Experts believe that the COVID-19 pandemic will have an impact on the future housing market. Many have already had to reevaluate their priorities and make changes in their plans for their future homes due to the disruption caused by this outbreak.

McGrath Estates Agents has released a new brochure. The McGrath Report 2021 focusing on the question: “Has COVID-19 changed real estate forever?” The report examines the pandemic’s influence on Australians’ housing preference and how this may affect the overall residential property market. It also highlights the top suburbs in the country’s east coast that are tipped to be the next residential hotspots.

Are Australians leaving the city limits?

The sudden shift to remote working is one of the most significant changes brought about by the pandemic. While restrictions have eased and people are gradually going back to the office, the report says many “will never return to a full-time centralised work environment again – at least, not five days a week” – and this will have a major impact on where Australians decide to live.

“Traditionally, millions of people have chosen to live in areas that didn’t necessarily deliver their ideal lifestyle but did provide convenience,” John McGrath, founder and executive director of McGrath Estate Agents, said in the report.

“If you had to work in the CBD or a commercial hub and didn’t want to spend hours a day commuting, you had to find a place that was a reasonable drive or on a good public transport route. Then, you’d hope to save enough money to one day buy a getaway – or wait years until retirement to eventually live where you really wanted to.”

McGrath added that working from home will allow many Australians to live in an “ideal lifestyle location and enjoy an effective work routine without the stress-inducing travel,” which meant many will be looking beyond city limits to find their perfect home.

Remote work will change the way Australians design their homes.

McGrath claims that the shift to remote work will have an effect on the design and finishes of homes, as well the amenities in strata developments.

“As one or two occupants start working from home, they will feel the need for additional space quickly. Dining room tables are fine for a few hours a week, but permanent change will demand better solutions, such as designated home offices,” he said.

“The old-fashioned granny flat will become an object of desire, ideal as a work studio or separate accommodation for multigenerational families. The demand for home gyms will increase, as will yoga – and maybe even Zoom rooms! Naturally, fast internet speed will become a more important asset than ever before.”

What will these changes mean for the housing market?

McGrath believes that the housing market will recover, especially in locations “that offer people what they want.”

“With interest rates approaching zero and many owners having deleveraged in the past few years, I envisage increases in well-located prime residential real estate in major cities and regional lifestyle areas – that is, anywhere near surf, waterways or lots of trees within 90 minutes of the big East Coast cities,” he said.

Which locations are tipped to become Australia’s next residential hotspots?

A combination of competitive house prices, proximity to prime amenities, and opportunities for leisure and recreation boosts a suburb’s appeal to potential home buyers. The following are McGrath’s top picks for the country’s next residential hotspots.

Homebush (Sydney).

Homebush has been “quietly reinventing itself into a prized address in the significantly gentrified inner west,” according to McGrath, adding that it has some of the city’s best eateries. The Sydney Olympic Park is located in the suburb. Additionally, the WestConnex tunnel made it easier to get to Sydney.

Collaroy (Sydney)

Collaroy is a coastal suburb 22km northeast of Sydney’s central business district. But because of the recent shift to remote work, McGrath said residents no longer have choose between “a movie star lifestyle on the Northern Beaches or easy access into the CBD.”

Haberfield (Sydney).

Haberfield is a garden suburb in Sydney’s Inner West. One of the benefits of living in Haberfield, according to McGrath, is that you can be “a stone’s throw from the CBD, on a large allotment in a period home with some of the best coffee and delicatessens in the land on your doorstep.”

Rouse Hill (Sydney).

“Rouse Hill and its town centre retail village have presented a compelling lifestyle for young families looking for clean air, more land, better value for money,” McGrath said. If you still work in an Office, the Sydney Metro Northwest provides an easy commute to the city center.

Edmondson Park (Sydney).

McGrath dubbed Edmondson Park as the “Rouse Hill of the south west” as the suburb offers the same benefits as living in Rouse Hill. You can easily travel to the CBD via the M8 Motorway.

