Unless you’re raking in a seven-figure salary, you’ve probably all but given up hope of buying a home in the inner-ring suburbs Melbourne or Sydney, where multi-million-dollar properties are the norm and space is at a premium.
That leaves you with two options – move out to the outer suburbs and live in a far-flung neighbourhood miles from the CBD, or pack up the family and opt for a quieter life in a regional town.
What are the differences between regional towns versus the outer suburbs of a major city? Let’s take a look…
Even if your day job requires you to be in the CBD from 9 to 5, that doesn’t automatically preclude you from taking advantage of all that regional Australia has to offer. As many sea- and tree-changers will tell you, commuting from a regional area is often easier than getting into the city from at outlying suburb.
In Melbourne, a journey by car from Lilydale to Collins Street each morning could easily take you an hour – about the same time it will take to come in on the train from Ballarat. Instead of wasting several hours a day battling pent-up road rage, you could be enjoying a book or podcast on the train, and banking the cash you’d otherwise be spending on fuel and parking.
In the outer suburbs, affordability in Melbourne and Sydney is still a challenge for many families. With house prices approaching (or exceeding) the $1 million mark in many traditionally blue-collar locales, even living miles away from the city centre doesn’t guarantee you a manageable mortgage – and subdivisions mean the Aussie dream of the quarter-acre block are increasingly becoming a thing of the past.
Regional towns, with their more reasonable price tags, lend themselves better to part-time work and stay-at-home parenting, which in turn reduces your childcare costs. It’s likely you’ll get more square footage for your cash too, so entertaining friends or playing with the kids can take place in your own backyard, rather than at a venue.
There can be big benefits for the children as well, with smaller local schools and tight-knit community and sporting clubs to bolster their development and sense of belonging.
Contrary to many buyers’ assumptions, there’s real potential for capital growth in regional real estate.
A few ago, it was a different story – the markets in Melbourne and Sydney were red-hot and instant growth was virtually assured, whereas values in regional towns were slow to move. However, as the price boom peters off in the capitals, regional towns appear better placed to continue modest gains. As we revealed in this article earlier in the year, regional towns such as Geelong, Gympie, Newcastle and Wollongong have seen impressive growth over the past few years, making them a sound investment for landlords or owner-occupiers.
So, if you’ve had enough of fighting the inner-city gridlock every morning, or you’re sick of missing the kids’ football matches and dancing concerts due to work commitments and mortgage stress, regional life could be the answer. Be sure to do your research, as regional areas (like all towns) have their good and bad pockets. Once you weigh up whether the costs versus benefits make regional living right for your family, you could be very surprised!