BOOMING tourism and wine industries, and the recent coronavirus lockdowns, are driving the Clare Valley real estate market, with local agents reporting an increase in inquiries in the picturesque region.
Nutrien Harcourts real estate specialist Geoff Knappstein said many buyers had experienced a shift in mindset about how they wanted to live, and were now considering living further out from the city and working remotely.
“We’ve had a massive increase in inquiry from people outside of Clare looking to buy in our region,” Mr Knappstein said.
“It’s a very constant market up here. We’re not far from Adelaide and you’ve got everything up here – plenty of wineries and restaurants. It’s just a good place to be.
“There are some people who live in Clare that make a daily commute to the city for work, because if you’re coming from Sydney, a two-hour trip is nothing.”
Mr Knappstein said the region’s agricultural market was particularly strong.
“We’ve got more buyers than properties and these properties go very quickly,” Mr Knappstein said.
Realestate.com.au data shows the Clare and Gilbert valleys have historically demonstrated slow and steady price growth, with houses up by a moderate 2.8 per cent over the past year, 4.4 per cent over the past three years, and 3.9 per cent over the past five years.
Of the 150 sales in the region over the past 12 months, the median sale price was $277,500. Houses commanded a median weekly rent of $280 and delivered a rental yield of 5.43 per cent.
Ray White Clare Valley principal Mark O’Meagher said, in light of recent lockdowns, many buyers were keen to get out of the suburbs and into a rural community.
“We’ve seen an increase based purely, I think, on people feeling safer in a regional area,” he said.
“Inquiries have increased dramatically since April and May, and we’re also seeing a massive increase in land sales on the back of the recent government grants.
“We’ve also seen a lot of city-dwellers and interstaters buying sight unseen because they’re impressed by the dollar value.
“For some of them, it was a move they were going to do years down the track, but then with the recent COVID impact, it’s brought that decision-making process forward.”
High school teacher Justin Lodge and his family bought a home in Clare five years ago and said they loved the region. “We were able to buy a four-bedroom home in a place for us that was pretty much perfect, and our mortgage repayments are actually less than what we were paying in rent prior to that – and that was even with us being in subsidised teacher housing,” Mr Lodge said.
“That fact alone was probably enough to give us the impetus to buy.
“We were from the Adelaide Hills and to get what we have here back there would have cost us more than $100,000 more.
“Plus Clare is a nice town to live in, with lots of young families.”