Life improvement

The lure of Gippsland. Melburnians have their eye on us.

Stand-by for a rush to Gippsland and other regions once Melbourne’s “ring of steel” is dropped – not only by tourists but also by those looking for properties to buy.

One thing Covid-19 has done is make many people, and businesses, realise how doable working from is. Today’s technology makes it possible to work or study from home, or virtually anywhere.

The pandemic has helped to normalise the idea of remote work for many Melburnians who would normally face a daily commute to the office. With more of them now looking for a lifestyle change, there’s a growing surge of interest in moving to areas like Gippsland.

Interest in Gippsland pre-dates Covid-19. However real estate agents from here and other parts of regional Victoria are reporting increased buying by Melburnians, with CoreLogic saying regional prices have been more stable during the coronavirus pandemic than capital city markets.

Research from real estate listing website Domain has revealed that views per listing for the region of Gippsland/Latrobe jumped by more than 50% to the end of the July.

The Gippsland town generating the most interest was Port Albert, which saw an increase of 161% for views per listing compared to last year.

Port Albert has been popular in online real estate searches. Photo: Greg Allen-Pretty.

Local federal MP Darren Chester said this is an ideal time for regional areas like Gippsland to capitalise on the increased number of people working from home and to sell the benefits of a country lifestyle.

“I’m not surprised more people are looking to leave the city behind and make a new start in Gippsland,” Mr Chester said.

“The region offers magnificent scenery, great amenities and space for families to grow and enjoy our natural assets.

“Gippslanders are fortunate to have access to beaches, lakes, mountains, bushland and attractive regional centres and smaller towns.”

Mr Chester believes that more investment in infrastructure, particularly our telecommunications network, is essential to selling a new life in Gippsland to city commuters.

“Projects such as the Gippsland rail upgrade and the Princes Highway duplication will increase connectivity and speed up travel times between our region and the city and are key to convincing more people to shift here.”

Affordability, transport links and lifestyle are the three main factors driving people to regional areas, according to realestate.com.au.

Real estate experts say there is more growth to be had in regional areas as infrastructure continues to improve. In Gippsland, recent Real Estate Institute of Victoria data shows Bass Coast, Latrobe City and South Gippsland all recording positive price growth.

Drouin and Warragul continue to grow at a fast pace, and for those happy to move further from Melbourne, the Gippsland Lakes and other parts of East Gippsland would provide a true sea/tree-change.

For some, there is also the benefit provided by a $20,000 First Home Owner Grant in the regions, compared to $10,000 in metropolitan Melbourne.

Right now, Melburnians are locked inside a covid “ring of steel”. However there are high hopes they’ll be free to move around the state during Summer, which is good for regional tourism but also good for those looking for properties to buy.

The normalisation of remote working and study, combined with the lure of the lifestyle and affordability factors, means that with more infrastructure investment, Gippsland’s economy could be quite rosy.

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