Bianca and Damien Sugden did not have their hearts set on moving to the Southern Mallee.
The duo were hoping to leave Melbourne to raise their five kids in a country town, and were looking all across regional Victoria.
Ultimately, it was the affordability of a four-bedroom Hopetoun home that helped Mr and Mrs Sugden make the move.
"We always spoke about getting out to the country and getting away, to help give the kids a better life," Mrs Sugden said.
"We were looking online and saw this house, and we just decided, 'Let's go for it'.
"My husband has a sore back at the moment, so it wasn't like we were both working down in Melbourne.
"It was like, 'There's nothing stopping us'."
Now, two months after the move, Mrs Sugden said the family were loving the country lifestyle.
She said the friendliness of the community had blown her away.
"It's been absolutely great," she said.
"Everyone is waving and saying hello when you walk around. People have already been offering to contact us if the kids need anything, things like that.
"You don't get that down in Melbourne - definitely not."
Mrs Sugden said raising children in Hopetoun felt safer than in Pakenham, a satellite city in Melbourne's east.
"It feels a bit like going back to the 80s - you can let your kid get out and play again, ride their bikes to the shop and feel safe. You can't do that anymore in Melbourne," she said.
"It's just totally different."
Mrs Sugden added that their new house was far beyond what she could have dreamed of in Melbourne.
"There's so much up here - if we were to buy this property in Melbourne, it would be way over a million," she said.
"We wanted to provide the kids with something, so we've got a swimming pool, and not quite an acreage, but a lot of land compared to what we're used to.
"It's a four bedroom house with a sauna, underground wine cellar, pool - there's no way we could have got that down in Melbourne."
Mr and Mrs Sugden are one of many reportedly making the move from metro Melbourne to regional Victoria.
Wimmera Development Agency's Mark Fletcher said it had been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Certainly in our findings, across the region at the moment there is an increasing demand and inquiry rate from metro areas," he said.
"That's definitely happening."
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North West real estate's John Hadley said he had "never been busier" as more people bought houses in the region.
He said most weren't from Melbourne but rather the regions of Gippsland and central Victoria.
He said price was the key factor.
"It's price driven - sausages for your dollar, if you'd like," he said.
"I'm looking at a house in Minyip right now that is $95,000 for example - you wouldn't get much in central or eastern Victoria for $95,000. You wouldn't even get a block of land for that much.
"We've been the cheapest region in Victoria since I can remember, and that hasn't changed.
"Our prices haven't gone up so much that we've surpassed other areas."
While he had not personally seen the migration of people from Melbourne to Victoria's north west, Mr Hadley agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic could potentially pull more people to the region.
"People are going to start working from home, and no matter all the bad publicity the NBN gets, it's actually fantastic in rural north-west Victoria," he said.
"It obviously has some bad spots, but if you come to Warracknabeal or Rainbow, you've got pretty good service, and you can work anywhere."
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