CORONAVIRUS has placed significant challenges on Wimmera businesses, but Harcourts Horsham’s Mark Clyne says the region should remain optimistic about the future.
Mr Clyne has spent the past four and a half years growing his business, and has grown from two staff to 12 and now covers four million acres, dealing with commercial, rural and residential properties.
Mr Clyen said the region is very well placed to bounce back.
“It’s been a challenging time mentally for a lot of business owners because it’s the unknown,” he said.
Eateries and entertainment venues have had to close their doors, tourism businesses have suffered, and retailers have faced low patronage raets.
Despite uncertain times, Mr Clyne said his agency was still doing business and all the signs pointed to a comeback as interest in Horsham and surrounding regions continued to grow.
“The whole market has quietened residentially because of lack of access to properties but we have still been doing farm deals … and still doing residential deals and leasing properties out where safe to do so.
“We kicked off January and February with two record months. With coronavirus it has subdued, but we’ve certainly in the last two weeks come out and put quite a few properties under contract.
“We listed a house the other day and put it on the market. We had 10 inspections, we had four offers on the table and it was under contract within two days. So buyer demand is out there.”
Mr Clyne said people were attracted to Horsham because it serves as a “regional hub” for the Wimmera.
“We’ve got a very progressive and modern retail environment - there’s not too much that people have to go out of town for now.
“And we’ve got some good health services and these are things that will evolve as the population grows.”
Once restrictions are lifted, Mr Clyne said the region may see more people moving out to the region to get away from city life, something that could benefit the many industrial projects that were in sore need of staff.
“I think with coronavirus we will start to see more people move out to regional areas. We may see people coming out of the suburbs,” he said.
“Even though the retail sector is quieter … there are many businesses out there in the industrial sectors looking for more staff and they can’t obtain them. There’s a shortage of good quality labour.
“With the value adding that’s going on in the grains sector and projects going on within that sector, growth in some government departments and the mineral sands mining - that’s certainly going to provide a good base for Horsham moving forward.”