The REA Insights Regional Australia Report 2020 reveals how two major factors of COVID-19 has resulted in an accelerated interest in regional property markets.

The first is the resurgence in the mining sector and the second is the shift to working from home.

"The strength in mining is being driven primarily by the stimulus that the Chinese Government has deployed to get their economy moving again, as well as the impact of COVID-19 on other mineral producing countries," the report said.

The report points out how Brazil's iron ore industry has been severely impacted by COVID-19 which has led to Australia exporting record levels of iron ore. 

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"Any regions that have economic growth closely tied to these strong performing minerals are seeing a flow on to house prices," the report said.

"As an aside, one mineral that isn't doing so well is coal and any regional areas closely tied to coal are not experiencing the same resurgence in their economies.

"The resurgence of mining has created interesting results across a range of metrics we track on Port Hedland in Western Australia now achieves the highest enquiry from first home buyers in regional Western Australia and is the second most enquired area from investors."

Other regional areas that have performed well off the back of the mining resurgence include mining towns such as Orange, Karratha and Townsville. 

While mining has led to a surge in demand for property in regional areas, the other big factor driving population growth in regional markets is the shift to working from home and wanting more space due to severe COVID lockdown restrictions in major capital cities. 

See also: The 30 Australian locations tipped to become work from home hotspots

"While search in regional Australia started accelerating soon after the first lockdown began in mid-March, it has taken some time to work out whether it was just people locked down, looking for something to do, or alternatively, active purchasers with strong intent to buy," the report said.

"Price growth data now available is starting to confirm that the search activity we were seeing on was from genuine buyers looking to make the move to beachside areas, far from capital cities.

"The coastal areas from the Mid North Coast up to the Queensland border have been experiencing strong growth post the pandemic, likely driven by strong interest from people located in capital cities, particularly Sydney."

In particular, Richmond-Tweed has "most benefited from the lifestyle shift of white-collar workers being able to work anywhere". 

Despite rising levels of unemployment, there's been strong enquiry from first home buyers in mining and beachside towns driven by government incentives like the extension of the First Home Buyer Deposit Scheme and the HomeBuilder scheme. 

"In some states, these incentives are more generous in regional areas than they are in capital cities."

Most popular regional areas in Australia

The main areas benefiting the most from the mass exodus to regional property includes:


  • Geelong
  • Bendigo
  • Ballarat
  • Latrobe-Gippsland
  • Warrnambool
  • Mildura
  • Wodonga
  • South-West

New South Wales

  • Illawarra
  • Southern Highlands
  • Shoalhaven
  • Hunter Valley
  • Central West (particularly Orange)
  • Coastal areas from Mid North Coast up to Queensland border


  • Gold Coast
  • Sunshine Coast
  • Mining regions (excluding coal)

Western Australia

  • Mandurah
  • Margaret River region and mining regions

South Australia

  • Port Elliot and surrounds
  • Mount Gambier and South-East


  • Launceston and North East

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