01 July 2021

The one thing COVID-19 has taught many businesses is that they can remain productive while being flexible about where employees are based. Many organisations have embraced that their employees are working remotely, which has allowed them more freedom to choose where they want to live.

A recent blog posted by RE/MAX New Zealand reported that 65,000 more people chose to move to regional Australia from capital cities than the other way round between 2011 and 2016. This is according to a Regional Australia Institute (RAI) report that came out in June 2020. The report suggested that millennials drove this movement and that they gravitated to mid-sized towns with facilities like a hospital, airport and university, jobs, and lifestyle choices. These millennials eventually become family units with children and tended to embrace the community, put down roots and stay for a long time.

Similarly, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett states that many of the region’s offices outside of city centres have reported much higher interest from buyers since COVID struck. “This leads me to believe that, although South Africa does not have a recent report on these figures, it is conceivable that we would see similar trends to those reported in the RAI’s report if we look at those who have moved away from city centres since 2020.”

However, before moving away from the city centres, Goslett suggests that buyers carefully consider their plans for the future before making any final decisions. “Purchasing property is a long-term financial commitment. Buyers need to be 100% sure that they want to spend the next five to ten years wherever they decide to purchase. Alternatively, they should purchase within a location that has a high rental demand. That way, if they do later decide to move back to the city, they have the option to rent out their property in the country instead of having to sell it,” Goslett suggests.

Another option is that they choose to rent in the area for a few months before they commit to purchasing there. “Living in an area is a very different experience from spending a few nights there on vacation. Buyers should spend enough time in their new chosen location before they make a purchase they later come to regret,” he recommends.

One final tip buyers should keep in mind when relocating to the country is to purchase a home with good resale ability, just in case it does not work out. “When searching for property, void buying a property that is too unusual or is located against a busy road. Try to buy the sort of home in the sort of location the locals would like. Using an experienced real estate professional within these communities will prove invaluable in this regard. They can help buyers make sound purchasing decisions in areas where they are unfamiliar to help them avoid making costly mistakes,” Goslett concludes.   

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