Sea-Change, Tree-Change or City Change - Is It For Me?

If you have outgrown your family home, want a simpler, more affordable lifestyle or just feel the need for change, you may be considering moving to the coast, the country, or right into the middle of a big city.

If you have outgrown your family home, want a simpler, more affordable lifestyle or just feel the needfor change, you may be considering moving to the coast, the country, or right into the middle of a big city.

The sea-change (or tree-change) continues to be a popular lifestyle change in Australia. ABS migration data for May 2021 showed that major capital cities around the country registered a net loss of nearly 43,000 people in 2020.

Pandemic lockdowns account for a big shift in city dwellers making the move to more regional areas.  In 2021, the Gold Coast claimed 11 per cent of all capital city dwellers who moved to regional areas during the 20-21 financial year.

ABS statistics reveal that in the year ending March 2021, Queensland’s population grew by 43,900.

Like any major life change, it pays to weigh up the pros and cons before making any permanent decisions about where you live.

Sea-Change

Pros

Warmer Weather. If you want to escape cold southern winters then heading north to warmer, more tropical parts of Australia such as the Queensland Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast might be for you.

A More Relaxed Lifestyle

Stepping away from the stress, congestion and competition of the city may lead to a slower-pace, more time for hobbies, friends and recreation, and a different outlook on life.

More Money for Retirement

With strong competition for housing in our capital cities, selling up and moving to the seaside may mean a healthy profit on your house sale which can be used to provide security in retirement, money for new hobbies and activities, or an increased inheritance for your children.

Cons

Great in Summer, Not So Much In Winter

Seaside locations are at their best in the warmer months, but can be cold, isolated and shut-down once summer is over. Do your research about the area that interests you, and see what the culture and lifestyle is like throughout all parts of the year.

Tourists

Keep in mind – if you like the area, then so do lots of other people! Tourists and weekenders can make your peaceful seaside town a nightmare of traffic congestion, supermarket queues and your favourite restaurant being booked out night after night.

This will be a particular issue for areas within reasonable driving distance of a popular seaside location.

Buying Back In Can Be Costly

Buying into a cheaper area can be a tempting proposition if you want to free up cash for a more financially-comfortable retirement. If you change your mind and try to buy back into a city area, you may find that you have been priced out and are now stuck in an area that doesn’t meet your requirements.

Tree Change

Pros:

Peace and Quiet

One of the compelling reasons for a tree-change is to leave the noise, traffic and expense of a big city behind and live a simpler, quieter life in a quiet rural location. Blocks of land are bigger, your neighbours are further away and you can wake to the sounds of the country each morning.

More Space

The rural housing market may mean you can afford a bigger block, more space for hobbies and new interests, or even a small business if that’s your plan.

Cons:

Too Much Peace and Quiet

If you have lived in an urban area your whole life, moving to a rural area can be too much of a change. The peace and quite can be soothing – or instill feelings of loneliness and isolation – and boredom!

Moving to a Close-Knit Community

Doesn’t sound like a drawback? Integrating into a close-knit community (rural locations can be more settled as they don’t have the transient visitor demographic of a coastal area) can be difficult, particularly if you don’t have the bonding environments of employment or school to help you integrate.

City Change

Are you heading in the other direction– going from the beach or the country (or the suburbs) into the city?

The attractions of a big city are usually evident – plenty of choice for dining, culture and entertainment, better access to healthcare, employment, education and public transport. You can be closer to friends and family, start or continue a new career and possible downsize to a smaller property which requires less maintenance.

The things that make a city a great place to live can also be its drawbacks – the noise, activity and congestion is not easy to escape. There is also the issue of the cost of living and the prohibitive cost of housing.

Am I Making The Right Decision?

It can be easy to view a potential new area with rose-tinted glasses while on holiday or during a long weekend.

Get a real feel for a new area by spending some extended time there before moving lock, stock and barrel. It’s a good idea to do this throughout different times of the year, to get a true picture of what your new area is like throughout the warmer and colder months.

You may even consider renting out your existing home and renting in your new area for a year, to see if it’s for you. This reduces the risk of not being able to buy back into the area you left, if you decide it’s not for you.

The QLD site Queensland Australia and SBS have some useful information for those looking to sea change to the Sunshine state:

SBS:

Tips for moving to a regional area

QLD Australia

Moving to Queensland

Moving to a new location can be challenging, confronting and even a bit daunting – but the rewards are great if you have made an informed decision and are ready to start a new chapter of your life.