This article originally appeared in The Daily Advertiser and was written by Annie Lewis.
Two of Wagga’s northern suburbs have seen record sales finalised in recent weeks as the property market continues to benefit from a “regional renaissance”.
PRD Nationwide Wagga agent Ryan Smith has broken the record for house sales in Boorooma and Gobbagombalin.
“They were both gorgeous homes and both built by local builders that are set up with families in mind,” Mr Smith said. “We are getting a massive amount of locals inquiring about larger family homes, and that has been driving the demand.
“We can’t keep up with stock levels in these northern suburbs. Gobba, Estella, Boorooma are just red hot.”
A home on Bradman Drive, Boorooma, was sold for $979,000 within 24 hours of being on the market.
The former owner Zack Urquhart said he bought the land and then finished building the home about 12 months ago, adding he had done the same with a couple of other properties.
“We decided to sell because we knew the market was around its peak, and it was a good time,” Mr Urquhart said. “I didn’t expect it to sell so quickly and for the asking price.”
Mr Smith said it was not uncommon for homes to be snapped up in just one day, especially in the northern suburbs where a new school and the promised shops have increased demand.
“Buyers have their stuff ready to go, and they understand there is increased competition, so they are jumping in straight away,” he said.
“Records are made to be broken, and I am very, very confident there are going to be million-dollar sales in both these suburbs very, very shortly.
“That’s a testament to the quality of the building out here and also the infrastructure that’s out here.”
Zac Hibbard and Clarissa Cochrane, both 28, bought land in Gobbagombalin in 2019 to build on, but did not expect the home to sell at a record price for the suburb.
“We paid $150,000, and now for that same size block, it would be about $240,000,” Mr Hibbard said.
“The difference in value in two years is crazy.”
The couple knew the market was booming but had not planned to put their house up for sale until closer to Christmas. However, when their agent contacted them saying it was the right time, they decided to go for it.
“We said that we would be happy to pull it off the market if we hadn’t got any interest in six weeks,” Mr Hibbard said.
“We told Ryan the listing price we wanted, but we were happy to pull it and then we would put it up in mid next year and have a go again.”
But then, in under 24 hours, the house was sold for $899,900. A couple saw the home and within 15 minutes decided they wanted to purchase it.
“It was a surprise because it had sold before the open house,” Mr Hibbard said.
“Gobbagombalin is red-hot at the moment, and most things that have gone up for sale just get snapped up.”
Following a “regional renaissance” brought on by COVID, regional house prices are growing at the fastest annual pace in 35 years, according to a report released by PropTrack.
Senior economist and report author Eleanor Creagh said the pandemic drove demand for more space, larger homes, and a lifestyle change. She said the ability to work from home had seen many people make a sea change, tree change or shift to regional areas.
Ms Creagh said email inquiries to Wagga’s agents from all buyer types had doubled in the past 12 months.
“In the Riverina region, we have seen a 63 per cent increase in investor email inquiries,” she said.
“That is likely due to the fact that we are seeing strong rental yields and record low interest rates has also promoted investor activity.”
PropTrack’s data shows that Turvey Park, Ashmont, Estella and Narrandera have all seen median house prices rise by almost 30 per cent.
“While the trend in regional relocation has boomed with flexible workplace arrangements and lockdowns, the question will now be: is it this a flash in the pan, or a lasting trend?” she said.
“The migration shift from metro to regional areas may remain high for some time but begin falling back towards the long-run average as people start to return to normal life.
“Price growth in the regions is therefore likely to continue, but moderate from current levels. Already the pace of price growth is slowing across the broad market. We expect that to continue with the peak of the current cycle now behind us.”