NEW LOOK: Heading into Bundaberg visitors will notice a difference with the installation of a new welcome sign.
NEW LOOK: Heading into Bundaberg visitors will notice a difference with the installation of a new welcome sign.

SEA CHANGE: Masses leave big smoke to call regional Qld home

City slickers are packing up their urban dwellings to relocate to Bundaberg for a change of landscape and lifestyle.

Whether they’re looking to escape the concrete jungle and opting for a calmer scenery or are just taking advantage of affordable house prices in regional Queensland, people from major cities are packing their bags to head north.

Weekes Property Co director Ryan Weekes said he had definitely noticed a recent increase in migration to the local areas from across the state and country.

“A lot of people from Toowoomba, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Sunshine Coast and Southeast Queensland are coming this way, as well as Sydney-siders, Victorians and people from Tasmania,” he said.

“I think this was happening pre-COVID-19, but the pandemic has just amplified it … it’s probably had a lot of people reassess their lifestyle and what they were doing in the city.

“And why wouldn’t they (move to Bundaberg)? Look at what we’ve got here.”

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) corporate affairs manager Olivier Björksäter-Bleylock said a study conducted by the National Broadband Network (NBN) late last year showed Bundy has become a prime destination to relocate.

“Interstate migration into Queensland is going to continue for at least 12 to 18 months into the future and it was around 18 per cent (at the time of the study) which is extraordinarily high,” he said.

“People living in the Sunshine Coast are taking advantage of market conditions and have decided to sell their property and move north and areas where a number of people have been moving to is Bundaberg and the Fraser Coast.

Mr Björksäter-Bleylock said there were many benefits of moving to regional Queensland areas like Bundaberg, including affordability, better lifestyle and the opportunity to achieve a work-life balance.

“It offers more affordable mortgages in a region you’ve always thought about and they get the advantage of access to the coastline, lifestyle and liveability with a little bit of extra money in their back pocket than they would have had living on the Sunshine Coast,” he said.

“We’ve also seen a big shift in working from home so those people have now discovered it doesn’t really matter where their home is.

“Isolation has affected people and shown us that we need to have that connection with others, so a lot of families have relocated to be closer to each other and students have returned home to get their own property in regional Queensland.”

Recent data presented by REIQ revealed Bundaberg has one of the state‘s tightest rental markets with a vacancy rate of just 0.4%.

With the region declaring a record-breaking shortage of rental vacancies, concerns have been raised that the mass relocations will place a higher pressure on this market further, something Mr Weekes said shouldn’t impact Bundy greatly.

“While there’s a demographic shuffling that may be renting, a lot of people moving into the area isn’t from potential tenants but instead from investors looking to purchase a property,” he said.

“A lot of the demographic shuffling are retirees or close to retirement age and the people I’m seeing are from a purchasing point of view so it probably won’t put too much pressure on the rental market.”

Mr Weekes said the local rental market had tightened due to a shortage of available properties which had escalated since COVID-19, but he felt the future looked bright with more investment opportunities underway.

“From a sales point of view, my investment inquiries have increased significantly so there’s definitely an interest in buying investment properties in our region due to the return,” he said.

“With more investment properties secured, it should increase the flow and make a better chance for tenants to get a property.”

If you require housing assistance the Bundaberg HSC site is at 16 Quay St and you can phone 1800 809 835 or 4331 7900.

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