Cleaner air, less traffic, open spaces, lower cost of living…did we mention less traffic? There are any number of reasons to consider a tree change, but if you’re serious about leaving the bright lights behind, better do your homework first.

Housing affordability

Buying a home is more affordable in the country, and that goes for renting too.

In Wodonga on the Victoria-NSW border, you can rent a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, modern family home for around $390 per week. You’d pay around $610 for a similar home in Melbourne’s Glen Waverley.

You could buy a 4 bed, 2 bath home on a 1,000 square meter block in Orange for just over $500,000, while a similar dwelling 250 ks up the road in Hornsby, Sydney could set you back over $1 million.

While property is generally cheaper to rent or buy in the country you’ll need to consider other factors such as council rates.

Some regional municipalities cover large areas – that equates to a lot of maintenance with fewer residents. This means council and water rates can be pricier than in the city.

Another point to think about is bushfire zoning. If you’re in a high-risk area, insurance premiums can be more costly. When building a house in a bushfire-prone area you may be required to modify your building plans to accommodate the area’s fire rating. This will increase the cost of your project.

Make sure you do your sums. Talk to local councils about rates and levies. If buying land, read your Section 32 carefully and be aware of all zoning requirements.

Work

Government incentives encourage industries and businesses to move to regional areas. As employment opportunities in regional areas grows, so too does the economic well-being of its towns.

This flow-on enables local governments to build and maintain community infrastructure such as parks and family-friendly spaces and resources, such as libraries, transport and shops. All of this provides a wide range of employment opportunities.

It’s a good idea, to check the job-market in the area, and if possible, have a job lined up before you make any final decisions.

Could you make it work?

Holidaying and living are two separate things. Try not to make the mistake of assuming an idyllic getaway will be your perfect permanent tree-change.

On holiday you’re relaxed; you’re not a taxi for your kids’ weekend activities, you’re not harried by housework, school and work pressures.

If you’re serious about moving to the country and you’ve a location in mind, do your due diligence. Start by researching the following:

  • Schools
    • primary/secondary/tertiary
    • adequate facilities and teaching resources
    • good range of subjects
    • good location
  • Medical
    • hospitals, doctors, dentists
    • ambulance service
  • Community
    • kids/adults sporting clubs
    • library
    • public transport
    • local theatre or art groups
    • swimming pool
    • well-maintained parks and gardens
  • Entertainment
    • bars, restaurants, cafes
    • theatre or cinema
    • shops

Australians are blessed with an abundance of wide-open spaces. If you’re dreaming of a tree change, do your research and draw up a plan; your dream could become reality.