COVID, the catalyst for lifestyle and real estate changes on the NSW Far South Coast

BOOM: Merimbula and the Sapphire Coast is experiencing a flood of home buyers and purchase inquiries. Photo: David Rogers
BOOM: Merimbula and the Sapphire Coast is experiencing a flood of home buyers and purchase inquiries. Photo: David Rogers

The pandemic has prompted many people to rethink how and where they live as people realise working from home is viable and can improve their lifestyle.

On the NSW Far South Coast, the phones of Bega Valley real estate agents are running hot with inquiries. Interest has been high enough that some buyers have purchased directly from video viewings.

The low cost of borrowing and volatility in the share market are driving investors into property too.

Trent Pool, from Merimbula Realty, said the September quarter was company's strongest in its 20-year history.

"This quarter's turnover is up 40-50 per cent and there's a lot of people from outside the area and investors in the market. Anyone sitting on cash is using that (for property)," Mr Pool said.

As COVID-19 is making people rethink their lives, families are starting to look at bringing up their children in a better environment than a city and having a more space with the option to grow their own food.

Natalie Scott, at Tathra Beach Real Estate, is seeing buyers from Sydney and Wollongong flock south.

"People in Wollongong are getting high prices as buyers from Sydney move in. Sydney buyers have never come this far south but they are now," she said.

While some are buying holiday homes with a view to retiring in a few years, there are others who are moving here because they believe it's a better place to raise kids, Ms Scott said.

"In January to March it was very quiet, you couldn't sell a bush block but now since the lockdown I can't keep up with the demand for rural blocks," Ms Scott said.

At Kim Poso Properties the owner said she had seen a lot of people from Canberra and Sydney.

"Over the last five years we have seen increased numbers from Sydney but over the last couple of months it has doubled since May," Ms Poso said.

"One family who purchased from me recently, the man worked in the city but has worked from home since COVID and so decided they could work from anywhere and wanted a nicer place to bring up the kids, lead a more sustainable life and not battle the traffic every day," she said.

Chris Wilson, at Eden's Chris Wilson Real Estate, said over the past three or four months the market had "bounced".

"People are voting with their feet - COVID might have been the catalyst. I've recently sold to a Canberra couple; the man only needs to go to the office one or two days and so they decided to live on the coast. It's about quality of life and security," Mr Wilson said.

But it would seem that behind the locked border between Victoria and NSW is even more pent-up demand.

All real estate agents mentioned have fielded multiple calls from potential buyers in Victoria keen to view once the borders are open.

Mr Pool said he has already sold two properties via video viewings while Ms Poso said she had calls from Victoria requesting digital inspections.

Mr Wilson said that a Victorian family from the Melbourne suburbs had just settled on a block of land.

"They've now sold their house so they've told me they will be moving up to build sooner than they had originally planned," Mr Wilson said.