Wollongong gives Laura Symes everything she wants without the stress of Sydney.
The 32-year-old and her partner Simon Cramp, 33, raise son Owen from the Sydney CBD for an hour after living downtown for several years.
They are part of a trend where Australians are flocking to regional cities.
A report comparing the most recent Australian government data for all urban areas, including job growth, investment and wealth security, found that “ goldilocks ” cities – not too big, not too small – outside the capitals outperform their more congested counterparts in terms of economic growth.
Geelong and Ballarat in Victoria and Newcastle and Wollongong in New South Wales have experienced the biggest boom, according to The City Report of Polis Partners.
Research has shown that ‘goldilocks’ cities are experiencing tremendous economic growth, as people move in to find affordable housing and a better lifestyle. Depicted is Wollongong, an hour southeast of Sydney
Ms Symes has not looked back since leaving Sydney.
“Sydney was so much fun when we went to work and going out every weekend, but it’s just so hectic and we knew when we started a family that we wanted space and still be by the water,” she told AAP.
“Wollongong is actually the best of both worlds, because there are so many good schools and universities, plus the national park and beaches, but still pretty close to the city.”
Ms Symes said that lower real estate prices outside the bustling capital were another tempting factor in the move.
“It’s also so expensive to buy property in Sydney, let alone a family home,” she said.
Geelong and Ballarat (pictured) in Victoria and Newcastle and Wollongong in New South Wales have experienced even greater economic growth than their neighboring capitals
The latest census shows that regional Australia has attracted 65,000 more new residents than the capitals, as 1.2 million people moved to the regions between 2011 and 2016.
And the Regional Australia Institute believes that coronavirus will help continue the trend.
“Over the past few months, we’ve all had to change our way of working and this has enabled staff and employers to see that location no longer hinders what we work for,” said Liz Ritchie, chief executive of the think tank.
Polis Partners economist and author Rob Tyson said The City Report highlights positive growth and development in regional areas.
“If you compare all 101 cities across Australia based on these economic and inclusive factors, you notice that there are some really exciting things going on in the smaller regional areas,” he said.
“We know that many city residents are looking for alternatives to the costs, traffic and ‘bustle’ of city life.”
The latest census shows that regional Australia attracted 65,000 more new inhabitants than the capitals, as 1.2 million people moved to the regions between 2011 and 2016. Pictured is Geelong, an hour southwest of Melbourne
Geelong, about an hour west of Melbourne, has experienced tremendous population growth in recent years, which may be a good thing for business and bringing diversity to the region, according to Mayor Stephanie Asher.
“It’s a very strong, very proud community down here. Lots of community clubs and organizations, lots of volunteers, ”she said.
“And also many strong multicultural communities, and also the proud Aboriginal culture, so really good diversity and it is so connected.”
Geelong is also home to major hospitals and some of Victoria’s best state and private schools.
Ms. Asher, who moved to Ocean Grove on the Bellarine Peninsula twenty years ago, said there was a sense of community in the area that was somewhat lacking in the major cities.
“You can’t drive down or walk down the main street for too long without knowing at least two people you know, which is actually quite nice, and there’s a real power to that network,” she said.
Investigators said the move to regional areas was aided by city dwellers looking for alternatives to the cost, traffic, and “bustle” of city life in capitals. Pictured is Nobbys Head in Newcastle, two hours northeast of Sydney