When the coronavirus pandemic took off, former Sydneysider Bianca Vitale knew her planned six-month world tour would be placed indefinitely on hold.
Like so many, HR project worker Ms Vitale found herself with funds sitting idle, a now completely remote job and, after a year of living under strict lockdown in a metro environment, she decided it was time for a tree change.
"It was a good opportunity to take advantage of my personal situation because of COVID," Ms Vitale said.
"I am a big traveller, so I had been saving quite a bit for a six-month around the world trip and obviously that didn't happen. I had all this money sitting there and thought I should move on to my next goal to buy a property and have my own house before I was 30 years old."
IN OTHER NEWS:
That's what brought the 29 year old to Wagga, where the city's soaring property values but still-affordable price range made first home-ownership a possibility.
"My job is completely remote so I was looking at buying a house," she said.
"I realised Wagga was way more affordable than anything in Sydney, and it was a great opportunity to get on the property ladder and live somewhere less stressful than the city."
Fitzpatrick's Paul Gooden says Sydney buyers like Ms Vitale are common, attracted to a market that's comparatively affordable with significant lifestyle attractions.
"Sydney buyers are taking advantage of what's still a cheap market for them," Mr Gooden said.
Ms Vitale said Wagga's market stood out compared with prospects in the city.
"It was ridiculous, this was a three bedroom two bathroom home for $460,000," she said. "I thought, that's insane I wouldn't even have been able to get to an apartment for the same amount in Sydney."
The Professionals' Paul Irvine predicted city buyers would continue to increase in Wagga for that very reason.
"I wouldn't be surprised if more people from Sydney buy in Wagga, it's a great market," he said.
Mr Gooden said a combination of amenities and extra space make the city an attractive lifestyle prospect for city residents looking for a tree change.
"If they're working from home or a retiree, a move to Wagga fits in with their lifestyle," he said. "We have a good blend of country lifestyle and city living."
Ms Vitale said the lifestyle factor was significant for her.
RELATED NEWS: Wagga house values rise 6.4 per cent in 12 months
"There's a nice relaxed atmosphere, no traffic and people are friendly," she said. "It's also a growth area and I think a lot of people have the same thought process."
Wagga's property market has boomed over the past 12 months.
CoreLogic research released in April showed Riverina properties increased in value by 8.4 per cent over 12 months, outstripping Sydney's annual growth of just 5.4 per cent.
In Wagga the annual growth was also higher than in Sydney, jumping 6.4 per cent in 12 months, with homes selling at higher prices but still climbing in value.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: