City-slickers looking for a sea-change in the Manning Valley should do so for the right reasons.
This is according to real estate agent Ivor Thomas, who said a lifestyle choice rather than the unpredictable COVID-19 pandemic should influence a shift to regional areas such as the Manning.
"The stats show a huge increase in the number of people who are viewing online and engaging with properties outside the metropolitan areas," Ivor revealed.
"A portion of those people will probably make the decision to move out of metropolitan areas to country areas.
"I don't think we're going to see an exodus as such with the real caution around that being if you are making decisions based on the current situation, what does that mean down the track?"
He said a lot of the inquiries have come from two distinctive demographics - young families and retirees.
A move to the Manning would be ideal for young families who are outpriced in the metropolitan marketplace.
"It's a great lifestyle opportunity but it's an opportunity for them to get into the real estate market," Ivor said.
I don't think we're going to see an exodus as such with the real caution around that being if you are making decisions based on the current situation, what does that mean down the track?Ivor Thomas, Taree real estate agent
"That's great because it helps build an economy."
Retirees, or those close to retirement, will look for a place to wind back and enjoy a relaxed lifestyle.
"They're the ones who have got the ability to increase the economy and spend locally," Ivor said.
But if you're expecting the finer things in life to be available in a regional setting, think again.
"I love being in a regional area and a lot of people would be really attracted to that lifestyle but it has to meet a lot of other areas of your life as well," he said.
"If you're expecting shopping centres to be open late at night and an abundance of cafes and restaurants to choose from, a region area is not going to be able to provide that.
"If you're looking for a bit of life balance where you could go to beach and be the only person there, this is a great way to do it."
Ivor said Manning residents are keeping their cards close to their chest and waiting to see what eventuates with the pandemic before considering selling their house.
"As a result of that, there isn't a lot of properties coming onto the market Australia wide," Ivor said.
"So while there may be a bit of reduced demand it's still meaning there's often more than one buyer competing for properties. That has kept things quite steady and resilient.
"Over time, people are going to look at things like renovations or a home office which seems to be a trend as well."
The pandemic shouldn't impact on consumer confidence to invest in property.
"Property has always been looked at as a safe investment and a safe place to put their money. I think that will continue to be the case," Ivor said.
"Property tends to do quite well and it's quite resilient so people are now looking at the longer term with property as a better investment.
"For people just living in their home, knowing they've got that safety and security of having their own property is something they can rely upon moving forward."
Property values will increase overtime as demand rises.
"We're in a very affordable area so that makes it a very doable thing and affordable for people to move to this area," Ivor said.
"In terms of value for money, we're in a great position for that."
He said the virus could have an impact on the market in the future but doesn't believe "it's going to completely turn the real estate market on its head or change things completely."
Earlier this year Ivor launched his own business, Ivor Thomas Property.
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