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9 things to consider before buying regional property.

It’s no secret that tree and sea changes became massively popular during the last few years, and while the ‘great migration’ may have slowed somewhat, relocating to regional areas is still proving appealing for many city-dwellers.

With costs of living on the up and all signs indicating that working from home or in a hybrid capacity is here to stay for the foreseeable future, the arguments still stack up for swapping a metro for a regional location.

Whatever your motivation for relocating to the regions  – be it economic, lifestyle or both- like when making any major life change it pays to be as well-informed as possible. Here are some of the key elements you should consider before purchasing a regional property.

Look into government assistance schemes

If you’re a first home buyer looking to buy regionally, first check if you’re eligible for the federal government’s Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee scheme. This allows buyers to purchase a regional home with as little as a 5% deposit without paying Lenders' Mortgage Insurance - representing a massive saving on the upfront costs of buying property.

Research, research, research

If you’re considering buying in a regional area, particularly one you don’t know well, be prepared to do LOTS of research beforehand.

Get a clear picture of the local property market using resources like CoreLogic’s Property Value website. Property listing portals can also be a good source of information on property market statistics and characteristics.

Bear in mind that past growth in property values doesn’t guarantee future returns, and beware of areas that appear too cheap as this could mean a lack of amenities, a dwindling population or low demand, making selling much harder down the track.

On the other hand, significant infrastructure projects like major transport, health or education facilities in the works are usually good indicators of growth for a region.

Consult your lender

Some lenders may not be keen on lending for a property in a regional and sparsely populated area with few growth opportunities, as opposed to somewhere with a larger and expanding population, where values are likely to increase. To be on the safe side, always speak to your lender first before setting your heart on a particular area.

Visit in person

Even if you’re a long way away, you should always visit an area and inspect potential properties in person (along with organising your own building and pest inspection.

This allows you to get a feel for a property’s immediate neighbourhood and the vibrancy of the region/area in general. A lot of vacant shops can be a tell-tale sign of economic or population decline in an area.

Consider the climate

Research the climate year-round so you know what type of weather you’re in for, especially if it’s an area you’ve only visited in a particular season before. Better still, if you can, try and visit in the seasons known for the most extreme temperatures – especially if it’s an area known for its scorching summer and/or freezing winter. Give yourself time to acclimatise to the weather once you move.

What about work?

Unless you’re lucky enough to already have a job that allows you to work from anywhere, or luckier still and don’t need to work at all, consider if the area has enough employment opportunities for you. A quick trawl of job search sites will give you an indication of the volume and types of work available locally.

If you are a hybrid worker required in the office some days calculate if the journey time is manageable on a regular basis. Even if you’re not doing it every day, the novelty (and cost) of a lengthy journey can quickly wear thin.

If you will be working remotely in your existing role, think about what would happen if you need to change jobs down the track. Do other employers in your industry allow remote or hybrid working, or can you find similar work in the area? Otherwise, depending on the area’s main industries, a career change or upskilling might be required to secure a job locally.

Think about current and future life stages  

Can the area cater to your life stage and lifestyle needs, now and into the future? Besides key amenities such as shops, parks, hospitals, medical and sporting facilities, does your lifestyle require access to restaurants, galleries, entertainment venues, exercise facilities, airports and travel hubs etc?

If you have a family or plan to start one you’ll probably want to check the availability of quality early education centres and schools in the area, along with opportunities for kids sports and other activities.

Visitors welcome (or not)

If you’re leaving behind family and friends who plan to visit you regularly, you may need to factor in the cost of a property with extra space to accommodate them. While for those not so keen on hosting a regular stream of house guests, not having enough space provides you with the perfect excuse!

Factor in extra time and costs

Along with the usual costs of buying property such as conveyancing and inspections, when moving a long distance you need to factor in not only higher removalist costs, but also travel and accommodation costs when house hunting - especially in school holidays or other peak periods.

Bear in mind that regional areas generally don’t see the same levels of investment and pace of development as capital cities, and where there is a shortage of stock it may take longer to find your dream home. Depending on your appetite and budget for renovation you may want to consider speeding things up by purchasing a fixer-upper in lieu of waiting for that perfect property to come to market.

No matter which area you’re thinking of buying in, Belle Property has you covered with over 170 offices across the country. For professional advice and help with buying regional property speak to one of our local experts today.

Read more about the buying process and search our current homes for sale.