Melburnians are taking extreme measures to escape the city’s stage four lockdown by upping and moving to the countryside, which has recorded far fewer cases of coronavirus.

Real estate agents and academics have noticed an uptick in interest in regional centres around Melbourne, particularly concentrated in areas like Castlemaine and Bendigo.

The demand for rural properties is so high that sometimes a property is listed in the morning and it’s sold by the afternoon, according to Rob Waller from Waller Realty in Bendigo.

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Areas of interest in regional Victoria include Smythesdale, Linton, Buninyong, Castlemaine and Bendigo, where houses can be bought for less than $500,000.

It’s a phenomenon not reserved for Victoria.

Across the nation, Aussies are relocating to the countryside to leave behind the crush of people, and also to escape the uncertainty of another lockdown being called.

Professor Deborah Lupton from the University of NSW has been researching the long-term impacts of COVID-19 and told “People are moving to the country now that they don’t have to commute to work in the city as much.

“Real estate agents are having more interest in non-metropolitan areas,” she added.

“People in rural areas feel safer and more protected.”

She said this was only the tip of the iceberg, as perceptions around working from home are changing and could lead more people to seek a rural lifestyle.

Property analysis firm CoreLogic recently commissioned a report into regional migration during COVID-19 and found a clear trend: Regional property markets are flourishing during the pandemic.

Sales in regional areas are much more lucrative and resilient than their capital city counterparts at this time, the report found.

Researchers compared the rolling quarterly change in dwelling values for Queensland‘s Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, New South Wales’ Illawarra and Newcastle, and Victoria’s Geelong and Ballarat with the capital cities in those respective states.

Every regional locale rebounded much more quickly from COVID-19 than their capital city equivalents.

Illawarra and Ballarat have even seen a two per cent increase in prices since last year.


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