BUYERS are actively looking for more room to move, with one Townsville suburb seeing a 115 per cent increase in the number of views per listing this year.
Home of designer houses and acreage, Alligator Creek properties listed for sale this year have seen the average number of views per listing jump from 786 in 2019 to 1691 in 2020.
The huge increase in buyer interest is believed to be the result of COVID-19, and the changing priorities for buyers.
REA chief economist Nerida Conisbee said a lot of outer city and regional markets were benefiting from the population shift, as buyers sought out bigger houses on bigger blocks.
“We are seeing priorities shift towards lifestyle, and that’s been reflected in beach and treechange listings,” she said.
“And those buyers are either making the move permanently, or buying a second house to go to for a break.
“There is also people looking to become more self-sufficient and wanting greater comfort if there was to be another lockdown.”
Ray White’s Julie Mahoney, who has sold several acreage properties this year, said the boost in listing views was not surprising in the acreage suburbs.
She said she had no doubt the new interest was due to COVID-19.
“Oh yes, 100 per cent,” she said. “That’s what people are saying.
“They want space and lifestyle.
“They want to run chickens, grow veggies, and have room for guests.”
She said improvements in technology such as the NBN had also made it easier for people to work from anywhere, with “a lot of young families” making the move to acreage.
Alice River, another suburb known for its big blocks, saw a 104 per cent increase in views per listing, rising from 740 in 2019 to 1506 in 2020.
Idalia, which was impacted by the 2019 floods, has also seen interest rise sharply this year, with the average views per listing rising 106 per cent – from 627 in 2019 to 1294 in 2020.
The data was released by realestate.com.au, and shows that six of the top 10 suburbs saw the number of views per listing just by more than 100 per cent.
They included the Townsville suburb of Currajong (up 105%) and Magnetic Island’s Arcadia (up 102%) and Picnic Bay (up 100%).
Saunders Beach (up 98%), Balgal Beach (up 96%), Gulliver (up 94%), and Hyde Park (up 91%) rounded out the top 10.
Keyes & Co principal Damien Keyes said lifestyle properties and luxury homes were proving very attractive.
“It almost feels that if you came through COVID-19 relatively unscathed, it is like the switch has flicked and they are just doing it (buying),” he said.
“That seems to be the attitude at the moment and places like Townsville are big enough to have fantastic services, a great lifestyle, a high standard of living without the crowds and hustle and bustle, so buyers are making the leap now rather than waiting.”
REIQ zone chair Ben Kingsberry said the pandemic had changed the way people wanted to live.
“Sure, a unit in inner-Melbourne might have seen like a good idea but that appeal drops off when you have been stuck in it for six months,” he said.
“Suddenly regional towns like Townsville, with their freedom, big blocks, and lifestyle, look pretty good.
“And we are definitely seeing that interest from interstate buyers, and also from interstate investors who are setting up for the future.
“We also have more buyers agents in town than ever before.”
Mr Kingsberry said Magnetic Island was seeing strong interest from interstate, while interstate and local investors were moving on suburbs with good rental yields.
“I don’t expect the interest to drop off anytime soon,” he said.