No one wants to be cooped up in a little inner-city apartment when we no longer have to commute to work five days a week, says new house listing data.
There’s nothing like a global pandemic to make you acutely aware of your home’s lack of indoor or outdoor space. But despite the many, many pitfalls of dealing with COVID-19, one positive has been the complete shift in employer mentalities around working from home. Put these two together and you’ve got a recipe for people leaving the city.
So where is everyone going?
According to realestate.com.au’s study of ‘high intent’ buyer activity online reviewing greater Sydney’s popular suburbs for homebuyers in the past 12 months, “families were increasingly looking in further-flung locations” — i.e houses near beaches, reserves or national parks.
“The most popular suburbs were beach areas to the far north and south of Sydney spread across the Central Coast, Northern Beaches and Sutherland Shire,” says REA.
But they also saw a recent surge in popularity of suburbs on Sydney’s southwestern fringe (think places like Leppington, Austral and Gledswood Hills where it’s easier to find properties eligible for government grants).
“It’s clear that a longer commute doesn’t bother people as much as it might have before, which makes sense if you’re only going into the office once or twice a week,” says REA’s chief economist Nerida Conisbee.
And the area to take out the top spot as the most in-demand suburb with buyers overall? That’d be Wamberal on the good old Central Coast.
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“Most of the houses in the suburb are less than a kilometre from a waterway – either Wamberal Lagoon or Wamberal Beach,” explains REA.
But people were also jazzed about a coastal lifestyle closer to Sydney, with the Northern Beaches and Sutherland Shire super popular in areas like Collaroy, Newport, North Narrabeen and Gymea Bay.
The most in-demand suburbs for houses
- North Narrabeen
- Gymea Bay
The most in-demand suburbs for units
From a renter who’s made the leap
Cassandra Vozzo lived in Potts Point for four years, sharing a two-bedroom apartment with her partner Danny and toy cavoodle Frankie. However a few months after the pandemic hit, they began to question if it was really the right space for them.
“I’ve always loved living in this area, but we didn’t have an outdoor area. And apartment living in a crowded inner-city area got old quickly during a pandemic,” explains Cassandra. “We were tired of living on top of other people”.
They realised they could get more space for less money further out, so began checking out areas on NSW’s Central Coast. In the end, they decided to stay closer to Sydney due to her partner’s work, moving 30-minutes south to Monterey, near Brighton-Le-Sans.
While Cassandra says she’ll always love Potts Point, they now live a minutes’ walk from both a reserve and the beach while saving $200 per week on rent, which the couple is putting towards saving for a home.
There’s also less distractions to spend money on. “I’m saving already as I can’t buy food and coffee literally beneath my apartment,” she admits.
While the move was a big adjustment at first – “I was living in the same building as two of my best friends, plus moving meant finding all new vets, doctors, dog walkers, dog parks etc” – Cassandra has been loving how easy it is to get out in nature and find new places to explore.
“I’m really loving the beach as well as having a reserve nearby. We’re also close to other great beaches I never used to explore, like Greenhills beach. Plus, there’s good local markets and food is generally cheaper here”.
Cassandra says that ultimately, she’s happy she made the leap. “The pandemic caused us to reassess what we wanted and that we don’t always have to be out and about and social. This move has forced me to slow down a bit and appreciate things.”
And if Cassandra ever wants to let loose in her former burb, she’s sorted. “I made a deal with Danny that if we moved, he has to do drop offs and pick ups if I ever want a night out in Potts Point.”
(Lead Image: Provided / Central Coast Tourism)