REAL AUSTRALIA

The influx of new residents to regional communities is putting pressure on existing housing stock

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No land left, rental properties drying up, house prices booming - what's going on?

Maybe a tad dramatic, but certainly the past year and a half has seen a significant shift in the housing market. The East Coast bushfires of 2019-20 put pressure on many small communities, with some residents still waiting to return home.

As more people discover the delights and convenience of regional living the question has to be asked: what about the people that already live there? The influx of new residents to areas such as Tasmania or the north coast of NSW have seen rental prices boom as demand exceeds supply.

Obviously part of the answer is more housing and Australia is certainly in the midst of a building boom. Not helped by the increased amount of work caused by damage from the bushfires of 2019-2020 I've been told of people trying to book builders only to be told that there was a minimum wait of a year to 18 months to have any substantial work completed.

This is not just a story about cashed up cityfolk blowing in and overpaying for housing. The rise in local tourism is also seeing long-term housing being converted to Airbnbs or other short-term rental accommodation. Ironically this has a knock on impact for local businesses, particularly hospitality and tourism who can no longer find staff to fill these often casual jobs as they've been priced out of their community.

So, what's the fix? Well there isn't one. Well, there isn't one that will suit every community. For some towns there is an obvious need for more housing. Others, for more long-term rental accommodation. Others still will benefit from adapt and reuse of old buildings as the needs and businesses based in a community change.

Join us this week on Race to the Regions as we explore the impact of the rapid rise in house prices on the regional housing market for young regional families trying to buy their first home, those in the rental market to those looking to move to the area.

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