There are many opportunities to invest in property in Australia – the tough part is narrowing down the search to a specific location with property investment hotspots.

The mining sector is creating substantial growth in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland, while tourism and specialised industries foster development in New South Wales and Victoria.

While the housing sector has struggled to fully rebound since the global economic slowdown, there has been expansion in certain areas.

Recent figures from the Housing Industry Association (HIA) indicate residential hotspots in the nation that have been recognised for their population and building growth for the year.

With hotspots defined as a local area where population growth exceeds the national rate (1.4 per cent in the year to June 2011) and the value of residential building work approved is in excess of $100 million, a couple of regions outperformed the rest of Australia.

The HIA–JELD-WEN Population and Residential Building Hotspots report identified the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria as standouts.

The ACT took the top spot for Canberra with $131.7 million of residential building work approved and a population growth rate of nearly 40 per cent – and Victoria took second and third for North Whittlesea and South Wyndham.

HIA chief economist Dr Harley Dale commented on these standings: “The prominence of these two regions in the latest Hotspots list highlighted their potential for further out-performance.

“This potential was realised with new home building activity in particular remaining the strongest in the country throughout 2010-11 and 2011-12.”

Victoria took nine of the top 20 property investment hotspots on the list, Western Australia took five, Queensland claimed three with the other three rounded out by the ACT and the Northern Territory.

The HIA is pushing for supply reforms that will help these areas fully realise their economic potential.