Thirroul (Regional New South Wales).

As many people opt to work remotely in the future, McGrath said the housing market in “lifestyle gems” like Thirroul in the Illawarra region is bound to take off. This seaside suburb is located only a few kilometers from Wollongong, and easy to commute from Sydney.

Norraville (Regional New South Wales)

Norraville, another suburb on the coast, is poised for growth. This suburb, located in the Central Coast offers a charming lifestyle on the beach.

Thornbury (Melbourne).

Thornbury, a cultural melting pot, is popular among hipsters and professionals, young families, as well as older migrants. According to the report Thornbury has been identified for many years as an emerging suburb. Median prices in Thornbury are $200,000-350,000 lower than nearby Northcote and Fitzroy North. However, they offer the same accessibility to the city thanks to an efficient transport system. You will also find local pubs, boutiques, and schools in the suburb.

Sunshine (Melbourne).

Sunshine has been identified as a priority precinct by the state government. This means that it will see significant infrastructure and health improvements over the next seven-years. These projects are expected to generate thousands of jobs and service the region’s growing population.

Hawthorn (Melbourne).

Hawthorn is only 6km from Melbourne’s CBD and boasts an efficient public transport. The suburb is surrounded by some of the city’s most expensive and prestigious suburbs, including Toorak, Camberwell, Kew and Hawthorn East, allowing residents to benefit from the same perks and amenities.

Coburg North, Melbourne

According to the report, Coburg North’s median house price is $170,000 lower than neighboring Coburg. The suburb is 11km north of Melbourne’s city centre and a 20-minute drive from Melbourne Airport. You can also bike to the city using the scenic Merri Creek River trail.

Kilmore (Regional Victoria).

Kilmore offers residents a rural lifestyle, but is only a short commute from Melbourne. The median house price in this suburb is $433.750. Kilmore has a golf course, hospital, public gym and pool, and several cafés and shops.

Redland Bay, Brisbane

One of the Redland Bay’s biggest drawcards is its water view coupled with its fish and chips, the report said. Located in Brisbane’s bayside area about 45km away from the central business district, the suburb offers a country town vibe with city amenities. It also has local schools and a shopping centre. The median house price is $550,000.

Rochedale South (Brisbane)

Rochedale South is a peaceful suburb for families. It offers 600-1000sqm blocks that sell for $527,500. It boasts open green spaces and modern playgrounds. There are also local schools. It can be linked to nearby suburbs and the CBD by the Gateway, Pacific, Logan Motorways.

Toowong (Brisbane).

Toowong is an inner west suburb about 5km from Brisbane’s CBD. There are many housing options that will appeal to both mature and young buyers. Future developments include a $64m school, and a $450m shopping center.

Sunrise Beach (Sunshine Coast)

Sunrise Beach is attractive to buyers because of its easygoing lifestyle, active surfing scene, and close proximity to Noosa National Park, according to the report. Although Sunrise Beach is not as famous as Sunshine Beach nearby, the median house value in the suburb is around 45% less.

Ainslie (Canberra)

Ainslie is home to beautiful, well-maintained post-war homes, as well as several amenities such a museum and theatre, cinema and an Olympic pool. This suburb is known for its vibrant cultural, arts, and music scene.

Bonner (Canberra)

Bonner is a well-known suburb, with its modern shopping centre, school and specialty shops. You can also find it within 4 km of Gungahlin Town Centre or the Mulligans Flats Nature Reserve.

Chifley (Canberra)

Chifley lies just two kilometers from Westfield Woden, restaurants and a bus transit station. Canberra Hospital is seven minutes away. The suburb is located in Woden Valley and is easily accessible via two major arterial roads: the Tuggeranong Parkway or Melrose Drive. A small number of shops can be found in the area.

Yarralumla (Canberra)

Yarralumla boasts a network of well-maintained cycling and walking trails that cross the northern boundary alongside Lake Burley Griffin. It is home to parks, Royal Canberra Golf Club, restaurants and health services.