House prices in regional and coastal Australia have skyrocketed in the past year as families and retirees have swapped European holidays for new homes, but it is creating a crisis in one Queensland region.
CoreLogic data shows house prices in Victoria’s Grampians, Noosa and the Noosa Hinterland in Queensland, the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia and Maranoa in south-west Queensland jumped at least 13 per cent last year as coronavirus cut off overseas trips and working from home made it easier for people to move away from cities.
The picturesque Grampians, in Victoria’s west, recorded the biggest leap in house prices – rising 16.6 per cent in the year to December 31.
Grampians real estate agent Nic Cullinane said he more than tripled the number of homes he sold last year as coronavirus-weary Melburnians made the leap.
“Even before COVID, people were saying they were sick of Melbourne; the crime, how long it takes to get anywhere,” Mr Cullinane said.
“Then COVID kicked in and it really … [motivated] those sitting on the fence.
“They want to get away from everyone and have time and space away from the busy Melbourne lifestyle. People told me they moved because they were sick and tired of lockdown.
“The other thing is how affordable properties are; you can buy a decent house for $350,000.”
While a large number of those making the change were retirees, Mr Cullinane said locals were also moving around to upsize or downsize, and young families moved to the area for space.
“The market here hadn’t moved in 12 years,” he said.
“Then, all of a sudden, it’s gone up.
There are properties that have gone up $100,000 [in value] in a year.”
A similar story has played out on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia, where prices have jumped 14.6 per cent in the past year.
Real estate agent Kym Stanitzki said the peninsula quickly become a retirement destination in the past 12 months as European holidays were canned.
“The volume of buyers has gone through the roof,” Mr Stanitzki said.
“When people couldn’t go overseas, they bought houses with a view so that the whole family could go on holiday together.”
Mr Stanitzki said over the past six years, sales had been “ticking over” but “problematic stock” such as houses that desperately needed upgrades, remained unsold.
“That’s changed,” he said.
Mr Stanitzki said more buyers were telling him the shift to working from home meant they could be more flexible with where they wanted to live.
“Why not be in a town with a sea view rather than be in the city when you don’t have to?” he said.
Mr Stanitzki said the trend was likely to continue.
“We’re seeing people just wanting to get out of the city, away from crowds. COVID scared people.”
Mr Stanitzki said coronavirus also forced people to holiday in their own backyard, opening their eyes to the lifestyle they could have just a few hours from Adelaide.
“Summer tourist numbers have been off the scale. Supermarkets are running out of stock,” he said.
“That has created more interest because there are more people in the area and they fall in love with it.”
Noosa hits capacity as city dwellers make lifestyle move
Second on the list for house price growth was the coastal town of Noosa in Queensland.
Prices rose almost 15 per cent during 2020.
With demand for properties continuing unabated and supply diminishing, real estate agents and locals expect them to go even higher.
Noosa real estate agent Tom Offermann said real estate activity over the past nine months had been “unprecedented”.
“Rental vacancy rates are the lowest they have ever been, the number and value of sales was up 60 per cent compared to preceding years, and the growth in property values has been extraordinary,” he said.
Mr Offermann said schools were filling up fast and employment opportunities were drying up as families from Sydney and Melbourne rushed to snap up homes, often buying properties based just on photos.