MEDIAN house prices across the Riverina have fallen by 5.2 per cent in the last quarter, casting doubt over the popularity of the region.
An in-depth report by Domain released on Thursday found prices in Wagga’s surrounds had the biggest plummet across the whole of New South Wales.
Prices in Wagga decreased marginally by 1.8 per cent to $335,000 –but smaller towns experienced a more substantial drop in value.
However, potential first-time buyers are beginning to flood the Riverina market in search of affordable housing.
Raine and Horne sales consultant Mathew Longmore said potential-buyers are recognising the potential for capital gain and are making more inquiries.
“They can buy property here and get a 5.5 to 6 per cent return,” Mr Longmore said.
“Many people are getting out of big city mortgages and seeking a simple, easy country life where there is no traffic and where kids can ride their bikes to school.”
The fall in median prices prompted tree-change couple Michelle and Scott Robertson to entice more city-goers towards Wagga.
The couple made the move from Sydney to Wagga two year ago, and found less financial stress has made the change a winner.
Michelle Robertson told The Daily Advertiser a short work commute meant more time to spend with his two young children.
“We couldn’t break into the Sydney (real estate) market,” she said.
“The costs are through the roof.”
“We’ve been able to save money here due to our cost of living being lower.”
The Robertsons still have business in Sydney and travel to the city regularly to meet up with them.
“Even with the costs of flying to Sydney, it is still cheaper here than renting a house in the city,” Michelle said.
Domain’s Chief Economist Dr Andrew Wilson said the fall in prices came on the back of a period of “subdued activity”.
“Wagga Wagga’s market has returned to a period of subdued activity over the March quarter, reflecting a minor decline in prices over the year,” he said.
Median house prices in Dubbo and Orange were also down over the quarter.
Wollongong produced the strongest result of all regional cities with its median house price increasing 3.9 per cent.