During the pandemic, high demand and very low supply saw prices surge, and while things have cooled in recent months, she said buyer interest is still strong.
“Stock numbers in Covid were under pressure and at any given time the whole market only had 20 or so properties on offer. The Berry region now has more than 80 properties on the market, with a good offering across all price points.
“Days on market are now longer and buyer urgency has disappeared. Wet weather and negative media have certainly not helped this at all.
“But I think the market will find its new norm next year. Interest rates will cease increasing hopefully in the not-too-distant future and buyer confidence will creep back in.”
That’s helped to drive an 81% increase in its median unit price, which is now $775,000.
“We are incredibly lucky to be a relatively small town that offers just the right amount of atmosphere and the perfect coastal lifestyle,” Mr Kelly said.
“Since Covid, our town has seen a significant increase in demand as people sought a sea-change, and relative to other coastal areas, Yamba is quite affordable.”
The market recently has “normalised” with steadier conditions and more consistent sales results, he said, but many buyers remain active on the ground. Next year will likely see “more of the same”.
A regional lifestyle with plenty of outdoor recreational amenities has also seen the alpine locale of Jindabyne rocket up the list of sought-after suburbs in NSW.
Since the start of the pandemic, the median unit price in the Snowy Mountains town has leapt by 113% to reach $810,000.
An array of winter and summer activities, a friendly atmosphere, an abundance of natural beauty, and quick access to the South Coast make it a popular choice for buyers, local agent Michael Henley from Henley Property said.
“There has been a huge migration to our town from all over Australia and a few from around the world,” Mr Henley said.
Jindabyne has also been designated a Special Activation Precinct by the NSW Government, sparking significant planned investment in facility upgrades and development.
According to the Department of Planning and Environment, SAPs benefit from projects to “attract and grow businesses, provide more employment opportunities, and stimulate the regional economy”.
“It will leverage the region’s environmental, cultural, and landscape attributes and establish Australia’s alpine capital as a resilient year-round tourism destination,” the Jindabyne SAP reads.
No-one in the country had a Covid experience quite like Melburnians, who endured several long and painful lockdowns and some of the toughest restrictions in the world.
That inspired hordes of people to get out of town when they could – and it seems many wound up in the Mornington Peninsula.
“In Victoria, suburbs along the Mornington Peninsula have seen the strongest price rises post-Covid,” Ms Flaherty said.
Somers is “the ideal coastal village”, local agent Jackie Wright from The Coast Real Estate said, with a quaint and peaceful feel and spectacular natural amenities.
Since the onset of Covid, the median house price there surged by 98% to reach $1.82 million.
“I think people must have sat at their computers during lockdown and looked where they could drive an hour from Melbourne, with Somers obviously the top result,” Ms Wright said.
The pace is somewhat more relaxed than glitzier Mornington Peninsula suburbs, with no local postal delivery service harnessing a village feel, she said.
“The hub of the community is the [general] store and post office. A morning walk to collect your mail will often lead to catching up for a chat and a coffee with friends. People love the quirkiness of that.”
Ms Wright expects the market to settle over summer and the start of the New Year before ramping up again in autumn, as it tends to do each year.
The community feel of the leafy inner-city suburb of Blackburn saw buyers flock to it over the past few years. Its median unit price leapt by 53% to hit $868,000.
Local agent Rachel Waters from Woodards said the area appealed to older downsizers, first-home buyers and young families because of its safe and friendly feel.
“Blackburn has an active community and offers good schools, shops, and transportation,” Ms Waters said. “More than ever before, buyers see value in accessibility to parkland and walking tracks – for example Blackburn Lake or the Bellbird area.”
Apartments with a study or extra bedroom to allow people to work from home have been especially popular.
“After several rate hikes, we’ve found that those taking out a mortgage have less to spend on their home, but this hasn’t stopped many from continuing their search for the right property at the right price,” she said.
“We may see some price adjustments if interest rates continue to go up, but the Blackburn market continues to be a popular choice for those looking for a reliable investment in a convenient location.”
Top performers in Queensland
On top of the desire to be closer to nature, southeast Queensland’s housing markets had to contend with an unprecedented influx of arrivals from interstate during Covid.
Many of those buyers went straight to the Gold Coast, with the picturesque suburb of Mermaid Beach seeing its median house price leap 110% to $3.32 million.
Local agent Guy Powell from Harcourts Coastal said development restrictions limiting building heights to 15m, or three storeys, set the suburb apart from the rest of the region.
“It can’t get overdeveloped, helping Mermaid Beach keep its community spirit and coastal charm, Mr Powell said.
“It’s a family friendly environment, it feels grass roots. We’re built around the sand and sea, but in the past 10 years the coffee culture and hospitality scene has really stepped up.”
Before Covid, the entry level price for a small, original condition house was about $1.3 million, whereas now it’s in the mid-$2 million range, he said.
“Covid really put the GC on the map and work from home, locked borders, and no international travel only shone a torch and highlighted the life we get to live here.
“As of lately, there are some beautiful new builds and projects coming up to completion or being completed, redefining the area and further cementing Mermaid Beach as one of the Coast’s most sought-after suburbs.”
