Martin Fasso was instantly drawn back to regional Victoria when metropolitan Melbourne entered its first stage of lockdown.
Mr Fasso was making the commute to Bendigo a few days a week prior to lockdown to help drive trucks for his father's transport business and opted to relocate to central Victoria amid the pandemic to complete his business degree, majoring in logistics, online.
"My girlfriend and I moved up here for what we thought would only be temporary but that's turned into four months now," he said.
Growing up on his folks' farm near Heathcote, country life was not all that unfamiliar for the 22-year-old.
"When university went online, all I needed was a stable internet connection so we thought moving up here during COVID-19 wouldn't be such a bad option," he said.
This week Premier Daniel Andrews announced restrictions would be eased in regional Victoria, allowing people to travel for non-essential reasons, while our metropolitan counterparts are set to endure another six weeks of lockdown.
Real Estate Institute of Victoria president Leah Calnan said interest by metropolitan residents looking to move to the country had grown "exponentially" since restrictions were imposed across Melbourne.
"Previously we would see the likes of the main centers like Bendigo and Ballarat be those most popular regional towns, but over the last few months we've heard great stories of people moving to places like Wodonga and even Mildura," she said.
"June quarterly figures showed the regional Victorian median house price remained very steady, whereas in the city it dropped by 2.3 per cent."
Ms Calnan said the attraction of regional Victoria as aided by good infrastructure, such as schools and hospitals, which made it an appealing place for families to relocate.
"You've also got that opportunity that you can still live in Melbourne and potentially commute to Melbourne once the pandemic is over for a couple of days a week for work," she said.
"Affordability is another reason for the sea change because you can buy a bigger block or bigger house at a more affordable price not far from the city."