THERE are fresh calls to lure people from big cities to the Riverina in light of exploding property prices – but campaigners admit they face a tough sell.
Wagga real estate agents remain adamant the city’s housing market is drawing residents from Sydney and Melbourne, with a strong transient population boosted by floating university and military attendance.
But Hore and Davies Real Estate director Sue Alleva said despite the median Sydney property price edging closer to the $1 million mark, there had not been large numbers of Sydneysiders seeking refuge in the cheaper Wagga market.
However, Ms Alleva said while there had been “huge investment” spurred on by favourable market conditions, people still opted to live elsewhere.
“Even just last weekend we had people visit from Canberra and Sydney to look at a house and went back in the afternoon,” she said.
“There is huge investment because people are realising they can get a five-plus rent return compared to a 1 to 2 per cent return in Sydney.”
According to Domain Group figures, the median house price in Wagga has grown by 4.9 per cent this year.
The figures said the median price of $330,000 is still set to rise as the year continues.
PRDnationwide Wagga director Simon Freemantle said one of the biggest hurdles attracting Sydney people to Wagga was employment.
“It’s all relative to employment,” he said. “You can buy three houses in Wagga for the one in Sydney. (But) there’s got to be the appropriate job opportunities here. You can have more jobs here or you can have people work from home.”
Evocities, a marketing campaign designed to attract city people to seven regional cities is facing a “big sell” to convince city slickers places such as Wagga are not “backward”, according to the group’s spokesman James Treloar.
Mr Treloar said there had “definitely” been growth in external relocation and the organisation was trying to capitalise on the mounting pressures of metropolitan house prices.
“We really have a big sell job on that,” he said.
“People think that if they move to a regional city they have to go back to Sydney, for example. But living in Wagga is not that different to living in North Sydney.
“The services are all there.”
Mr Treloar added that job opportunities were vitally important to securing increased external relocation.
"Every job that is in Wagga at the moment is potentially someone relocation,” he said.
According to Evocities research, the likely group of people relocating to regional areas were young married couples and empty nesters.
It said housing affordability was the major reason of change for younger people.
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