How escaping the city could boost your purchasing power

With house price growth across the nation’s capital cities continuing to rise, many home buyers are choosing to escape the city in a bid to increase their purchasing power and gain more bang for their buck.

With many buyers feeling priced out of the property market in their city, some are making the decision to relocate to the outer suburbs or regions in an effort to realise their dream of home ownership.

“Buyers sometimes can’t believe it. They are scratching their heads that it’s possible that they can sell where they are in Sydney and have plenty of change left over to have a good lifestyle,” Belle Property Lake Macquarie sales director and auctioneer Matthew McBrearty said.

“It’s opened their eyes to further possibilities.”

Brisbane-based buyer’s agent Jayne Robbins, of The Informed Buyer, said it was not just city buyers relocating within their own state, but she had noticed a current trend of buyers moving interstate from Sydney to Brisbane.

“In their considerations they see the lifestyle up here in terms of commute time, and education [as appealing],” she said.

“It’s that commute; an extra hour in the day, what would you do with that? The extra commute is the difference between having dinner with your kids or not.”

Ms Robbins said the pandemic has provided flexibility within workplaces so that employees could discuss the possibility of living and working remotely from another state.

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Coastal areas such as the Gold Coast in Queensland, The Mornington Peninsula in Victoria and Coffs Harbour in New South Wales have become increasingly popular with buyers looking to relocate. Photo: iStock

Where people are moving


Queenslanders are trading the city for the regions at an increasing rate, according to LJ Hooker Fraser Coast director Tony Sprake.

“It’s been a trend that has been growing over the last 10 years but it’s been an absolute acceleration beyond any comprehension the last 12 to 18 months, which so happens to coincide with the pandemic that we are all governed,” he said.

He had noticed an enormous exodus of people from the Gold Coast, in addition to the Sunshine Coast, where they were choosing to capitalise on market growth and head north, where their purchasing power was greater.

Suburban areas of Hervey Bay and Fraser Coast, where an average house was considered more affordable, were popular with buyers escaping the city, he said.

“It is a less hectic lifestyle and the fact that we have direct flights to Brisbane and Sydney, allows [buyers] to still have the connection to metropolitan Australia,” he said.

Flourish ChartSource: Domain

What to consider before making the move

When it comes to making the choice to relocate, lifestyle and employment were key considerations, Empower Wealth managing director and property investment adviser Ben Kingsley said.

“It’s going to come down to your lifestyle design,” he said. “What is more important to you? Is financial wealth a strong driver for you, or is work life balance a strong driver?”

“Ultimately, we all need income to survive, so what are the job prospects like in the new area that I am going into? I would be always mindful of, if you are going into a very high tourism centre, as  usually the job prospects are going to be related to that industry.

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Living a long way from friends, family and support networks can be tough, and unless you’re able to work fully remotely, you’ll need to consider the career opportunities in the area you choose. Photo: PRDnationwide Hunter Valley 

“There is not going to be a lot of white-collar type work to be done there and the incomes are going to be appropriate to hospitality industries.”

Typically, Mr Kingsley said the cost of living and affordability was considerably better in locales away from the city.

“You will see a pick-up in regards to your costs of living, so if you maintain remote working and [your] higher income then it’s a bonanza for you. But if you can’t, and you are moving to these remote locations and are willing to take a 20 to 30 per cent pay cut, that’s still appropriate for that particular market.”


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