Everything you need to know about the regional rental boom

Industry News

Everything you need to know about the regional rental boom
Posted by
on Oct 11, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has vastly changed the global and national landscape, from how we work down to how we exercise. Over the past two years, we have been forced to rethink how we live, with our homes becoming our office, classroom, gym and sanctuary. 

With all of this time spent in the home, some serious decisions have been made regarding the functionality and locality of where we choose to live. Some Australians have turned to home renovations and extensions to create more space and convenience, whilst others have looked to the countryside to provide the ultimate sea change. 

From Byron to Bargara rental prices are soaring, with city dwellers scouring the countryside in search of serenity, space and security. Is this mass exodus from the nation’s capitals only a short term trend or is the regional boom merely setting the price standard for years to come? 

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Why is this happening?

While it’s obvious that the pandemic is responsible for the high demand in regional areas, what is it exactly that is seeing so many people leave our metropolises for greener pastures? Domain chief of research and economics, Nicola Powell states that “people are moving away from the cities and, with interest rates being so low, spare cash from not travelling, and our homes becoming more important to us in COVID times, they’re making the change and buying in the country and on the coast.” 

Statistically, regional markets are booming while urban markets are reporting record high levels of vacancy, with the annual growth rate of regional dwellings being 13%, double that of urban dwellings. However, more factors have contributed to this than Aussies simply wanting a quieter lifestyle. With international borders firmly shut, the typical movement of immigrants and foreign workers in our capital cities has been almost non-existent, driving vacancy rates through the roof. Secondly, younger generations in regional settings move into urban areas at the beginning of the new year for schooling, tertiary education and more job opportunities. However, with working and schooling from home orders existing over the past two years, this annual relocation has not been feasible. 

Which areas are experiencing the biggest rental boom? 

It’s no surprise that Byron Bay and Noosa have been topping the nationwide regional markets since the beginning of the pandemic, with city dwellers swapping their short term holiday rentals for long term stays in Australia’s most luxurious beach towns. However, other regions have also seen large changes in rent when compared to this time last year. The Richmond-Tweed region in Northern NSW saw the biggest increase at 17.6%, with Central Queensland following shortly behind at 15.3%

Core Logic's research director, Tim Lawless states that “looking forward, regional housing markets remain well placed to record higher than average levels of demand, especially those markets that are located close enough to capital cities to provide a commuting option, and those lifestyle markets that are popular with sea and tree changers.” 

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What does this mean for locals in regional areas?

With many Sydney-siders moving out to the idyllic scenes of the North Coast, many locals have been left feeling the effects of the rental boom. With residents stating that more than 50 people are typically present at open homes in the area, and real estate agents encouraging hopeful tenants to increase their budgets and pay in advance to secure a property. Nathan Cardow, principal of Cardow and Partners Property Bellingen spoke to Domain, disclosing that the current regional property market is like “a bicycle shop, and we have no bikes left, we’re not selling much, and we’re not renting much.”

However, it isn’t all grim news for locals, as the new regional rental boom has seen over 50,000 new homes built under the HomeBuilder scheme. The HomeBuilder scheme is an Australian Government initiative brought in during the pandemic to stimulate the economy by providing incentives for Australians building new homes. The homes built under this scheme are set to provide a magnitude of new housing options for locals and city-slickers alike. 

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