The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many to re-evaluate their circumstances, including where they live, work schedule and lifestyle.
Therefore, the Illawarra is already in demand and set to benefit further from the work-from-home "phenomenon" brought about by the pandemic, one expert says.
"COVID-19 restrictions on lifestyles and earning capacities have been quite savage on a lot of people, and the future perceived risk is real," Simon Pressley, head of research at national property market researcher and buyer's agency Propertyology said.
"Many who trialled work from home over the past six months will decide to do it permanently.
"Locations such as Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama will be prime candidates for those wanting to move away from Sydney."
Propertyology has nominated a series of locations throughout Australia which are likely to benefit most from the work-from-home "phenomenon". This includes the Illawarra.
Mr Pressley said key location criteria are relaxed lifestyles and two-hour access to capital cities, by road, rail or air.
"Lifestyle is a subjective thing but think about the things that holidays are planned around," he said.
"Surfing, bushwalking, village life, a stroll along the beach, looking out over rolling hills and wineries, foodie cultures, mountain biking."
Mr Pressley said even before COVID-19, the Illawarra region was already considered a popular location for people to work-from-home.
For example, the 11.4 per cent of Kiama's workforce with 'home' as their primary place of work at the 2016 Census was more than double the 4.7 per cent national average.
Mr Pressley said Sydney traditionally loses 25,000 people (net) per year to interstate migration.
He forecast that the "COVID effect" will push this figure well past 30,000 annually.
"Conversely, regional NSW is likely to gain roughly half of that," he said.
"Our analysis of residential vacancy trends also suggest there could already be a work-from-home shift into the Illawarra.
"As at the end of September, there were 740 less dwellings advertised for rent in Wollongong than in March. Sydney has an extra 4500 empty dwellings over that six-month period.
"There is a clear transference of housing demand occurring."
Mr Pressley said the Illawarra's COVID economic recovery has been strong.
"There are 20 per cent more jobs advertised in the region today compared to directly before COVID, whereas Sydney has 30 per cent less jobs advertised over the same period," he said.
Mr Pressley said working from home it is not for everyone, but some will adopt it as their new normal.
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