Homebuyers hone in on outer suburbs and coastal lifestyle during COVID

The allure of a sea change and the desire for more space continue to tempt buyers during the COVID-19 pandemic, with lockdowns cementing the appeal of coastal and outer suburban areas.

New data from realestate.com.au shows outer suburbs within commuting distance to CBDs and coastal areas remain popular with serious or highly-engaged buyers.

The pandemic has fuelled a reassessment of living arrangements, realestate.com.au senior economist Eleanor Creagh said.

“COVID is seeing an ongoing reassessment in lifestyle. Many people no longer need to live in close proximity to their place of work due to the shift towards remote work or hybrid work structures,” Ms Creagh said.

The ability to work from home during COVID has allowed many people to make a sea change or shift to regional areas, while highly-engaged buyers have also been honing in on outer suburbs where they can get more space.

“We are seeing priorities shift,” Ms Creagh said.

“Many people have opted to move farther from the CBD and seek more space in more affordable outer suburbs, with remote working trends giving many the opportunity to live in an area that previously would have been impractical.”

Ms Creagh said it was not only proximity but also amenities that were being reassessed by buyers after spending so much time at home during the pandemic.

“Buyers are escaping lockdowns and looking for more space, perhaps a home office or a garden, and lifestyle perks like scenic coastline, beaches or quiet countryside.”

A highly-engaged buyer is someone who is likely close to making a purchase, based on their activity on realestate.com.au.

Record-low interest rates continue to fuel massive buyer demand and Australia’s housing boom during COVID-19. Demand based on views per listing on realestate.com.au hit a record high in August to be almost 50% higher than the same time last year.

Ms Creagh said buyer demand as measured by high-intent buyer activity on realestate.com.au was also holding within 10% of the record peak recorded in February.

“Mortgage rates remain low, we have continued rolling lockdowns in some states so people are continuing to look for that change of scenery, remote work continues, they’re still looking for more space – all those things that make life in lockdown a bit better,” Ms Creagh said.

“The market’s remained pretty hot. Prices have continued to appreciate. There are still people looking to get into the market with the prospect of continued capital growth.”

COVID shifts drive the most in-demand suburbs

The COVID lifestyle shift is evident in the most popular suburbs for serious house buyers in the 12 months to August, as people seek more space and beachside living.

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