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 particularly prevalent in Queensland.

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.

Mr Kusher said while increased viewings for properties in coastal and hinterland areas, such as Noosa, were interesting, he was surprised by the spike in viewing in the more remote areas.

“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 by the recent 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.

Once again, regional areas are set to benefit most after investors indicated that their top locations to migrate to nationally are regional New South Wales (21 per cent), regional Queensland (18 per cent), Brisbane (16 per cent) and regional Victoria (14 per cent).

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 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, Toowoomba Chronicle, Toowoomba, Page 55, 10 October 2020