Ararat house prices have risen dramatically in the past quarter, compounding existing problems surrounding housing availability and affordability.
The Real Estate Institute of Victoria reported that between the final quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, the average sale price of houses in Ararat rose by $73,000.
This represents the most substantial fluctuation between quarters Ararat has experienced since the institute began collecting data for the region in 2016.
Ballarat Real Estate Ararat senior sales consultant Brad Jensen said there were two reasons for this shift.
"The first one is the stock supply; there is not much stock on the market which is driving prices up," he said.
"The second is the out of town buyers looking to go regional to escape the metro. They've realised that they can work regionally and remote via the internet."
Before the data for the most recent quarter was released, Ararat's median house sale prices had remained reasonably stable despite the national average increasing significantly.
However, Mr Jensen said it was not surprising Ararat has eventually undergone a similar change.
"The data can lag a little bit behind at times. We've seen this happening for the past 12 months," he said.
"The supply issue 12 months ago was still there, but now I think people are becoming more comfortable and confident in moving to regional areas.
"It's very tough for prospective purchasers and prospective tenants. There's not much stock to choose from."
"Homelessness support services were already stretched and in high demand, and now it's just increased," she said.
"The rental vacancy in this area is extremely low, so to be able to support people to find long-term accommodation is extremely difficult.
"The demand has increased and the supply is not there because accommodation also needs to be affordable. The cost of rentals and accommodation is out of reach for a lot of people.
"There is also the effect of JobKeeper and JobSeeker finishing, and therefore the impacts of COVID are still being felt."
Ms Bibby said the lack of affordable housing had widespread effects.
"We were asked to give a presentation to DELWP (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) because they were coming across a lot of people on public land who were experiencing homelessness and weren't engaging with services," she said.
"We're very aware of it because people come to us but other departments where it isn't even part of their core business are finding people camping out on land."
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