Is it time to ditch the city for the country?



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While the hustle and bustle of the city captures many Australians, others are turning to the fresh country air, favouring a different style of life. Those taking out home loans have to contend with rising house prices in the likes of Sydney and Melbourne, making a country lifestyle a more financially viable option in some circumstances.

Heading to Victoria’s regions

In regional areas of Victoria, properties are being snapped up by savvy buyers. According to Enzo Raimondo, Real Estate Institute of Victoria chief executive, there were more than 12 areas across the region with a median house price of no greater than $500,000 during the June quarter. The median house price in Melbourne was $658,000 during the same period.

“Mostly, these were places with that something extra — a coastal location or magnificent bushland. And all are within reasonable proximity of Melbourne,” he said.

That said, there were certain areas that captured much higher median house prices, such as Barwon Heads, Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale.

Victoria has plenty to offer families, young professionals and couples, whether they’re looking for a luxury property or something more affordable. In fact, the state’s net interstate migration figure for the year to March 31 was the highest it’s ever experienced, according to new Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

“Every state and territory around the country sent more people to live in Victoria than left our state,” said Michael O’Brien, Victorian Treasurer.

Ditching the Sydney price boom

Another area that frequently makes the news is Sydney. The vibrant New South Wales capital is a hot location for many, but house prices are soaring — often to unattainable sums for those taking out home loans. 

Home prices have risen a dramatic 17.16 percent in the year to August 31, according to the RP Data CoreLogic Daily Home Value Index.

In turn, many residents may consider packing up their bags and heading to the country. An incentive has been in some place to encourage people to get a taste of the NSW lifestyle.

Free money to move? 

The NSW Office of State Revenue introduced two regional relocation grants, which encourage applicants to shift from metropolitan areas to regional zones.

The Regional Relocation (Home Buyers Grant) was introduced on July 1 2011, and offered sweet $7000 grants to help people relocate to regional homes. Meanwhile, the Skilled Regional Relocation Incentive was introduced in January this year, providing applicants with $10,000 to relocate to regional areas for employment purposes.

However, both grants were canned as of September 30 this year, whether due to a lack of popularity, funding or otherwise. Property buyers can use home loan calculators to establish their borrowing capacity and may decide that the country still offers plenty of opportunities, given the rising house prices in some of Australia’s hottest capital cities.

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