House Prices and Rents Surge in Regional Australia Amid Influx of Arrivals From Cities

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House Prices and Rents Surge in Regional Australia Amid Influx of Arrivals From Cities

By Natasha May

Locals say they are being priced out as NAB reports 24 of the 25 largest regions have had double-digit housing growth

Regional Australia has experienced record levels of growth across housing and rental markets in the last 12 months, according to a new report, as locals say the rising demand has priced them out.

NAB’s Regional Migration Impacts on Property Report, released on Tuesday, found “the continued flow of new arrivals into regional areas has placed an unprecedented level of upward pressure on property values, with many locations now experiencing dwelling values at new record levels”.

House prices rose most sharply in the southern highlands and Shoalhaven region in New South Wales, with an increase of over 38% in the 12 months to the end of January 2022, according to the report.

Julie Rynski, an executive at NAB for regional and agribusiness, said “underlining the unprecedented level of growth across the past 12 months, 24 out of Australia’s 25 largest non-capital city regions have experienced double-digit annual growth for houses”.

The report found the median dwelling value across the combined regions jumped over 26% in the year to January 2022, compared to 21.3% across capital cities for the same period.

It said strong buyer demand continued to “far outweigh” supply levels.

Rynski said it was a similar story in the rental market.

The highest surge in housing rental values was seen in the Murray region of NSW around Albury-Wodonga which was up almost 25% on the same time last year.

Emily Lightfoot, an accountant and single mother in Albury, said she was lucky her rental accomodation had not gone up since 2019 but she feared that if she was to lose the property she’s in, she’d be left homeless.

“I have observed other people in the area who have lived here their whole lives becoming homeless,” she said.

Lightfoot said, although the influx of people from Melbourne and Sydney during Covid had exacerbated the situation, the problem was not new. When she left a relationship in 2017 and had to secure her own rental accommodation, she was told the waiting list in the area for public housing was 20 years.

Due to health problems, Lightfoot relies on Centrelink for living expenses, while she runs a small accounting business to cover her registration and insurance costs.

“If I lose my accommodation, I’ll lose my business as well, as I have nowhere to set up my laptop and photocopier,” Lightfoot said.

She said rents had “gone through the roof”, which had seen locals pushed out as people from the capital cities with more buying power were securing properties by offering to pay more rent than advertised.

Lightfoot said the issue was drawing more attention as it’s now not just affecting low-income people but also middle Australia.

Before Covid she said it was not something that would have come up in casual conversation but now it was a common topic to discuss “the number of people camping down by the river”

The NAB report also noted that rental prices on the Gold Coast, where there had been record low vacancy rates of 0.6%, had jumped by nearly 20%, while the southern part of Western Australia’s outback had experienced a 16% increase “heavily linked with the booming mining sector”.

The report also showed that on a local government area basis, the Byron shire on the NSW north coast had the highest median house value of any regional LGA, with an average price of nearly $1,850,000, an increase of 30.2%.

Houses in the Kiama LGA, also in NSW, recorded the greatest increase, with a 43.9% uplift in the past 12 months.

“High-population coastal centres close to capital cities continue to be the main destinations for capital-city dwellers making a regional move,” the report said.

Looking ahead, the NAB report anticipated the pace of migration of capital city residents to regional areas would slow.

“While the affordability, lifestyle and strong infrastructure will continue to pull more capital city residents to the regions, the reintroduction of overseas travel, with borders reopening … and the willingness of many to travel domestically also, is expected to see a moderation in regional migration,” the report said.

*Note We Deliberately Miss Spell Some Words or Add Capital Letters To Get Around Big Tech Censoring.

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