While a variety of studies have shown an increasing attraction toward urban density, there is another class of buyer that seems to be tiring of the crush and bustle of city life.
Real estate guru John McGrath believes regional areas could be a major growth market of 2012.
“We’re seeing increased buyer activity and general positivity in a number of regional markets as people begin picking the bottom and taking advantage of great buying," McGrath said.
"Renewed buyer confidence and vendors becoming more realistic after many months on the market is resulting in more sales. We’re also seeing more Sydney investors and young sea/treechangers looking to buy in areas offering jobs and lifestyle,” he said.
Regional areas are also reaping the rewards of stratospheric prices in capital city markets. As homes become less affordable in major metropolitan areas, the cheaper properties in outlying regional centres becomes more attractive for young buyers looking to get a foot on the property ladder.
“A proportion of young Sydney couples are continuing their sea/treechange to more affordable major regional markets that offer jobs - or easy commuter access to Sydney - and lifestyle.
"Markets popular with these buyers include Port Macquarie, Wollongong, Newcastle, Warners Bay and the Blue Mountains,” McGrath said.
But not all regional buyers are looking to relocate. McGrath said most regional demand is filtering in from the capitals.
“Out of area buyers are driving demand in lifestyle markets such as Byron Bay, Ballina, Bowral, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains. Our Blue Mountains and Bowral offices estimate 75%-85% of buyers respectively are from Sydney looking for investment, holiday homes and retirement properties,” he said.