Popular coastal and regional real estate markets around Australia are benefiting from a “tectonic shift in demand” as well-heeled city-slickers seek alternatives to suburban living, according to Angus Raine, Executive Chairman of leading property group Raine & Horne.
“Because of COVID more Australians have realised they can work out of the office for one or two days per week, and thanks to faster internet connectivity, this work can be completed from a home located within a three-hour commute from a capital city, or even much further afield,” said Mr Raine.
On the Central Coast of NSW, beach suburbs such as Terrigal, Avoca, McMasters Beach and Copacabana that have high brand equity with Sydney buyers are attracting plenty of attention, according to Brett Hunter, Principal of Raine & Horne Terrigal.
"Currently we are selling around 60% of our housing stock to Sydneysiders who are moving to the coast to live," said Mr Hunter, who is also the Vice President of the Real Estate Institute of NSW.
"The Central Coast has always been a popular destination for Sydney sea changers. However, the impact of COVID-19 has driven up demand from buyers seeking to move away from the city."
Sydney buyers are seeking a broad range of Central Coast properties. Mr Hunter elaborated, “Price sweet spots include modern 2-bedroom apartments in the Gosford CBD, four-bedroom family homes in Avoca valued between $800,000 - $1 million as well as acreages priced between $1 million and $1.5 million.
"Apart from excellent real estate value, the pandemic has allowed more buyers to recognise they can work from home on the Central Coast but still be in Sydney faster for a couple of days of work.
“The soon to be completed North Connex will slash the daily door-to-desk commute to and from Sydney by around 30 minutes a day," Mr Hunter added.
“Our region offers city buyers a fantastic coastal lifestyle, while they can sell up in Sydney and downsize to the Central Coast to reduce their mortgage debt.
“This combination of compelling factors is helping to drive demand for Central Coast property for sure.”
COVID-19 and the NBN help attract Sydney buyers to the South Coast
On the South Coast of NSW, demand for property located between the towns of Berry and Nowra has skyrocketed with leading real estate firm, Raine & Horne Nowra and Berry selling three acreages priced between $1 – $1.5 million to Sydney buyers seeking regional getaways.
Jared Cochrane, Director of Raine & Horne Nowra and Berry, said, “Acreages around Nowra are attracting Sydney buyers, while demand for properties in Berry is across the board.
For example, Raine & Horne Nowra Berry recently sold a magnificent homestead on 55 hectares at 650a Illaroo Road, Tapitallee for $2.85 million, which attracted plenty of Sydney buyers looking for a weekender, noted Mr Cochrane. “Around 75% of our lifestyle property market buyers are from Sydney right now.”
“Some people are green and sea changing to this region to live, while others are securing weekend escapes after living through the COVID-19 lockdowns.
“This region has always been popular with Sydney buyers – it’s just that coronavirus has added plenty of gasoline to the fire.”
Mr Cochrane agrees that COVID-19 has given people more confidence about working from home, and this realisation has enabled cashed-up Sydney buyers to explore further afield to South Coast towns such as Berry and Nowra.
“The NBN is very good in this region and this is another factor driving demand from Sydney buyers.”
Southern buyer enquiries through the roof in Port Douglas
In Port Douglas in Queensland’s Far North, which is perched on the Great Barrier Reef, around 90% of buyer enquiries for houses and apartments are emanating from Brisbane and Sydney buyers, reports Raine & Horne Port Douglas.
David Cotton, Director of Raine & Horne Port Douglas, said, “Once the borders reopen, we expect more interest from Melbourne too, and currently plenty of business is being done online with buyers utilising video conferencing and virtual tours to inspect Port Douglas homes.
“We use technology extensively, and this has enabled us to make three sight unseen sales in recent times,” Mr Cotton said.
“People want to pack up from down south and pursue a sea change that helps them escape the crowded cities and COVID-19.”