Inquiries from people wanting to buy in Greater Hume Shire in NSW's Riverina have risen by up to 60 per cent in the past 18 months, with the shire struggling to find the land to keep up with the huge demand.
Real estate agent Adrian O'Brien, with AGnVET Henty, said house and land prices have been rising steadily over the past 10 years due to a lack of availability and ongoing demand.
But since the beginning of COVID and lockdowns interest in the town had skyrocketed.
"We've had unprecedented interest and demand in established residential properties, residential land to build on, rural properties and small acreage properties," he said.
"We've certainly seen house prices rise given the lack of available residential building land. Over the last 10 years it's been very competitive for people to buy cheap blocks of land and build a house. We've seen a reduction in supply which translates to an increase in prices particularly on land sales.
"Going back half a dozen years we were talking blocks going for $30,000, now it's $50,000 to $65,000."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Mr O'Brien said at the moment there were only two blocks of land on the market in Henty, aside from vacant land in the over-55s development Sweetwater Drive, and they had a waiting list of rental applicants wanting a home.
"We're running out of blocks but there are a couple of projects in the works behind the scenes," he said.
Greater Hume Council governance and economic development executive assistant Marg Killalea said real estate agents had told her inquires were up by two-thirds in parts of the shire.
"We know internally from our finance team there's been quite a turnover of property at this point in time through land transfers, there was a marked increase in number sales of land and property general in past 18 to 12 months," she said.
Council's own residential development and sub-division, Jacob Wenke Drive in Walla, went on the market 12 months ago with stage one selling quickly.
Mrs Killalea said councils and developers across regional Australia were all facing the same land shortage issues in the face of increased demand.
"One of the challenges is to be able to have the supply to meet demand," she said.
"It's not a perfect world, we know regional centres and many rural and regional areas have same challenges as Greater Hume... the need, the demand is here right now.
"Council is doing everything within power to be progressive in terms making projects come to life as quick as can and getting product to market."
Mrs Killalea said both Council and private developers were working as fast as they could to get land to market "so everyone benefits from the Renaissance of rural and regional Australia."
She said the shire also had a very low rental vacancy rate, which was both a positive, as it showed rentals were a good investment and negative, as it made it harder for people looking to move to the region and rent to find a home.
"There's pent up demand so we're just pedalling as fast as we can both council and land developers," she said.
"We're working as fast as we can to get land to the market."