Many people dream of living in a regional area while still having the employment opportunities offered by big cities. With more people working from home, the COVID-19 pandemic has now made this dream much more realistic. The Blue Mountains is positioned perfectly to take advantage of this opportunity and has been dubbed as the #1 regional area nationally by Realestate.com.au to benefit from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before the pandemic, employers were moving to more flexible work arrangements however COVID-19 has supercharged this process. The majority of employees are now exclusively working from home. This has resulted in businesses discovering that their employees don’t have to be in the office 5 days per week. In fact productivity can actually be increased at home with reduced travel times to meetings and less distractions.
Once we get through the current crisis, it’s likely businesses will allow employees to continue working from home. This will enable people to buy in new areas by being no longer tied to the location of their workplace. This will increase housing demand in regional areas which offer a better lifestyle at a cheaper price.
Workers will require additional space if they shift to working from home on a more permanent basis. This will increase demand for more affordable, larger homes that you typically find further out from the city. By not having to commute as much this will enable people to make this move when they could not previously.
It is also likely that people will also steer away from high-density housing given the current restrictions. Having to self-isolate on a property in the bush is much nicer than being stuck in an apartment. Many people dream of having the lifestyle offered by regional areas so all of this will result in those people taking up the opportunity to finally realize their dreams.
After COVID-19, Australian workers will still be required to attend the office albeit not as regular. Therefore regional real estate markets that are close to cities with good transport are set for the biggest gains. The Blue Mountains is positioned perfectly being close to Australia’s largest capital city with great public transport and motorways.
The Blue Mountain’s median house price is $670,000 which is dramatically less than Sydney’s median of $1,000,000. This also makes the Blue Mountains very attractive to buyers who can get much more for their money. The city will ‘move’ even closer to the Mountains with the new Badgerys Creek Airport. Areas like Penrith will boom and become a new city center despite the Blue Mountain’s remaining relatively untouched.
While suburbs like Katoomba & Leura are seen as the flagships of the Blue Mountains, we feel from our core area of Springwood & Winmalee down to Glenbrook will see the most benefit being much closer to the city. An extra 30 minutes to Katoomba makes a big difference to commuting although some buyers make go further up to get a better price.
We definitely feel there will be a real estate boom in the Blue Mountains post COVID-19 however it is still very early days. We have seen an approximate 5% drop in property values in the Blue Mountains since COVID-19 which is set to drop even further. The economic impacts are much more severe than most people think with this being the biggest downturn since the great depression and it is going to take a long time to get back to where we were post COVID-19. This will mostly depend on how long the restrictions are in place and whether we have a V or U shaped recovery. Once we are back on our feet though, the Blue Mountains can definitely expect the real estate market to recover faster than other areas.