If you’ve been looking for property in Talbingo, the current advice is to just keep looking. Residential properties and vacant land are selling as fast as they’re being listed and locals say the town is humming.
Since Snowy 2.0 began construction, local rentals have been booked solid, with holiday rentals being converted into permanent stays for the workers and their families.
One real estate agent said the current boom is actually causing some residents to hold onto their land, waiting until the market reaches its peak.
“As far as I know, there’s not one house on the market and there’s not one block of land,” said Bob Quarmby of Talbingo Property Sales.
“I just sold the last blocks of land. There’s nothing. People are ringing up all the time saying, ‘I’d like to buy a house in Talbingo,’ and I tell them, ‘Sorry, there’s nothing on the market.’”
Buyers are calling from across NSW and through parts of Victoria.
Mr Quarmby estimated Talbingo property prices have risen by $80-90,000 over the past 12 months.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said.
He recently sold a property for $345,000 which he believes would have struggled to sell for $250,000 a year earlier.
Despite the surge, Mr Quarmby said locals aren’t in a rush to list their properties. He only works part-time and said there isn’t enough business in town to run a full time real estate, with National Parks and NSW Forests hemming the town in on either side and limiting the available land.
“There’s not nearly as many coming onto the market now as there was before,” he said.
“There’s only the two agents up here really and we used to have about seven or eight houses each when things were loose. Now we’ve got nothing.”
The newcomers are largely connected to Snowy 2.0 or people looking for a tree change. Snowy Hydro also owns some properties which they make available to workers on a temporary basis, which is leading to an increased turnover in residents and sales.
“They’re coming and going all the time,” said Mr Quarmby.
“It’s good for the [Country] Club, good for the shop, good for the whole town.”
A few longtime locals have moved out of the area, according to resident Vicki Cass, who moved to the town from Sydney in 2012 for a quieter, safer environment.
“There have been a few residents that moved away,” she said.
“I think a lot of it is for health reasons. A lot of the town are retired people and as we get older it is nice to have medical facilities closer than 40-odd km away.”
Mrs Cass said the community still has the same warm, supportive feeling and the area has been buoyed by the increased interest.
“We were used to having 6-12 houses for sale and now they’re snapped up nearly as quickly as they’re on the market. It’s great for the town,” she said.
“Fresh blood and new ideas are good for the town. If it remains basically a retirement town, eventually it will die.”
Mrs Cass said that through her travels she’s met a lot of people who have connections to Talbingo, with many describing themselves as regular visitors for most of their lives. While Covid and the bushfires have kept many tourists away – especially with the destruction of the nearby Selwyn Snow Resort – Mrs Cass said it’s had benefits for the town.
“With Covid, people have realised they don’t have to live in populated areas to work and the bush is much safer,” she said.
For those who are still holding onto their land and not sure if they want to sell, Mr Quarmby had encouraging words.
“I feel that houses are still going up in price. I don’t think [property owners are] doing the wrong thing by holding onto [their land] to gain more money and profit out of it.”
Mr Quarmby said he is currently working to develop additional parcels of land, but most properties in Talbingo are tightly held and well loved.