Some of the heat has come out of the market in Mermaid Beach, as it has across the Coast, with buyer demand easing. But Mr Powell said stock levels remain tight, which he believes will see the suburb “hold and retain its value”.
“A lot of owners are high net worth individuals who don’t or won’t have to sell should 2023 become an interesting year. The area and location itself will always be really sought-after and weather any storm well.”
In the Redcliffe region, northeast of Brisbane, the suburb of Woody Point has been in demand with those searching for an affordable unit in a peaceful location.
The median unit price is now $611,000, which has surged by 53% since the onset of Covid.
“People love the relaxed village lifestyle on offer in Woody Point, while holding onto the convenience of being only a short commute to the Brisbane CBD, international airport, or the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast,” local agent Damien Misso from Ray White said.
“Covid was a boon for Woody Point as people sought to escape the CBD but keep proximity. When you were only allowed to travel a short distance from home, people realised being here was a good option.”
More recently, the market has settled from the peak of early 2022, but Mr Misso said people are still drawn to the “natural wonder” of Woody Point.
“In my opinion, I see a lot of opportunity in the next phase of our market and those who are prepared will be the ones who benefit the most,” he said.
Top performers in South Australia
Adelaide’s top performer since Covid is the prestigious suburb of Beaumont, where the median house price skyrocketed by 82% to $1.64 million.
Local agent Brandon Pilgrim from Ray White said the desire for large, well-designed family homes on big blocks saw buyer demand go through the roof.
“On top of that, Beaumont offers arguably the best local school zones in the state, being dual zoned with the very desirable Linden Park Primary School and Burnside Primary School, and the high school being the prominent Glenunga International High School,” Mr Pilgrim said.
“Not to forget that Beaumont is sitting on the ledge of the Adelaide foothills offering high-quality family homes with panoramic views across the city.”
The picturesque pocket is also surrounded by an array of quality restaurants, cafes and shops, and is a short drive to the CBD, he added.
“It has continued to remain the destination to live and raise your family and although interest rate rises have dampened the growth in the area, we are still finding the market buoyant,” he said.
“I think Beaumont will always have higher buyer demand than most of Adelaide. We predict that the market will be steady for the next two years while inflation levels out.”
Top performers in Western Australia
A yearning for a home near the water wasn’t confined to buyers in the country’s east, with Perth property hunters flocking to Bicton on the Swan River.
The median house price there rose sharply by 72% to hit $1.5 million since the onset of Covid.
Local agent Ben Stott from Ross & Galloway said the suburb’s prized position made it a hotspot when the Perth market began to move in September 2020.
“It was like a switch was flicked and the market went crazy,” Mr Stott said. “I was receiving multiple offers on homes with many going well over expectations with nearly all listings selling in week.”
As well as its riverside position, Bicton boasts some amazing natural amenities including Blackwell Reach, Point Walter Reserve, Bicton Baths, and Point Walter Golf Course.
It proved particularly popular with families, with well-presented homes on good-sized blocks selling the best, he said.
“In the past few months, I am still seeing the same number of buyers coming to home opens but properties are taking slightly longer to sell, with still most selling within four weeks,” Mr Stott said.
“I honestly thought that the market would have had a correction by now, but we have a big supply and demand issue in Perth. I think prices will just stay steady for the foreseeable future.”
n the other side of the city in Perth’s southeast, the affordable suburb of Armadale has seen strong demand for units. The median unit price jumped by 60% since the onset of Covid to reach $270,000.
“Armadale offers affordable living for homeowners and great rental returns for investors,” local agent Ashley Swarts from O’Neil Real Estate said.
“For the past two years, most of our buyers locally were from out of area, with plenty of sales going through without the buyers even personally inspecting the property.
“We had buyers from Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland, and even Tassie pulling equity out of their homes to buy investment properties here. With record low vacancy rates, rents are still very high, and investors are getting great returns.
“Homes are now taking longer to sell, and buyers are getting fussier,” he said. “They want a premium home so anything that needs work typically sells for a discount, while well-presented homes are fetching good money.”
Top performers in Northern Territory
With the international border closed and many states shutting down to the rest of Australia, the Northern Territory provided something of a Covid escape for much of the pandemic.
Susie Patton-Quinn from Real Estate Central said a number of those interstate tourists hit the Top End and fell in love, deciding to uproot and relocate permanently.
The popular up-market suburb of Muirhead in her patch proved particularly popular with all buyers after the onset of Covid. Its median house price surged by 114% to hit $754,000.
“Muirhead is a very popular up-market suburb that’s highly sought after by families and professionals, particularly medical staff and academics, due to its very close proximity to Royal Darwin Hospital and Charles Darwin University,” Ms Patton-Quinn said.
The market has slowed in recent months after a “frenzy” for much of the past year-and-a-half, she said.
Despite that, there are many long-term growth drivers for Darwin, with the Territory Government investing significantly in projects to drive economic expansion.
“There’s so much positivity on the horizon, from gas, solar, shipping and mining projects, to major defence investment, and even NASA’s involvement in the Arnhem Space Centre,” Ms Patton-Quinn said.