Bush boom towns where home prices are halved
Waterfront living, jaw-dropping views and spacious homes are on offer to a growing number of Sydneysiders moving to regional areas.
Many families priced out of Australia's most expensive property market are finding incredible value and good prospects await them in some of NSW's most popular regional towns.
CoreLogic's latest Home Values Index reports the typical house in regional NSW is less than half the price of Sydney at $481,513, while apartments on average are $410,023 compared to $747,238 in the city.
The coronavirus pandemic and flexible working arrangements has seen search activity and buyer demand in the state's regional centres skyrocket, Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said.
"Regional interest has been growing for a number of years, but has accelerated since COVID-19," she said.
"We've got more first homebuyers now looking at Orange than in traditional hot spots like Kellyville, while Bangalow near Byron Bay was the second most searched suburb in NSW on realestate.com.au last month."
For the price of a three-bedroom home at Nulang Street in Old Toongabbie, house hunters can snap up a landmark period residence on 4100 sqm at Armidale with a guide of $860,000.
The Wyevale Close home has five bedrooms, incredible character finishes and English-style gardens.
Instead of a three-bedroom townhouse in Castle Hill with a $975,000 guide, buyers could opt for a luxury five-bedroom home at Albury with an infinity pool and sweeping views of the town.
A 1257 sqm Port Macquarie home near the beach and with rainforest-like surrounds has a $980,000 guide - the same price as a one-bedroom apartment on the market in Queens Park.
While waterfront homes on Sydney Harbour can easily fetch north of $20 million, West Ballina has a four-bedroom home with direct waterfrontage and room for a boat for $930,000.
HEM Property - Port Macquarie agent Sarah Wright has seen a constant stream of Sydney buyers in recent months wanting not only a sea change, but more affordable housing.
"The influx of buyers from Sydney has created a mini sales boom and has driven our days on market down," she said.
"A lot are able to buy their homes here in cash because of the price difference."
Former Sydney resident Megan Carroll said the chance for a better lifestyle and a smaller mortgage made her move to Albury.
"The quality of housing you get, relative to what you earn, isn't comparable to Sydney," she said. "We live in a custom designed house and it's on 1500 sqm, which you'd struggle to get in Sydney."
She learned much about the city through an Evocities campaign and realised moving to "the country" would not be a step back for her career.
"It's been the opposite," she said. "It's easier to get into business and be successful here … I never felt like I lost anything by moving here but I gained a lot."
Originally published as Bush boom towns where home prices are halved