Office workers swap cities for regional Australia

Australians are saying goodbye to the city and moving to the regions.

Australians are saying goodbye to the city and moving to the regions. Photo: TND

Real estate agents are reporting soaring demand for regional properties as office workers ride the working-from-home wave to calmer shores.

Younger Australians who left their hometowns to progress their careers are now returning to work remotely – enticed by more affordable homes and a less stressful existence.

And a regional jobs boom has encouraged many others to up sticks, too.

So much so, in fact, that capital cities lost more people to internal migration then they gained in the June quarter, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Capital cities reported a net loss of 10,500 residents over the three months to June 30 – the largest quarterly net loss on record – and separate CoreLogic data shows regional prices are consequently rising faster than capital cities’.

Surf Coast Real Estate director Andrew Brown says the Victorian seaside town of Anglesea has “not seen this level of demand for many years”.

“As soon as the doors were opened for Melbourne people to come back into the regions, from that point, the market really has shot up,” Mr Brown told The New Daily.

“Now they can work from home two, three or four days a week, they’d rather do that down the Surf Coast rather than wherever they were living.”

More Melburnians are moving to Anglesea now they can work from home. Photo: Getty

Mr Brown said some people were buying property today with a view to moving in a year’s time and either renting it out or using it on weekends in the interim. But others had made an immediate switch.

“Usually our market is almost exclusively for holiday-house buyers, but now there’s a market where people are selling where they live to come and live in Anglesea,” he said.

Mr Brown said everything he had sold in the past couple of months had been around the $1.3 million mark, though he added that people could find a three-bedroom home further away from the beach for $800,000.

This four-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Dubbo, NSW is on the market for $569,000-$599,000. Photo: The Agency Central West NSW

It’s a similar story in Dubbo, New South Wales.

Monica Henley, property partner at The Agency Central West NSW, said demand over recent months had been strong “across the board”.

She told The New Daily that younger Australians who grew up in the country were returning home after pursuing careers in the city, while others were moving regionally to take advantage of record jobs growth.

“Now that they can work from anywhere, they are moving back because they can,” she said.

Among other things, Ms Henley said people were drawn by the employment prospects, fantastic schools, community spirit, and Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

“It’s a beautiful place, it’s growing, and it’s got good community,” she said.

Regional jobs boom

The city exodus comes as regional Australia celebrates a record 54,000 new advertised job vacancies in October – up 13 per cent on the same time last year.

Data from the Regional Australia Institute shows that Dubbo and Western New South Wales experienced the fastest jobs growth – with job ads in the region up 92.6 per cent year on year.

That compared to a 24.7 per cent fall in job ads in Sydney.

“These are indeed record numbers that we’re seeing right now,” Regional Australia Institute chief executive Liz Richtie told the ABC.

“We know that it’s engineers. We know it’s accountants. We know it’s lawyers. We know it’s doctors. These are the opportunities there that are currently available.

“They’re well paid employment opportunities that enable city dwellers to rethink their lifestyle.”

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