When I made the move from inner-city Melbourne to regional Victoria around ten years ago, it was a big shock to my system I will admit.
I was still very young, had a busy social life and was working several jobs while studying at university.
On top of that, I was also travelling dozens of hours each week between my (now) husband’s place and mine.
I remember one day I was simply so tired and frustrated with living out of a suitcase. Not to mention, always commuting on trains or driving. It was then and there I made the decision to move in with Jezz, and call the country home!
It was definitely hard at first. I didn’t know that many people, I still had university and work in the city and not much open on a Sunday in regional towns (it is much better now).
But as time went on, and it became evident that this move would be permanent for us, and I started to love it more and more.
I found work closer to home and relocated to a university that was closer – and actually with a better course. I was no longer commuting huge distances and spending a fortune on parking. And for the first time in my life, I was SAVING money and had all this free time.
Fast forward a few years, to our mid-twenties, and we decided to make the leap and buy our first home. A process we expected to be extremely difficult with all the stories about how hard it was for first home buyers, but surprisingly it wasn’t.
Houses were extremely affordable in our area, with lots of existing homes available, as well as an abundance of new housing in both estates and acreage around.
Now, ten years on, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
The lifestyle that we have, living where we do, affords us lots of freedom and great opportunities.
This has been a huge topic within our Budgeting & Savings community. Throughout our challenges and talks around reducing household expenses, mortgages are clearly a huge chunk of people’s incomes.
And there has been a lot of questions and chatter around downsizing, relocating and reducing your financial commitments.
So when Metricon invited us along to their Regional Victoria showcase event, at their head office in Mount Waverley. I was super keen to come along and learn more about it, and get some informed information from professionals in the industry about what it looks like in real figures.
And here are some of the top things I took away from it, and think every person should consider when thinking of relocating to a regional town or city.
Obviously a big one, and something I have touched on already.
According to the REA Group, the median house prices in big regional cities like Ballarat, Geelong and Bendigo are almost half that of Melbourne house prices.
There are also big incentives to buy and build regionally, with stamp duty waivers and reductions as well as first home buyer grants almost double for those going regional.
This makes it a lot easier for people to get into the market – something that might not even be possible if you lived in a major city.
You can actually enjoy your home, and love where you live because you are not weighed down by a huge mortgage cost sucking up most of your income.
I really enjoyed listening to Dean Ipaviz, Co-Host of Escape from the City on ABC and listening to his tale around moving from Bondi to Byron Bay.
So many of us spend our lives just telling everyone how busy we are because we spend 75 hours a week working, communicating and just trying to stay on top of things.
Then, come our weekends or even a holiday, we feel we have to escape our own lives.
One thing I have noticed myself, since living in Gippsland, is that I always lust to be home. I love our house, the space we have and that everything is so close around us.
Sure, we are missing a few of the things the ‘big smoke’ can offer, but sometimes it’s nice not having access to things and you soon realise a lot of it is really not needed.
A lot of those things revolve around convenience, because when you do live in the city you have so much less time, so you need those services to just survive. But living regionally, with a bit slower pace, you have that time!
A Sense Of Community
This was a completely foreign concept to me when I first moved here. That on weekends people spent their day at the local football club or netball club, whether playing or not. And there was always a local market or community event happening somewhere in the area.
People wave at you in the street, whether you know them or not. And should someone in the community be experiencing hardship, people always rallied around them to help.
Now that I have children of my own, I love that they get to grow up around this, and know it as their norm.
This is reflected in the schools in our area as well. I love that we have smaller class sizes and the kids get really involved in both their school and the local community.
Wide Open Spaces
Not only are there bigger houses and land available, but there is just so much space in general.
We have dozens of amazing playgrounds, parks, walking trails and safe places for children to play when compared to the city and suburbs.
You wake up to birds chirping or even a cow ‘mooing’. And seeing wildlife in paddocks or ducks crossing the road is a daily occurrence.
We grow a lot of our own produce in our garden. And the kids love getting outside, playing and getting dirty.
I honestly think that living regionally gives kids a much better opportunity to just be kids!
Now, having lived here for almost a decade, I find driving into the city so frustrating. But also a good reminder of why I love where I live.
It doesn’t just cost you time either. It’s costing you in fuel, in tolls for the roads, and more often than not, your sanity.
Some people are commuting upward of 50 minutes ONE WAY a day for work, and that could just be getting from one side of Melbourne to another.
Imagine what you could be doing with that time if work was just a few minutes down the road.
I know the thought of relocation can seem incomprehensible at first, with so much to consider. But even as someone already living regionally, I felt I got so much value personally from the Metricon showcase.
It was a great time to listen to professionals, with informed knowledge about how the market is performing, and how it looks like a financial decision.
But also from people who have made the move and all the benefits, they could share from their first-hand experience.
Metricon also offered a showcase more catered towards investing in regional. This ran directly after this session if that was more of interest.
I definitely think if this is something you have ever considered or even just something you’d like to get a bit more information about, I recommend attending. These sessions are free, and extremely well catered 😉
Metricon also offers a wide breadth of events across Victoria including styling sessions, masterclasses and informative sessions for things like first home buyers or even knockdown rebuilds.
You can find out more information through their website here.