An exodus of people from metropolitan areas to the country could be on the horizon, according to LJ Hooker Taree licensee and managing director Amanda Tate.
Ms Tate said a lot of people left Sydney at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown for an escape to the Manning.
"They wanted transitional accommodation and park themselves here for the next month or two to get out of Sydney because they were frightened," Ms Tate said.
A lot chose to stick around.
"We have been really busy with rentals in the fact that we would lease one property per day in our office," Ms Tate said.
A long term solution for COVID-19, such as an effective vaccine, could settle the market. Ms Tate doesn't expect any change however in the next year.
What we're finding at the moment is we're able to pick the cream of the crops of tenants to put in there because we're getting so many applications for one property.Amanda Tate
"I think a lot of people are looking long term and thinking we might have to live with this for some time and make lifestyle changes because of it," Ms Tate said.
With buildings and offices in the city now bare, employees have realised they can work from wherever they please.
Security, safety and a new lifestyle are also contributing factors.
"They are realising they can work from other locations and just go to the city when they need to. That's creating a market too," Ms Tate said.
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"I think people will realise it's a much better lifestyle, you come up here and there's space and it's not far to go if you want a weekend in the city.
"You can get caught up in the hype living in the city."
Of course to live here, they will need employment.
"If we get an influx of people from the city they either need to be working online or they need to find work or business," Ms Tate said.
"We need to ensure we have infrastructure to bring businesses up here with people who are moving.
"It's a good time for (MidCoast) council to cash in on that and try to attract major companies here that employ people."
She insisted there is enough employment opportunities in the Manning.
"There is work here if you want to work, you can't tell me there's no jobs here," she said.
"If you want to work you'll find a job."
She revealed rentals have almost doubled in recent months.
An average of 23 leases a month is a thing of the past, with the team now handing the keys over to about 39 homes per month.
I think a lot of people are looking long term and thinking we might have to live with this for some time and make lifestyle changes because of it.Amanda Tate
"We've hardly got anything to lease unless someone is moving out," Amanda said.
"A lot of agents don't, we've probably got the biggest rent roll in the area so we've always got ones coming in for whatever reason."
It's the tightest squeeze for rentals she has seen in her 24 years with the company.
"What we're finding at the moment is we're able to pick the cream of the crops of tenants to put in there because we're getting so many applications for one property," Ms Tate said.
"Anyone who has a bad reference is not even getting a look in."
Ms Tate said most tenants are on welfare payments. With the JobSeeker subsidy essentially boosting their income, the real estate agency is allowing some to catch up on rent.
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