Record numbers of city slickers have ditched Australian capital cities, packed up their cars, left their houses and migrated regional, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Migration to regional areas during the pandemic hit all-time highs in Australia, with the ABS recording the largest inflow to those regions in more than 20 years.
Not only did 43,000 Aussies shift to regional areas during the pandemic but, in March alone, more than 11,800 people, the largest net loss on record, left capital cities.
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Although there could be a multitude of reasons for the upheaval, it's pretty clear the pandemic was one of the core driving forces.
The pandemic has affected the way we live, think and work, and while cities are in the process of rebuilding their economies, regional areas are becoming more attractive.
If you’re one of the many Aussies looking to go coastal or bush, it’s important to remember that rural towns don’t always have the convenience a lot of cities offer.
So, before moving into your regional property, here are four things you must know and do.
1. The local tradie situation
If you are joining the exodus of people moving regional, it's crucial to note that some services won’t be as accessible as they once were in the city.
With that said, tapping into the community will be a great way to get your bearings. Regional towns don’t often have as many options in terms of service providers, so it’s a good idea to do your research.
Getting set up with electricity, water, maintenance support before you arrive, and building your local trade contacts can make for a seamless transition.
No one wants to get to their property after a long drive to realise their hot water isn’t hooked up.
2. Get ahead of your bills
Whether you have decided to move by choice, or are feeling pressured to leave due to the rising costs of living in the city, regional properties can be great for your hip pocket.
So, in order to minimise any bill shock after you move into your new residence, it’s a good idea to sort out any outstanding household bills or debts, such as those incurred by a credit card or buy-now-pay-later platform (BNPL), so that you can start your new life with a clean slate.
It’s also important to ensure all your current utility and service providers are informed of your move, so they don’t hit you with additional bills for a property you no longer own or rent.
3. Pre-plan your home service set up
Before you move, check your new address's internet and electricity connection. Most internet providers will allow you to move your connection from one property to another, however, some regional areas don't always have the same connections as capital cities.
For your internet connection, if you use the NBN network, keep in mind that supplied equipment needs to be left at your property and you must get this re-set up at your new humble abode if it is yet to be installed there.
4. Get community support
One of the best aspects of moving regional is the close-knit communities, so why not start off on the right foot by getting to know some of the local residents even before you make the move.
Check out some local community pages on social media platforms such as Facebook to get to know who’s who in the local area.
When visiting the property, introduce yourself to your new neighbours and explain that you’ll be moving in at “X” date. This way they understand there might be some noise associated with the move and can even provide you with some great advice or know-how about the area.
All in all, the regional move is supposed to be relaxing and calm, so endeavor to treat it as such.
There’s no point rushing into anything, moving takes time. Enjoy the change of scenery and take in the fresh air.
Alya Stephen is COO at Sorted Services.