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Cost of living is pushing Aussies out of home

·4-min read
Exterior of a modern apartment block and a rural town in Tasmania.
The cost of living is rising and with it Aussies are moving (Source: Getty)

Aussies are on the move more than ever with new research finding that four out of 10 Aussies are either moving, or just about to.

As ‘work from anywhere’ continues to become more mainstream, Real Insurance found that more than half (50.7 per cent) of families living with young children are considering relocating, or have already relocated.

And, young families are not the only ones that are considering a move. Looking at the population more broadly, the research found that over the last two years, one in 10 Aussies have already relocated, with over a quarter (27.5 per cent) relocating interstate.

The 2021 Real Home Shift survey has revealed the shift in where people want to live, what they are looking for in a property, and how perception of the ideal lifestyle has changed.

Where are people moving?

Queensland is the most popular destination for Aussies looking to move with 32 per cent saying it was their destination of choice. This is followed by New South Wales and then Victoria.

Outer suburbs and regional centres have proven to be the popular choice this year with the research finding those considering a ‘tree change’ has risen from just 6.1 per cent in 2018 to almost double that at 11.9 per cent now.

Of those preparing to move, around half said outer suburbs, outside of the big cities, is where they’re looking.

And many are looking to dip their toes in the water with 65 per cent wanting to relocate to somewhere that’s at least 30 minutes from the coastline.

Why are people moving?

The cost of living was the number one factor driving Aussies to move outside of capital cities, followed by the desire to have a more relaxing lifestyle.

Being able to own an investment property was also a big factor, with over 21 per cent saying they want to move so they could own multiple properties.

Professor of property and housing economics at the University of South Australia, Chris Leishman, said relocation is heavily driven by employment choices and training or study.

“What we are seeing in this survey is very clear support for the emergence of lifestyle driven relocation decisions,” he said.

“Such choices were beginning to emerge before the pandemic, but living through COVID-19 seems to have strongly energised a growing cohort of Australians who highly value some of the attributes offered by living in regional locations.”

The Australian dream has changed

Interestingly, the Australian dream has also changed. Owning a home no longer tops the list for what Aussies want, with staying healthy and enjoying life taking over.

And not by a small amount - 23.7 per cent of Aussies said living a happy life is their aim as opposed to only 8.3 per cent who said owning a home was.

“The Baby Boomer generation, and to a lesser extent Gen-X, strongly associated financial stability in retirement with home ownership and were determined to become homeowners as soon as possible,” Leishman said.

“There is evidence that younger generations see things differently. They value health, wellbeing and lifestyle more highly, but they do still want financial stability – it’s just that they are no longer convinced that this can only be achieved through home ownership.”

Unsurprisingly, the reason for this is affordability. The majority of those surveyed (61.8 per cent) said the cost of housing is the reason they gave up on the dream of owning a home.

And for those who haven't lost the dream, 90 per cent said they are finding it hard to get onto the property ladder, with almost three-quarters (73.2 per cent) feeling largely locked out of the property market.

Knock on effects

Long-time locals risk being priced out of their home towns as Australia’s regional housing markets record value growth double that of capital cities.

Australia’s regional market has seen home prices grow 13 per cent over the last 12 months, compared to 6.4 per cent in the capital cities.

“This can partly be explained by the new popularity of remote and flexible working arrangements, but also increased demand for lifestyle oriented properties and holiday homes,” CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless said.

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