Richardson & Wrench has opened a new office in the Southern Highlands, marking an expansion into regions close to Sydney, which offer the benefits of both lifestyle and affordability.
R& W notes the attraction factors that have made the Southern Highlands a perennial favourite amongst Sydney’s society set have been highlighted by the number of high-profile business and entertainment identities who have chosen it for their COVID-19 hibernation.
R&W Southern Highlands is headed by principals, Ian Cameron, locally born and raised who has operated an independent agency for many years, and Andrew Blaxland, who until recently was a director of R&W Mosman/Neutral Bay.
R&W Managing Director Andrew Cocks said the opening of the new office, located in Mittagong, gave the network a presence in an area that was increasingly attractive to a diverse range of people.
“The Southern Highlands has long held appeal as a weekend getaway for Sydney residents but a number of factors are likely to see increased growth,” Mr Cocks said.
“There’s the baby boomer bubble seeking a more relaxed lifestyle within a comfortable drive of Sydney. But at the other end of the spectrum there are young families, priced out of Sydney, who see it as a viable place to live, with good schools for their children and a manageable commute to Sydney for work.
“Another group increasingly making their presence felt are the mid-lifers who have the means and opportunity to make a conscious lifestyle decision about where and how they want to live, and who are establishing a business or taking advantage of technology to telecommute.
“The acceleration of the trend to remote working caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to put the Southern Highlands even higher on the buy list for Sydney-based professionals who have transitioned easily to working from home and won’t want to give it up,” Mr Cocks predicted.
Andrew Blaxland is a prime example of the demographic who have moved to the Highlands in pursuit of a more relaxed and healthier lifestyle, having previously been a director of the highly successful R&W Mosman/Neutral Bay, transacting many multi-million dollar waterfront sales.
His move to the Southern Highlands occurred in stages, buying a weekender on acreage before realising that the grass really was greener away from the city.
The partnership with Ian Cameron provided an opportunity to establish himself in a highly competitive market where the range of properties spans everything from affordable homes attractive to first home buyers and investors, to substantial country spreads.
Bowral showed its resilience during the two years in which Sydney property prices fell dramatically, maintaining a steady rise in median house values throughout 2016-18, dipping only slightly in February 2019.
Volumes of sales were lower from September 2018 but have been on the increase since September of last year.
The close connection to a Mosman clientele also comes with benefits. Mr Blaxland’s first sale in his new locale was a weekender owned by a Mosman client for whom he’d previously sold a waterfront property.
While Mr Cameron has the advantage of a network built up over a lifetime in the Southern Highlands and many years of community involvement, Mr Blaxland has not been shy about going back to basics to build up his contacts.
“I do a lot of direct canvassing,” Mr Blaxland said. “I’m currently selling a five-acre property for $2.75 million and a 175 acre for $3.85 million – listings that were both the result of direct canvassing.”
He has also made an easy transition into his local community, simply by doing what he loves – singing in his local church as well as performing for the Bowral Christmas Carols, Mittagong Christmas Carols and at the annual Berrima District Historic Vehicles Club dinner.
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