EXPERTS want to know more about the Melbournians dreaming of life in Bendigo after revealing almost one in five are considering purchasing homes in regional areas.
Finding out could slow escalating housing prices and help planning authorities keep their cities' regional charms.
Almost 20 per cent of people surveyed said they were eying towns like Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong in surging demand, according to a new survey of 1000 people by The Urban Development Institute of Australia and Urbis.
They say it is more evidence that the housing shift to regional Victoria has intensified since the pandemic began.
Three per cent of those surveyed said they were considering buying homes in the Bendigo area and another three in Ballarat.
Another 11 per cent were thinking about moving into new growth areas around outer Melbourne.
The survey did not delve deeply into who those people might be, but researchers did decide to profile those who were considering Geelong after finding out just how many were considering purchasing homes there.
Twelve per cent of respondents were looking at that city.
The typical "Geelong mover" is more likely to be aged between 25 and 34, have a mortgage, have a family with children or a male, and living in Melbourne's west.
People who are considering moving to Bendigo might share some of the same characteristics as those thinking about Geelong, UDIA Victoria's chief executive Matthew Kandelaars said.
"It's hard to say but it would be reasonable to expect a similar age profile for people who would move to Bendigo," he said.
"It's probably an age group of people who would not have considered regional Victoria previously. But there lifestyle factors, amenity, all of the services a town like Bendigo provides.
"It's still close enough that you can commute a few days a week if you need to. And there's the relative affordability."
Mr Kandelaar was looking forward to seeing if those assumptions held true next April, when a new survey would focus on what kinds of people were considering moving to towns like Bendigo.
"There's a huge interest in regional Victoria generally. That trend was already underway pre-COVID but the pandemic and extended lockdowns in Melbourne ... have only accelerated that," Mr Kandelaars said.
"More so than that, the experience we've all endured over the past two years has really heightened the notion of 'home' as a place in people's minds.
"It's got people thinking a lot more about their home and where they want to live."
That, and the changing dynamics of workplaces during the pandemic, have made people believe distance may no longer be the barrier they once thought it was, particularly in places like Bendigo where people commute into Melbourne within two hours, Mr Kandelaars said.
Others already in regional areas felt less need to move down to Melbourne if they want to work or study there, he said.
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