Property values in parts of regional Australia have already jumped by as much as 56 per cent in the past 12 months, but another "surge in demand" for property here could be just around the corner.
That's according to a new report from CoreLogic, which predicted that the early months of 2022 could see a brief uptick in demand for regional property.
"The beginning of 2022 may be marked by a surge in demand for regional lifestyle markets, similar to the surge which followed the 2020 lockdowns," report author and CoreLogic's head of research, Eliza Owen wrote.
"At the end of the extended Melbourne lockdown in 2020, migration patterns across Victoria saw a surge in departures from Melbourne to regional Victoria and Queensland in the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021," Ms Owen stated.
"It is not far-fetched to imagine this being repeated through the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022, as eased border restrictions make physical inspection and purchase of property easier for those who had been in lockdown across Sydney, Melbourne and the ACT."
The prediction was contained within the firm's Best of the Best 2021 report, which lists the top performing markets in the country over the year.
Gerringong, on the NSW South Coast, recorded the greatest increase in house prices among regional markets and the second-highest increase in the country, values there going up 56.4 per cent to sit at a current median price of $1,681,227.
And Yamba, in the Coffs Harbour-Grafton region of NSW, achieved the highest annual growth in units for suburbs across Australia, metropolitan and regional, at 56.6 per cent.
The median unit price in Yamba is now $638,270.
Bicheno, in Tasmania, recorded the highest increase in house rents over 12 months, up 40.9 per cent to a median price of $853 per week.
Narooma, on the NSW South Coast, recorded the largest increase in apartment rents during the year - up 33 per cent and currently $553 per week.
The figures come amid reports that even professional couples on the South Coast may be forced to live in tents this summer as a result of the regional rental crisis, caused by increasing rents and a lack of stock.
Regional markets with the highest total sales values in the past year included Port Macquarie, on the NSW mid north coast, which recorded more than $713 million in sales; and Orange, in the NSW Central West, which recorded more than $619 million in transactions.
Three of the top 10 most expensive regional markets were in the Illawarra, including Gerroa at number four, with a median value of $2,242,137; Wombarra at number seven, with a median value of $2,157,616; and Austinmer at number 10, with a median value of $2,096,539.
Burradoo, in the NSW Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven region, was the ninth most expensive regional market with a median price of $2,105,396.
Bryon Bay took top spot with a median price of $2,597,443.
Ms Owen predicted that south east Queensland would be the region most likely to benefit from any outward flow of capital city buyers in 2022, but warned several factors meant 2021 had likely been the peak of the market and cautioned the boost in demand could be temporary.
This included the possibility of return to the office plans restricting how far away workers could move, as well as buyers who had been displaced from hot regional markets returning to the city.
There were also trends that would affect both regional and metro markets, including an increase in stock levels.
"The constraints of slightly tighter credit conditions, the erosion of housing affordability and a higher level of listings being added to the market are expected to see softer growth rates across property values in 2022," Ms Owen said.
"These forces are an accumulation of headwinds for property market performance. Softer growth rates are likely to coincide with fewer purchases, where sales and listings activity eventually move with momentum in price."