The City of Greater Bendigo is unsure whether a land shortage triggered by COVID-19 is a sign of turbocharged future demand.
But it's a possibility the council is considering as it works through a land shortage and long term plans for the boundaries that govern where developers can build residential dwellings.
The current land shortage is so acute that one real estate agent had two vacant lots left on the books on Friday.
Agencies across the city are affected, Real Estate Institute of Victoria's Bendigo division president Matt Bowles said.
"We have record-low supply for sale," he said.
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The council currently assumes there will be roughly 200,000 in the municipality by 2050.
But that is working off of modeling made before the pandemic showed Melbournians how easy it can be to work from home.
The number was also arrived at before governments rolled out home building packages that stopped the housing industry grinding to a halt.
Mr Niemann was not sure how COVID-19 would affect forecasts.
"Is it a blip? Is this a trend that is going to continue for five, 10 years?" he asked.
More data was needed from the last year before new forecasts could be made, Mr Niemann said.
In the meantime, both the council and the Real Estate Institute of Victoria representatives have been thinking about ways to ease the housing shortage.
Both say extending Bendigo's residential boundaries now would not necessarily fix the problem fast.
That is partly because land would need to have service infrastructure nearby to connect up with before large subdivisions took place.
Other suggestions have included hiking council rates on vacant land in the hope it will discourage land banking, especially for infill developments.
The proposal is out for community consultation as part of the council's draft 2021/22 budget.
The council and developers are also working behind the scenes to free up several large parcels of land within the growth boundary, Mr Niemann said.
That included on land where there had been hold-ups or rezoning issues.
"It's a lot of work to make sure everyone is in the right place at the right time. We play a part and the housing sector plays another," Mr Niemann said.
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