Many people looking to "test-drive" the Illawarra with a view to setting up permanent roots are finding it difficult to secure a rental property in the region.
The median Wollongong house price jumped from $750,000 to $803,250 as at December last year, according to figures from the Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW).
The rise was a result of Wollongong absorbing a significant proportion of the people from Sydney who had sought new homes and a new lifestyle as a result of the pandemic, as well as the increased acceptance of working from home, REINSW chief executive Tim McKibbin said.
"This puts extra pressure on the local property market, including upward price pressure, but also challenges for the rental market," Mr McKibbin said.
"Many people looking to 'test-drive' the area with a view to setting up permanent roots are finding it hard to find a rental property.
"The real estate landscape is changing markedly in the local area and this is coinciding with a range of reforms to the industry that have the potential to re-shape the market for the long-term."
Mr McKibbin said real estate was a major economic and employment contributor and its importance as a local industry was growing rapidly.
"Both property prices and the number of transactions in Wollongong grew significantly over the course of 2020," he said.
"The median house price of $750,000 as at December 2020 increased a substantial 7.1 per cent over the previous year and the number of transactions in the area for the same period was up 12.2 per cent.
"With $813.9 million in new local projects commencing this year, that growth is set to continue."
The REINSW is coming to Wollongong to discuss many of these issues, as it takes its 2021 Roadshow across NSW.
Mr McKibbin, president Leanne Pilkington and industry experts will visit the region on Thursday to brief members and industry stakeholders on new developments in the industry.
In accordance with the Roadshow, REINSW is also collaborating with Yfoundations, the NSW peak body for youth homelessness.
Yfoundations is part of the initiative to educate property managers about its free personalised training program called Foot in the Door.
Foot in the Door aims to enable property managers to better understand vulnerable tenant groups to increase the likelihood of them accessing and sustaining tenancies, and to work collaboratively with specialist homelessness and community services in supporting existing tenants facing hardships.
"An informed and skilled response to social issues such as youth homelessness, domestic violence and mental health is now imperative for the property industry and we are happy to collaborate with REINSW on this," Pam Barker, CEO of Yfoundations said last week.
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