City residents are still considering a sea change or tree change. Image : Pexels
  • One in five city residents report considering a rural move
  • The city exodus has been a continued trend during the pandemic
  • Concerns about job opportunities are a limiting factor for potential movers

New research suggests that the trend of rural moves is here to stay.

One of the many impacts of COVID19 on the lives of Australians was to make the seaside and countryside vastly more attractive compared with city living.

One in five city residents are considering making the regional move according to a Regional Australia Institute (RAI) Survey published just last month. More than half of these are wanting to move in the coming year.

According to CoreLogic, regional house prices increased close to 8% last year while capital cities saw a 2% rise.

Liz Ritchie is the CEO of RAI says movers are attracted by the space, access to nature and the relaxed lifestyle.

“What’s really interesting about the survey we had commissioned is that the appeal of Regional Australia is a stronger motivation to move than any dissatisfaction with city life.”

Liz Ritchie, Regional Australia Institute CEO

“Brisbane respondents came in as the most stressed in the country, followed by Sydney-siders and then those in Melbourne. More than 69 percent of all those surveyed said reducing general stress and anxiety is a major driver for considering a life outside our capital cities.”

Another major intensive is the reduced cost of living and reduced traffic congestion.

COVID19 amplified the ability for city residents to work from home. This was a driver in the city exodus.

Some experts warn that as the effects of the pandemic in Australia wear off, movers will have to head back into the city.

Angela Lillicrap is an economist at the Housing Industry Association, she believes the trend is here to stay.

“It all depends on what businesses do in the future but all the signs are that having staff working from home is here to stay.”

“It is likely that much of the shift in population to the regions will be permanent.”

The potential lack of job opportunity has been identified as a barrier for potential movers, Ms Ritchie argues against this worry.

“Concern about limited job opportunities was identified by respondents as the biggest barrier to moving to Regional Australia, even though the latest job vacancy figures show there are more than 54,000 roles available in Regional Australia, with professional and skilled jobs featuring strongly across the regions,”

Liz Ritchie, Regional Australia Institute CEO

While the pandemic was a triggering factor for the countryside movers, the RAI survey found that 22% of respondents were considering a rural shift before the pandemic.


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