Six months after bushfires devastated the Bega Valley, and several months after the COVID-19 pandemic began in force, the region's housing market is experiencing an unexpected boom.
LJ Hooker Bega principal Gerry Tarlinton, whose business covers the region from Tilba to Wyndham, said compared to this time last year the average price for a house had increased 20 to 30 per cent.
"The only time I can remember an increase like that s in 2003 to 2004 when prices took off and went up 100 per cent in a 12-month period," he said.
He said while there was a limited number of properties for sale in the bushfire-hit areas of Cobargo, Quaama and Coolagolite anything that had come on the market, from farms to homes, had a multitude of interested buyers.
"We've had land that's only lasted on the market for a few days," he said.
In fact, he said the biggest demand was for out-of-town vacant land from two to 80 hectares, saying the land of properties where houses had been lost in the summer's fires were still very popular.
"The positive is if someone has lost their home and needed to sell their property, then it would be in high demand," he said.
Marshall and Tacheci's licencee and proprietor Robert Tacheci, who covers the greater Bermagui region, also said that demand was solid and prices were stronger than they were this time last year.
Mr Tacheci said while the Bermagui market had already been becoming popular for people from out of the area, he thought the widespread media coverage of summer's bushfires had driven even more to discover the region.
"Definitely our market for a long, long time has been new entries into the area," he said.
Earlier this year Mr Tarlinton initially found many of the people who lost their homes to the fires and had insurance payouts bought in towns like Bermagui, Cobargo, Bega and Tathra.
The first few weeks of the coronavirus pandemic slowed business down at LJ Hooker, with not many people looking at houses.
But Mr Tarlinton said those who did turn up were looking to buy; normally 10 per cent of people who looked at a property would end up buying it, but in those first weeks of the pandemic that jumped to 50 per cent which was "unheard of".
He said now the number of people looking at houses had gone up and property prices were rising in the Bega Valley, in contrast to cities like Sydney and Melbourne where prices were falling, which was due to high demand and a lack of supply.
"The only area that's slow is the commercial side of things - every other part of the market is very strong," he said.
Mr Tacheci described the impact of the Christmas break, bushfires and coronavirus as creating a "deferred demand" in the current housing market.
He also said there had been a renewed movement of people getting out of cities, combined with some realising overseas travelling may not be possible for some time which then precipitated a move to a regional area.
Mr Tarlinton's advice for those looking to sell their property was "now couldn't be a better time" due to low availability and high demand, while for those looking to buy he said "don't be slow in making a decision because multiple people are looking".
Mr Tacheci said the market was looking certain for the next short while for sellers, but the future was looking much more uncertain.
"We are seeing an increasing demand, but it will be interesting to watch what is happening going forwards," he said.