House values across the Riverina have soared over the last 12 months new CoreLogic data has revealed, with Wagga's growth beginning to overflow into smaller markets.
In Wagga, house values climbed 11.3 per cent over 12 months to June 30 2021 with the median house price now sitting at $357,110. Meanwhile, Junee and Coolamon have risen 8.2 per cent and 13.9 per cent respectively, and Lockhart shire is up 12.1 per cent.
House prices still remain significantly lower than Wagga city, however. Junee's average price is currently $260,407, in Coolamon it is $231,698 and Lockhart is a budget-friendly $190,171.
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Raine and Horne director Mathew Longmore says these figures are plain to see on the ground, where buyers are beginning to spill out of the Wagga catchment and into the "great alternatives".
"The reality of any price growth is that people will have to shift their focus to different areas,'' Mr Longmore said. "The amount required to buy into the market can push them out of certain areas and to other parts of the region [where] blocks are cheaper, and available, and you're close to town."
Jenna Pollard operates Remax in Junee and said buyers are beginning to realise the benefits outer towns have to offer.
"Junee is real estate's best kept secret," Mrs Pollard said. "We are only a 30 minutes drive from Wagga but the prices are so different."
She agreed the current market is beginning to turn buyers heads in small towns' direction.
"A lot of buyers in the Riverina are being forced to look outside the box because there are so many buyers from the capital cities in the market," she said. "It's great for sellers but not great for local buyers trying to get into the market because the competition is too hard."
Both agreed small towns aren't just an alternative however, but are uniquely attractive for buyers.
"With COVID, people have realised how much time they spend at home and they want a bit more room," Mr Longmore said. "The block sizes in town are quite small and don't allow them to have that space for their hobbies, there's more room to move and they tend to be quite popular because of that."
Head of research at CoreLogic Eliza Owens said as a whole, house values in the Riverina have risen 14.6 per cent over the past 12 months, and credited to the growth to the same COVID factor.
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