People are still determined to make that sea or tree change six months after the onset of COVID-19.
According to realestate.com.au, a property listings website, regional areas have registered a significant increase in popularity, in a trend that is particulary prevalent in Queensland.
The small town of Biloela in the Banana Shire received a 197 per cent growth in views per listing for houses for sale in August, compared with March, followed closely by the Central Highlands, which showed a 182 per cent rise in views. Port Douglas and Daintree (147.1 per cent), Noosa (136.2 per cent) and Maryborough (131.7 per cent) rounded out the top five places of most interest.
Biloela agent Mark Simpson of Ray White said that while the town’s market was far from going gangbusters, it had improved on a few years ago.
He said most inquiries related to rental properties off the back of some large infrastructure projects occurring in the area, which had attracted workers from farther afield and tightening vacancy rates.
When it comes to rental viewings statewide the Sunshine Coast dominated searches on realestate.com.au, with Maroochy registering a growth in views per listing of 258.1 per cent. Noosa made another appearance with 217.7 per cent, followed by Mudgeeraba – Tallebudgera on the Gold Coast gaining 194.9 per cent more eyeballs, the Noosa Hinterland (194.5 per cent), and Caloundra (183.3 per cent). New South Wales is experiencing a similar trend with place in the Richmond Valley Hinterland most popular.
Cameron Kusher, director of economic research at REA Group said: “Regional markets have experienced some of the largest increases in views per listing for both for sale and for rent properties during the COVID-19 period.
“Whether this increase translates into a mass exodus from metro areas remains to be seen, but it does show a change in consumer behaviour, which is the result of Australians wanting more space, cheaper property and working from home,” he said.
“I didn’t expect they would be areas that would attract an increase in demand. Perhaps the onset of the recession may have expedited some people into early retirement, which may account for the increase. It would be interesting to know the demographic of those searching in these areas.”
The trend for regional migration, was however backed this week by the Property Investment Professionals of Australia’s (PIPA’s) annual investor sentiment survey, which consults more than 1100 investors.
The survey showed that while market confidence is up, COVID-19 has led investors to reconsider not only where they buy, but also where they live.
PIPA chairman Peter Koulizos said most investors cited lifestyle factors, housing affordability and working from home as the main drivers.
“It’s no surprise that COVID-19 and made many people reconsider their lifestyles with
nearly a fifth of investors indicating they are contemplating a move,” Mr Koulizos said.
Queensland is a particular hotspot with 30 per cent of investors investors agreeing that it offered the best prospects over the coming year.
The proportion of investors that said regional markets were the most appealing increased to 22 per cent, up from 15 per cent in 2019, with coastal locations also on the rise, almost reaching 12 per cent, up from 8 per cent last year.
Lisa Hughes, realestate.com.au, 19 September 2020