of South Australia - exactly half of the median price in Adelaide.

But Mr DeMichele said there were other reasons buyers were choosing the Bridge, too.

"As Murray Bridge is growing, we've got so much to offer as a township: the schools, the health, the shopping," he said.

"It's turning into a city.

"We're getting interest from interstate, we've had a Melbourne buyer; we've had one from the hills and one from the southern suburbs."

He hoped the size of the 770m2 Hindmarsh Estate allotments would appeal to families, while their relatively low cost – around the $80,000 mark – would encourage first homeowners.

He said about a third of the 25-lot first stage had sold already.

‘There’s very few riverfront lots left’

Developments elsewhere in the city will cater to a different slice of the market.

Land agent Holly Shires said lifestyle benefits were attracting high-end buyers to the River Park estate at Long Flat.

There, 16 lots – including a handful on the riverfront – are being marked out along an extension of Queen Louisa Drive, on land formerly used as an onion farm.

There are plans for another 23 lots in later stages.

"We're seeing people come in from large propertiers in the hills and the Mallee," she said.

"We'd appeal to people who are cash-rich through their businesses or an inheritance, people who've got boats, young to middle-aged families and semi-retirees who have a bit more control over their time."

The organisation she represents, Long Flat Developments, is also seeking a partner for a possible tourism facility at a later stage.

Despite the hefty price tags involved – blocks at River Park start in the $170,000 range – the glossy concept images will only be realised through the sweaty toil of developers such as Peter Kallin.

Mr Kallin said he had no intention of giving up the game, even after 40 years.

"Property's in my blood," he said.

"I started back in Adelaide, renovating houses ... it's like a disease once it gets in you.

"But there's a sense of achievement too, a sense of legacy, of creating something your kids can see."

Boundless plains to share

Development is also surging ahead in areas such as Avoca Dell, on the east side, and planned for the current racecourse once it closes next year.

Other major estates such as Pathways, now complete, have already added hundreds of new houses to Murray Bridge's available stock in recent years.

A 2014 report estimated that 170 new houses would need to be built in Murray Bridge every year until 2039 to accommodate the city's growing population.

Note: An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect price for blocks at River Park.

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