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Why one family quit the Sydney property dream

Samantha Menzies
Why one family quit the Sydney property dream
Why one family quit the Sydney property dream

High prices and huge investor demand for Sydney property are locking first-time buyers out of the market, with one Aussie family giving up on the dream of owning a Sydney property altogether.

The constant barrage of dire first-home buyer headlines has helped convince Nikki Wallman that she and her husband weren’t completely bonkers in moving their young family from the bright lights, cooler-than-thou cafes and sexy beaches of Sydney to buy their first home in the rather rural town of Bowral in the Southern Highlands, she told Domain Group.

“The increasing stress of chasing tails and deposits and ever-rising house prices was grinding us down,” she said.

Also read: Australia's 40 no-go property postcodes

“We kept circling back to the same question: what was the point of mortgaging ourselves to the hilt for the privilege of living in this beautiful, dynamic, crazily-priced city if, by buying a house – a tiny, rundown, unjustifiably expensive house – we couldn’t afford to enjoy any of Sydney’s charms?”

“The whole process was rat-race exhausting, deeply depressing and yet, ultimately, a blessing in disguise.”

As their search extended further and further away from the city, the family decided that instead of living right on the outskirts of Sydney, they would rather move further away, but still within commuting distance.

“For less than the cost of that glorified Surry Hills coffin, we bought a lovely, light-filled, four-bedroom, three-bathroom house on a big block in a beautiful wonky street where daisies grow wild and cockatoos call to each other like grumpy old men,” she said.

Enormous trees hug the skyline around our deck; we’re walking distance to town. We’ve made great friends who live down the road (Bowral seems flush with young families in similar situations to ours).”

Now, instead of spending their weekends stuck in gridlock traffic and facing a complete lack of parking, the family spends their time casually exploring local vineyards and villages.

Also read: Why Sydney houses aren’t selling

But she notes that the decision to make the move has not been all positive.

Wallman’s husband’s commute to Sydney is a 1.5-2 hour trip each way, meaning longer days and evenings away with their young son.

“But so far, we’re happy with the trade-off of our lovely new home, quality family time, and our more relaxed lifestyle,” she said.