Many of us have developed a love-hate relationship with the inner-city property market in recent years. Whether you have been priced out of it, or watched the value of your current property plummet, it’s a roller coaster that makes us question why we even want a life in the city anyway right? It’s not just the property market either – we spend hours sitting in traffic, trying to find parking, queuing for coffee, racing between meetings, social engagements and the gym and then see our weekends swallowed up with brunches and parties and shopping and cleaning and all the time sucking tasks that come with city life.
In addition, our work lives have changed, allowing us more freedom and flexibility than we had in the past, to live where we want, because we work anywhere. Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone but there are a great number of people who can now enjoy flexible hours in the office, combined with days working from home, or even while travelling around the world. So, with that kind of freedom and the changing face of regional towns, maybe it’s time to give lifestyle acreage a try?
A more affordable lifestyle offers greater mental and financial stability
Property on capital city fringes or on the edge of larger regional cities can be considerably more affordable than inner city investments and you get so much more bang for your buck! Rural and regional real estate is much more affordable than inner city property in almost every case. It’s not only the initial outlay on property either, the general cost of living - from groceries and eating out, to fuel, health care and other goods and services is also considerably more manageable outside of city postcodes. The ease of financial pressure also reduces emotional stress, knowing that you are living within your means and able to secure your financial future at the same time.
Whatever you spent on that one-bedroom apartment in the inner city can buy twice as much or more in a rural location, with open space, tranquillity and plenty of room for pets and kids thrown in as well. Or you might be a first home buyer, realising that all that rent money could be going towards a mortgage and relocating to a regional area could help you save a deposit much faster. Grass, trees and open skies in abundance, and you can park wherever you like on your huge piece of land! You can even walk around the house naked with the curtains open if you want!
A good work life balance brings greater freedom
Those who work from home can certainly adapt to this new lifestyle easily enough and will enjoy their income much more as they continue to earn the same amount but are spending their cash on a much more affordable lifestyle. Internet access has liberated us from the confines of specific locations and if you stick to properties an hour or two from your client base or office you can still commute when needed, but have the peace and solitude of a country retreat to work from for the rest of the time. It’s not only a more pleasant work experience, it can also allow you to be much more productive without the usual distractions of office life and city vibes. Greater productivity means you get more done much faster so have more free time to lie on a sunny spot on the sofa and read a book, start a veggie patch, listen to music as loud as you want, or learn a language. Living in larger spaces outside of the city not only gives you physical space to live your life in, it also frees you up mentally by not having so many ‘things’ to clutter your thoughts on a day to day basis.
Rural living creates a more naturally healthy lifestyle
It’s easy enough to keep fit and healthy in the city but part of that equation requires a heavy investment. From gym memberships to organic produce, buying specialty items at health food stores and eating supplements like candy. Not to mention the treatments – the chiropractor you see because of long hours spent in the car and at your desk, the psychologist you see because of the stress of work and juggling your finances, even the personal trainer to motivate you to fit exercise into your life, in between everything else you have to do! It all adds up and all of it comes at city prices too. It will take a little time but gradually the rural rhythms can have a significant impact on your general health and wellbeing.
Physical activity becomes a more pleasurable experience when you’re surrounded by nature and living with the seasons. The movement required to navigate the day changes, because your activities have changed. Instead of walking to the car, the train station, the printer, the coffee machine, you’re walking to the chook shed to collect fresh eggs, or riding your bike to the local milk bar, or even simply hanging washing out in the sun on a Hills Hoist rather than bundling loads of wet clothes into the dryer. These are all small acts that change the way we experience time and improve our experience of tasks that may previously have seemed arduous.
Home grown salad ingredients picked fresh from the garden for lunch, or a 20-minute queue at the salad bar for a soggy mixture of whatever looks decent? A peaceful walk around the local lake at sunrise or a power walk with headphones in amongst the tribe of others pounding the pavement? Being first in line as your drop in for a takeaway coffee and being greeted by name at the supermarket, or ordering groceries online because there’s no time to shop and parking is a pain?
Being part of a rural community has great benefits for a family or for a young couple planning their future and becomes nurturing in ways that are more difficult to find in the inner city. Plus, the effects on your general health and wellbeing cannot be underestimated. You also have a much greater shot at a strong and vibrant financial and personal future by investing less in the property itself and more in your actual lifestyle.
The following advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions.