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Should You Join The “Seachangers” Movement?

By Laura Anderson

It feels like everywhere you look these days, there’s another story about skyrocketing house prices in our capital cities. In fact, the latest figures from CoreLogic RP Data show that every Australian state capital now has a median house price of over $500,000, with Sydney’s average rising 44 per cent in the past two years to over a whopping $1million. It’s the same across the Tasman, with Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures showing homes for sale in Auckland are creeping up to a median of $800,000.

More and more young people are enjoying the lifestyle of coastal living.

Maybe that’s why a growing number of young people are choosing to leave the city in search of a better, more affordable lifestyle. They’re nicknamed young “seachangers”, and they’re moving out of the rat race, snapping up houses for sale on our coasts.

Why Become A Seachanger?

There are a lot of reasons why you might choose to vacate your urban setting for coastal areas, but for many the biggest factor is the cost. Looking at the price of real estate in major cities can be a bit of a shock, particularly for young first home buyers.

Coastal areas in Australia and New Zealand are becoming increasingly popular housing markets.

It makes sense then that young, mobile buyers are looking to areas like the Central Coast in NSW. Why pay up to seven figures for a house when, just an hour or two away, the median house price in Gosford is close to half of that seen in the capital?

Commuting And Working Remotely

Coastal areas in Australia and New Zealand are becoming increasingly popular housing markets for young seachangers, offering the tranquility of small town living while still remaining close enough to the big city for commuters.

In all honesty, spending a couple of hours on the train five days a week might not be a huge inconvenience to those used sitting in rush hour traffic for the same amount of time. Mark Wooden, director of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey at the University of Melbourne, found that the average travel time for Australians to and from work was 54 minutes, and as high as 90 minutes for 19 per cent of the population.

Escaping from city traffic is a great reason to consider making a “seachange”.

Through improving technology, there are more varied working options presenting themselves. Social researchers McCrindle found in 2013 that not only would people be willing to take a small pay cut for the opportunity to work from home, but 55 per cent of Australians surveyed reported increased productivity. With the continuing rollout of the National Broadband Network and New Zealand’s UFB, it’s becoming easier to work remotely all the time.

Building Your Equity

If you’re thinking about a move to the coast, that doesn’t have to mean you’re stuck there forever! Some people will always have that dream of buying a house in Sydney or Auckland, a goal that can be achieved by building equity with a property outside of the city.

If you’re patient and willing to work up to buying that perfect city property, starting in a smaller, regional area can be the first step on the path. The mortgage required for a house on the Sunshine Coast or on the outskirts of Auckland will likely be low enough to require a smaller deposit with an easier repayment schedule. Accumulating equity on that first home can put you in a better position when you’re ready to look at homes for sale in the city.

With plenty of financial and lifestyle benefits to becoming a seachanger, maybe it’s time you joined the movement.

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