New analysis has revealed which towns may be the biggest winners of the working from home revolution.
Buyer's agency Propertyology tipped Byron Bay as Australia's best community prototype to have already adopted the work from home (WFH) demographic.
“A significant 13.4% of Byron’s workforce nominated ‘home’ as their primary work address at the 2016 Census. That is 3-times the national average of 4.7%,” Propertyology Head of Research Simon Pressley said.
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Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. If products listed have an LVR <80%, they will be clearly identified in the product name along with the specific LVR. The product and rate must be clearly published on the Product Provider’s web site. Monthly repayments were calculated based on the selected products’ advertised rates, applied to a $400,000 loan with a 30-year loan term.
Mr Pressley also pointed to the ease of access Byron Bay had to nearby cities like Brisbane and the Gold Coast, as well as the beach lifestyle it offered.
“It’s no coincidence that Byron’s airport passenger volumes have exploded over the last 20-years," he said.
"The airport ranking has significantly improved from being Australia’s 40th biggest carrier in 1993-94 to 17th in 2019-20.”
Byron has one of the largest WFH cohorts in the country, despite only having a population of 35,000, and also boasts the highest median house price in the country ($995,000 in June 2020).
“Over the last 20-years, no Australian location, capital city or region, had a higher average annual rate of capital growth than Byron," Mr Pressley said.
"One shouldn’t underestimate the role that work-from-home played in this outcome.”
Mr Pressley said the key location criteria for WFH was a relaxed lifestyle, coupled with two-hour access to capital cities by car, plane, or train.
Other locations with a high portion of WFH at the 2016 census were:
- Coastal locations: Surf Coast VIC (12.8%), Kiama NSW (11.4%), Noosa QLD (10.8%), Esperance WA (8.8%), Ballina NSW (8.3%), Bass Coast VIC (8%), Victor Harbour SA (6.9%)
- Winery and foodie cultures: Adelaide Hills SA (13.8%), Macedon Ranges VIC (11.1%), Margaret River WA (8.7%), Mornington Peninsula VIC (8%)
- Other inland wonders: Golden Plains VIC (16.9%), Scenic Rim QLD (12.3%), Maleny QLD (11.9%), Warragul VIC (9.2%), Armidale NSW (6.8%)
Propertyology found other locations with WFH appeal included Orange, Cessnock and Albury (in NSW), Cairns, Townsville, Hervey Bay and Yeppoon (in QLD), Kingscliff and Batemans Bay (in NSW), Bendigo and Warrnambool (in VIC), Hobart and Launceston (in Tasmania), and Geraldton (in Western Australia).
What's the scope of the WFH phenomenon?
With millions of Australians forced to WFH in the last six months, Mr Pressley said the scope of the shift was considerable.
“Imagine if Australia’s total WFH workforce increased to just 10%," he said.
"That would mean that, in a country with 10.5 million households, 1.3 million people would be earning their income with ‘home’ being their workplace.”
He conceded WFH wasn't for everyone, but predicted some people would adopt it as their new normal.
“Some will go one-step further and move town to do it from their dream location. Some have already done it!”
Propertyology pointed out 46% of the 13 million strong Australian workforce could WFH with little to no impact on their performance.
“Examples of roles that can comfortably service their customers no matter where they live include lawyers, accountants, journalists, mortgage brokers, call-centre operators, engineers, marketing consultants, web designers, analysts, and graphic designers," Mr Pressley said.
He added, unless you were living under a rock it was obvious there would be "a transference of housing demand away from congested and expensive capital cities and towards more relaxed parts of regional Australia".
The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered which includes retail products from at least the big four banks, the top 10 customer-owned institutions and Australia’s larger non-banks:
- The big four banks are: ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac
- The top 10 customer-owned Institutions are the ten largest mutual banks, credit unions and building societies in Australia, ranked by assets under management in November 2020. They are (in descending order): Credit Union Australia, Newcastle Permanent, Heritage Bank, Peoples’ Choice Credit Union, Teachers Mutual Bank, Greater Bank, IMB Bank, Beyond Bank, Bank Australia and P&N Bank.
- The larger non-bank lenders are those who (in 2020) has more than $9 billion in Australian funded loans and advances. These groups are: Resimac, Pepper, Liberty and Firstmac.
Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site.
In the interests of full disclosure, Savings.com.au, Performance Drive and Loans.com.au are part of the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings.com.au manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please click through onto the web site links.
*Comparison rate is based on a loan of $150,000 over a term of 25 years. Please note the comparison rate only applies to the examples given. Different loan amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees and costs savings, such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may inﬂuence the cost of the loan.
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