Housing affordability continues to be a major challenge for many Australians. But if you’re willing to live outside the big cities, you could find the right property for your budget – just don’t forget to consider your lifestyle needs.
According to recent statistics, housing prices around the country rose by an average of 10.2% between March 2016 and March 2017. Unsurprisingly, the Sydney and Melbourne markets recorded the steepest increases – with average prices up by 14.4% and 13.4% respectively.i
But while home ownership may seem out of reach for many Australians, it’s not all doom and gloom – especially if you’re willing to live outside the major cities. Firstly though, you’ll need to consider how your lifestyle would have to change as well.
Single in the city
Perhaps you love the buzz of urban living, or maybe the work you do is city based. Either way, if Sydney or Melbourne price tags are out of your reach but you can’t imagine living outside one of the capitals, it might be worth looking at Brisbane or Perth. In both locations, the median cost of a unit is around $375,000.ii
Alternatively, head over to Adelaide, where the median apartment price is currently just over $310,000. Then there’s Hobart, where you could snap up your own free-standing house with a backyard for around $400,000.iii
But remember, finding suitable employment could be a struggle in the smaller cities. So if you can’t take your work with you, it might be worth following up some job leads before you pack your bags.
A family home
If you’re bringing up a family and you’re priced out of the city property market, a move to regional Australia could be the way to go. Not only are prices generally lower, your family might also enjoy the outdoor lifestyle on offer.
But you’ll need to choose your destination carefully. Real estate in some coastal areas, such as the NSW north coast or along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, have skyrocketed over the last decade. As an example, a three-bedroom house in tourist mecca Byron Bay could set you back $1.5 million, whereas a similar abode in the NSW inland town of Orange could be well over four times cheaper.
Again, you’ll also need to consider your professional options first – particularly if you can’t work remotely in your current job. It’s also important to factor in other living costs like petrol for the extra commute or higher grocery prices the further you are from a city.
A gentler pace of living
Are you dreaming of wide open spaces, rolling hills or daily walks on the beach? If so, it’s still possible to find the home you want while avoiding the high costs of popular tourist spots. And you don’t have to move somewhere remote to do it either.
From the beachside haven of Yankalilla only an hour from Adelaide, to Bayonet Head on Western Australia’s southern coast, or the NSW university town of Armidale, there are plenty of options available around the country for an affordable sea or tree change.
But before putting in an offer on your dream home, make sure you’ve considered all the pros and cons. As well as being far away from friends and family, you may also find that schools, healthcare facilities and government services may be more limited than you’re used to.
Talk to your financial adviser
If you’re in the market for a new home, your adviser can help make sure you’re financially prepared for the journey ahead.