Regionalisation: The positive real estate trends exacerbated by COVID-19: HotSpotting's Terry Ryder

Regionalisation: The positive real estate trends exacerbated by COVID-19: HotSpotting's Terry Ryder
Regionalisation: The positive real estate trends exacerbated by COVID-19: HotSpotting's Terry Ryder

One of the recent trends in real estate is more people moving from the big cities and buying in lifestyle areas within an hour or two of the city.

This movement has been enhanced by technology which allows people to work from home or by improved transport links.

I’ve described Regional Victoria as the strongest market in the nation over the past two years, based on data on sales activity and price growth in multiple locations.

And much of the uplift in markets within an hour or two of Melbourne – in the north, north-west and the south-east – has been driven by buyers out of Melbourne, both home-buyers and investors.

In the six months before the onset of the virus-induced restrictions, there had also been a notable increase in sales activity, with consequent positive impact on prices, in regional areas close to Sydney, including the Central Coast, the Southern Highlands and the Wollongong region.

I believe this trend will be further exacerbated by the current situation, which is forcing people to work from home.

Some will make it a permanent arrangement – and increasingly we are seeing media commentary to that effect.

An article last week in the Herald Sun in Melbourne said:

Many Melburnians will leave the city behind for regional Victoria during the coronavirus crisis, property experts say.

Agencies are reporting a “significant increase” in inquiries about regional properties from city dwellers “seeing the benefits” of working from home due to the COVID-19 lockdown, and keener than ever to escape the “madness” of Melbourne life.

Others are viewing the pandemic-impacted market as offering opportunity to get their feet on the property ladder in affordable areas.

A report from JLL says the COVID-19 quarantine policies have sent employees of all levels – from chief executives to junior staff – home with laptops to their kitchen tables.

“With this mass experiment under way, there is a belief among workplace experts that such set-ups could become more prevalent at companies large and small,” it says.

“Well beyond the peak of the crisis, corporate culture and, more than likely, the digital skills of global workforces, will have changed in significant ways. Location and working hours could become more flexible, leading to better productivity and improved work life balance for individuals.”

Gillian Rowbotham, human experience director – Australasia at JLL, says: “Given how suddenly everything changed, that tech has stood up pretty well, and people are mostly enjoying the flexibility to manage their day according to what needs to be done, I think we are inevitably entering a new dawn in the workplace experience.”

Interior architect Iva Durakovic suggests the success of working from home will mark the end of the office as we current know it, with remote working becoming the new norm.

The Associate Lecturer at UNSW Built Environment believes that remote working arrangements will continue long after the coronavirus pandemic has passed and will also change the nature of office spaces for the better.

"We already saw this idea of a distributed workforce getting stronger - and this will only accelerate it,” she says.

She says that widespread working from home is shaking up the role of the traditional workplace and highlighting what is truly valuable.

"It will break down what we need to come to a traditional workplace for, like face-to-face contact, and the way the future work environment looks. And it will be very different."

All of this has consequences for real estate. It provides another good reason for property investors to consider regional real estate, which offers greater affordability and higher rental yields than the big cities – and, if you choose your location well, good potential for capital growth.

We’ve seen excellent price growth in the past year or two, not only in Regional Victoria, but also in regional locations in NSW, Tasmania, South Australia and increasingly in Queensland.

TERRY RYDER is the founder of

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Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder is the founder of

Residential Market Trends COVID-19


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