It was 1998 when corporate lawyer Laura Gibson played by Sigrid Thornton graced our screens in SeaChange. The show starts with her life turning upside down in the space of 24 hours — she doesn’t make partner at her law firm; her son is expelled from school, and she discovers her husband has been arrested for fraud and having an affair with her sister. Talk about drama.
There’s nothing like big life events to make you question the parts of your life that really matter. As dramatic and often traumatic as these times can be, it does pave the way for new beginnings. Just as Laura Gibson did in SeaChange, packing her children into the family station wagon and heading to Pearl Bay for a fresh start, many people have made 2020 their year to experience a sea change or a tree change due to the impacts of COVID-19.
The rate at which people are making these moves, particularly in Victoria, indicates a possible new trend that will increase demand for regional properties, and in turn, positively impact property markets that former city dwellers would like to call home.
According to a report published by the Regional Australia Institute before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Sydney and Melbourne had more people move to regional areas than the cities gained from 2011 to 2016.
So far, people have been moving from Australia’s capital cities to regional areas and towns still an easy, albeit longer than usual drive to the city in case one needs to make the trip.
Two key things are driving these people who opt to move to a home with more space, cleaner air and a quieter environment — the flexibility of working from home for many professionals this year and the employment opportunities offered in regional areas (for those currently looking for work).
What social commentators, property researchers and real estate agents are seeing now is a desire for people to enjoy a town that’s not as crowded as their inner-city lifestyle, while still having the ability to make a couple of city trips each week when offices move back to full capacity. It remains to be seen whether this is an initial knee-jerk reaction to the pandemic, or this desire for a change will stick post-pandemic.
That being said, if you were thinking of investing in towns further from the CBD, now may the time to start doing some in-depth research. There may be more and more professionals who are eager to swap their suits for a t-shirt for good.
Remember, this article does not constitute financial or legal advice. Please consult your professional financial and legal advisors before making any decisions for yourself.