Skip to content

How regional Australia fared in 2020

How regional Australia fared in 2020

2020, as we all know, was a hard year but just as new growth is springing up from the site of last year’s bushfires, opportunities have come from the seismic shifts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regional Australia has been the biggest winner. An REA Insights report has found two main trends that have driven strong demand throughout the regions.

The resurgence of the mining sector

Australia is enjoying a mining sector boom as a result of the pandemic. The reasons vary, but the overall effect is the same. For regions which benefit economically from the boom, demand is stronger than ever.

China is deploying a range of economic stimuli to get their economy moving again. As a result, Chinese demand for raw materials is up, and Australia is a major supplier of those minerals.

Brazil, which is the world’s second largest producer of iron ore, has been hard hit by COVID-19. Production is down, and it is no longer meeting demand. Iron ore prices have soared in response to the shortage, and Australian producers of iron ore are benefiting.

Gold, which has traditionally been used as a hedge against economic volaility, has also been a strong performer.

Port Hedland, the highest tonnage port in Australia, is the stand out winner here. It exports a substantial amount of Australia’s iron ore, along with manganese, lithium, natural gas and other exports. As a result, it receives more enquiries from first home buyers than any other regional town in WA, and is the second most enquired area for investors.

Not all minerals are surging, though. Regions which are dependent on coal are not enjoying the same flow on effects. If you are looking to buy in a mining region, do some homework first to make sure its economic base is sound.

Higher demand for regional living

Even before 2020, there was a swing towards Australia’s regions. Regional cities within commuting distance of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane have been the main beneficiaries. Buyers want somewhere affordable, where they can live but still keep jobs in the nation’s more populous capitals.

Over the past five years, for example, Geelong’s population increased by a huge 14%. Bendigo, Ballarat and satellite cities around Sydney and Brisbane such as Illawarra and the Gold Coast have also seen strong growth.

With the advent of COVID-19, many businesses have shifted to remote working arrangements. This breaks the nexus between home and work: people in many industries can now work from anywhere in the country.

Unsurprisingly, this has led to a huge increase in regional searches. REA Insights reports that “regional search has grown stronger than capital city search” in every single state during 2020. In Victoria, which experienced the longest lockdowns, capital city search barely budged while regional jumped a staggering 60%.

Beachside areas are also booming, perhaps driven by a desire for a different lifestyle or just holiday homes for people who can’t travel overseas. Port Lincoln, Devonport and Margaret River are among the winners here. The New South Wales coast, all the way from the Mid North to Queensland, has also experienced unprecedented demand.

The longer term forecast

Both mining regions and lifestyle areas seem poised to continue enjoying strong growth. Cities adjacent to capitals continue to boom, but it’s the farther flung areas which have really benefited from the shift in dynamics due to COVID-19.

If you’re interested in buying in regional Australia, it’s worth doing some research on recent trends. Strong capital growth may continue for the foreseeable future, making now a great time to get into the market. Talk to an expert first if you’re unsure.

Related articles from the view

Jan 4, 2018

Why living in the country can be good for your health

It’s not rocket science; though science does play a part: rural living has many health benefits. Dozens of studies link the connections between nature and healthy living. Making a move to the country could very well be the best investment that you make, in terms of both finances and your health. Whether you have a…
Read more
  • Residential
  • Rural
Mar 26, 2018

Going off grid – is it for you?

With soaring power bills affecting many Australian households, the idea of living “off the grid” holds a considerable appeal. But what does it really involve, and would it work for you? With advances in environmentally friendly technology, living off the grid doesn’t have to mean a tent in the forest and water dipped from a…
Read more
  • Residential
  • Rural
Feb 21, 2018

Need to knows for a rural build

So you’re enthused about building your rural retreat. The land is purchased, perhaps an existing property has been demolished, and you have a blank slate on which to create your dream country oasis. Before you do carry out the build of your brand new rural sanctuary, there are some top tips to bear in mind.…
Read more
  • Rural
Mar 1, 2018

Rural land: how to do the groundwork

If you’re buying rural land to operate as a farm or to support any agricultural enterprise, it’s important that you understand the climate and conditions of the land you’re buying. Some parts of Australia better support crops, whereas others are perfect for cattle and still others may be the perfect spot for the vineyard you’ve…
Read more
  • Rural
Aug 14, 2018

City vs Country: What your dollar will buy you

People move to the country for many reasons. The fresh air, the relaxed lifestyle, the chance to bring up kids somewhere they can run for hours. One of the main reasons is that regional Australia offers a far more affordable option than the capital cities, so you get more bang for your buck. But how…
Read more
  • General
  • Residential
  • Rural