A sudden demand for rural views and space to breathe in the fresh air is driving up the cost of high-end properties around Maitland.
Twenty-two properties have sold for over $900,000 through PRD Hunter Valley in the past two months, and seven of those settled for more than $1.1 million.
A lifestyle refocus, sparked by the Coronavirus lockdown and restrictions, has seen an influx of buyers from Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle who want a fresh start.
In some cases retirement plans are being brought forward and those with a dream of having acreage are taking the plunge amid low interest rates. The strong demand is creating bidding wars and sending the price up.
Prospective buyers have reached out to agents with a wish-list and most properties are sold before being advertised.
"There is no hesitation in spending the money because you're buying a shoebox in Western Sydney for $900,000," PRD Hunter Valley's James Hannah said.
"There's definitely a market developing there and it's not just rural properties that are sought after, it's properties in East Maitland, in Morpeth, and in Lorn that are achieving brilliant results because of their access to amenities and the lifestyle they provide."
River Realty managing director Chris Henry expects the trend to continue over the next five months.
"The job market has changed and the way they do their job has changed - and they want that freedom and fresh air. They don't want the built-up, over-populated and unfriendly community anymore," he said.
"The big 1000 square metre backyard is back on the agenda, and we saw that disappear a number of years ago when apartment living and shared services were the way to go to reduce maintenance and reduce time at home because we were living outdoors in the cafe scene or in the entertainment scene."
"Coronavirus has pushed that back to entertaining at home, living safely, having your kids at home and your backyard to enjoy and that's why our demand has accelerated - and technology is allowing all of that to happen," Mr Henry said.
There was little demand during the Coronavirus lockdown and agencies were forced to focus on consolidating and speculate about what the future would look like.
Even though there is still some economic uncertainty, buyers are more determined than ever to jump into the market.
The average house price in Maitland remains at $480,000 and both Mr Hannah and Mr Henry are confident the city will crack the $500,000 mark next year.
Mr Henry said the work his agency did with prospective sellers during the lockdown had streamlined the home-preparation process and would see more choice come onto the market in the next few months.
"People spending time at home doing maintenance and those little jobs they've never got to helps each of those properties gain value. The biggest thing that hurts a property's value is if it comes to the market in poor shape," he said.