Big reason Aussies flee the city as ‘sea change’ continues to surge to regional areas post-Covid-19
- Up to a fifth of Aussies in cities are considering moving
- Migration to regions continues after Covid-19
- Affordability of housing is an important driver for the move
A fifth of Australians in the big cities are considering moving to the regions as the cost of living crisis deepens.
Those considering the big move from the city to the countryside blame the cost of living in urban centres, high stress and traffic as the reasons they want to leave, according to new research from the Regional Australia Institute.
An influx of 70,000 urban residents moved to the regions during the Covid-19 pandemic and the surge has not slowed post-lockdown lockdowns, with regional migration still rising by 16 percent in 2023 from pre-pandemic levels .
Steven Wright says his career has blossomed as he gains experience and faces less competition
Affordability and value for money were the main reasons for considering a move as inflation continues to run high and major cities bear the brunt of high costs.
The survey found that 78 per cent of Australians considered regional living to be more affordable and 82 per cent cited a sense of space as the main benefit that drew them to the regions.
In NSW, the desire to reduce the cost of living is the top concern for metropolitan residents, with 77 per cent of people saying this is the main reason for moving.
The survey found that Australians were changing their attitudes to job prospects in the regions, with more than a third seeing salary prospects in the regions on a par with major capitals and 73 per cent saying they believe the professional opportunities grow.
A move to the regions only helped the careers of attorney Steven Wright and his partner James, who moved to Broken Hill four years ago.
“We were very apprehensive before we moved here, we were quite concerned about what it would be like … we rocked into town unseen,” he said.
Mr Wright said the move was only good for his career and that deciding to make it permanent was not a good idea.
“Even though we’re in the middle of a desert, we’re a 15-hour drive to Sydney and a five-hour drive to Adelaide, I think our lives are so much better because of it.”
He said the move had only been good for his career and that deciding to make it permanent was not a good idea.
“We kind of made the decision to stay when we bought a house here and so far we’ve both had pretty good careers,” said Mr. Wright.
“Many chances that we probably wouldn’t have had if we had stayed.”
A high sense of anxiety was also attributed to Australians moving out of major cities, with three in four people thinking that moving to regional Australia would reduce their overall stress and anxiety.
Mr Wright said his social life had never been better thanks to his move to Broken Hill.
“In terms of lifestyle, you get to know people on such a deep level so quickly, when I actually found it quite difficult to make friends as an adult in Sydney,” he said.
“In terms of lifestyle, you get to know people on such a deep level so quickly, when I actually found it quite difficult to make friends as an adult in Sydney,” said Mr Wright (pictured with his partner James)
“One thing that surprised us was all the things that happen here. Every year they have the Broken Heel Festival, the Mundi Mundi Festival, there’s a huge art scene here.’
The increasing interest in rural life is also fueled by the shift to working from home. Of the 52 percent of respondents with flexible working arrangements, nearly three in four (73 percent) say the ability to work from home has increased their interest in moving to the regions.
Regional Australia Institute CEO Liz Ritche is urging more Australians to consider the switch.
“During the pandemic, we saw thousands of Australians make the ‘move to more’, leaving the hustle and bustle of the city for a life in the regions,” Ms Ritchie said.
“People are realizing that moving to regional Australia doesn’t mean jeopardizing your career, income or lifestyle. There are high-paying, entry-level, professional, skilled jobs waiting to be filled in rural areas.