City slickers look to ditch the office and kick back on the farm

AH THE SERENITY: City slickers are looking to abandon the offices and take up farming in a desperate strategy to flee lockdown life.
AH THE SERENITY: City slickers are looking to abandon the offices and take up farming in a desperate strategy to flee lockdown life.

Some of those fleeing the cities are considering ditching the office for a new life on the land.

Lockdown weary city slickers are weighing up the cost of becoming farmers.

Most of the available homes and lifestyle blocks have already been snapped up in this pandemic-induced rush of thousands to the regions.

The new target is any operating farms hitting the market.

Agents are being quizzed about the likely cash returns from buying into a farm, occupying the house and either having a crack themselves or appointing a farm manager.

Some are exploring options of leasing the land.

The surprise development comes as homes in regional areas further and further from the cities are coming under scrutiny.

Those swapping the city for the country first aimed for areas within commuting distance of the cities, worried they would get the call to return to the office.

As the pandemic drags on, lockdowns continue and working from home becomes more entrenched they are now looking further afield.

Brad Jensen from Ararat Ballarat Real Estate said the tree-changers were "doing their sums" on buying farms.

"We are getting more and more inquiries from the cities about farms we have listed," Mr Jensen said.

"They want to know much much they could make from the land, they are first timers."

Mr Jensen said none of his wannabe farmers had yet followed through on their interest but believed it was only a matter of time.

"They are pretty keen to get out of the cities."

There's still no signs the race to the regions is slowing.

This week's Australian Bureau of Statistics report show a record 11,800 people left the nation's capital cities in the three months to the end of March.

Sydney and Melbourne fared the worst.

Regional house prices have risen by more than 13 per cent already in the past year, double that experienced in capital cities, CoreLogic head of research Eliza Owen said.

Low interest rates, government building incentives and the pandemic-induced trend of people being able to work from home has sparked a net gain of 43,000 people to regional areas in the past year.

Real estate agents are employing new tactics to coax home owners in regional Australia to sell up.

Agents say they have never seen rivalry so fierce with big rewards on offer in the booming rural housing market.

Some agencies are now paying sales staff more in commission to secure new listings than for the actual sales. The commission is paid when a home is sold.

Agencies have ramped up some traditional tactics and are trying out some new ones as well after exhausting their inventories.

This story Tree-changers weigh up the cost of becoming farmers first appeared on Farm Online.