Millennials are moving away from the big cities. Whether it’s the call of open spaces, affordable housing, or more peaceful surroundings — millennials and young Australians are opting to start their families away from the chaos and congestion of big cities.
A Growing Trend
More than half of the cities in Australia saw people moving to the suburbs. For the past years, Both national and local governments have made efforts to control urban sprawl and congestion in big cities by developing suburban communities. Most suburbs have easy access to schools of all levels, medical facilities, entertainment venues, and shopping districts.
The improvements to the suburbs have drawn many young professionals. However, cities remain congested — mostly because of immigration and overseas arrivals. Recent lockdowns only highlighted the downsides of living in densely-populated environments. A good percentage of city dwellers reported feelings of being cooped up and longed for the freedom of open spaces.
Rent Forever or Own a Home
The prospect of owning a home has driven young professionals wanting to start families into the suburbs. Renting in the city can seem pointless. A 45 square meter studio can go for over $1,300 while a larger 95 square meter apartment will cost close to $2,000. At those steep prices, buying a house in the suburbs is clearly a better option. With the recent slump in the housing market because of the pandemic and lockdowns — even real estate deals in Melbourne’s Western suburbs are going for $600,000-$800,000. Instead of renting, buyers are using their $2,000 on monthly payments towards a house in the suburbs.
Of course, it requires a hefty deposit and good mortgage terms — but the feeling of owning a house is priceless. Most young professionals also prefer living in a proper house instead of a cramped apartment building — they want the freedom to plant crops in their garden, lounge in the backyard, or just feel the uninterrupted breeze.
City Residence Not Required
The lockdowns have made companies more fluid in their management. Working remotely became the norm. Zoom meetings replaced boardroom conferences and managers learned to trust their subordinates to perform their jobs with little to no supervision. The practice was more or less successful and some companies — particularly with workers in the tech industry — opted to continue the practice even after 2020. The changes to the work environment eliminate the need for a residence near one’s work.
However, even ordinary workers find no need to live in or near big cities. Government spending on infrastructure, road improvements, and tram lines — have made the CBD and other employment hubs more accessible. Commute times have been drastically cut and the former 2-3 hour commutes have all been relegated to the past. The cost of petrol or diesel is negligible — considering the money saved by renting outside the city.
The time when young professionals flocked to the city to work has ended. The government’s efforts to develop the suburbs as an alternative to city living have been largely successful and millennials are among the first to embrace suburban living.