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City vs Country
Financial growth or lifestyle

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#1 Andlig

Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:28 PM

Hi everyone,

DH & I have had a desire for a long time to move  to the hills. We recently moved back to Melbourne (Inner city) after  spending 2 years in a small coastal town for a work contract.

We have been  back in Melbourne for 5 months and I must say I find the traffic a  nightmare after living in a town without one traffic light! Aside from  that, it is nice to have the abundance of city-life options such as  cafes, restaurants, shops etc.

I would love to hear the pros & cons of hills/country/coastal living.

My list;

         - HARSHER WINTERS - (Dandenong ranges area)
         - DISTANCE FOR DH WORK - Currently in the city, would take an hr on train.
PROS  - OPTION OF A BETTER HOME FOR LESS MONEY  -Currently renting but have    funds to purchase - Inner city is very expensive however! We could  possibly afford a reno's delight shoebox, or take on a nasty large  mortgage.
        - NO TRAFFIC

WDYT is the best option? Go for lifestyle or go for future financial growth in property?
Thanks for any feedback

#2 MrsLexiK

Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:40 PM

We are on the outskirts. We choose lifestyle and the lifestyle we wanted our child to have. Yup it means at present it is 52km to work on the lovely murrodoch, easy link and monash (I bet the stupid pen link will open just as I go on mat leave) it also means that having us both go back to work after the baby would be hard both in petrol, tolls and hours spent just getting to and from work. i would never get back in time for pick up and some days DH wouldn't make it either. We would have to look at child care closer to one of our works which would be a pain if either was sick. The up side is our mortgage is much smaller so manageable on my DH's income. Also I can get our fruit and veg from actual farms (very cheap) so some of our living expenses are less as well.

I wouldn't have moved out this far if my plan was to stay in my current job for years.

#3 Domestic Goddess

Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:43 PM

All these really depend on where you would be looking to locate.

I mean, I live on the North Coast of NSW and winters are better here than Melbourne. No fire danger either.
Properties though, are very expensive. Our 70000 town is called the 5th most expensive city in the world to live in. Simply because the incomes are lower here, but house prices are in line with big city pricing right now.
So the prices are not insanely high, just the affordability is less because of the incomes being lower than in the city. IYKWIM

#4 Andlig

Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:00 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone. I'll be sharing these with DH tomorrow. We both switch our minds all the time, hence why I'm asking for guidance. So thank you!

#5 ekbaby

Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:02 PM

Country/Coastal living cons:

- harder to find work/possibly lower pay/less opportunities for promotion (there may be exceptions in some industries eg essential health workers etc- but the jobs are often in the "less attractive" rural areas)
- in many areas- less diversity that the cities, more racism/homophobia/discrimination, more conservative [big generalisations and it's not to say there aren't many many exceptions but voting patterns etc tend to support this... of course for some people who share those values this would be a plus!]
- less anonymity- the flip side is that it can be really nice feeling part of a community and knowing your neighbours. But some people find it stifling having everyone know their business.
- less access to things like museums, cultural events, festivals
- less variety of things for kids to pursue in terms of their interests/hobbies- if they are interested in a niche sport or subculture

- more affordable housing
- more space
- more access to natural environment/bush/beaches
- less traffic (although if you are commuting to a city- probably more traffic & time spent travelling)
- simpler lifestyle
- ? maybe less w*n*ers?

#6 Charlies Angel

Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:04 PM

I've done both, and can see the value in country living especially for bringing up children. Your housing $$$ certainly goes a lot further!

How flexible are your careers? Would it be possible to transfer skills to an allied industry where you might get local employment?

The Dandenongs are lovely but also quite damp. Have you considered Lancefield direction, outside Geelong or Warragul? (Warragul has good schools and is a great size with excellent services).

#7 janie1105

Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:08 PM

We're thinking about doing the same thing: Dandenong Ranges (from QLD)

Will be watching this tread with interest!

For us, it's about living amonst all that nature.  We are over the burbs.

#8 Etcetera

Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:29 AM

I grew up in a small town. From my perspective, it's a nice place to grow up when little but once you hit about high school age, being closer to a big city would have been nice. Having access to museums, galleries, universities etc would have been invaluable.

My ideal would be an hour or two outside a major city - best of both worlds.

#9 tothebeach

Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:50 AM

The Dandenong ranges always seems so cold and damp and gloomy to me.  I couldn't live there.  However, an hour commute is realistic (our commute in Sydney is an hour and we live 14km from the CBD).

I also wonder why you think that the lifestyle would be better for your kids.  I'd more easily let my child walk/ride a bike to friends in the inner city/suburban melbourne than the windy blind corner, no pavement roads of the Dandenongs.

#10 Grobanite

Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:52 AM

We live in the country and love how quiet it is. We also love the small school and the fact that we got a big house for just over $100k. There is also a local hospital with a nurse on 24/7. We have also found it better financially for us.

The downside is the 1 1/2 hr drive to the nearest town to get groceries and anything else. However as a PP said being away from it more means you appreciate more. We have learnt to bulk buy and be more creative in our meal choices at the end of the month.
And unfortunately when the kids have to go to high school  it will be boarding school.

We will look at moving before my DS is 12.

#11 countrychic29

Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:08 AM

We moved from suburbia to the country ... well we are close to the Dandenongs but you access our town (of 500 ppl) off the freeway. - we are in foothills on Black Snake Ranges/Bunyip Forrest.

- In summer i LOVE it, space, fruit trees, vegie patch quiet neighborhood our animals love it and i cant wait to sit in the hammock b/w the gum trees with my new bub next year.

- It is a real community atmosphere, but you only have to be as involved as you want.

- The Dandenongs are beautiful, gardens, restaurants, shops (not sure about schools)

- The drive to work is only 15mins (45mins total)longer than previous house but is freeway all the way - so commute is easy


In winter it is difficult - it is colder probably minimum of 3 degrees than suburbs - dandenongs more like 5 degrees cooler
everything is wet and damp, your house needs to be big enough to have the clothes horse out all winter as your clothes will not really dry easily

Another thing to take into account with the dandenongs is the tourist traffic on the weekend, we have a few friends up there and it drives them crazy.

Commuting on the windy roads can be tiring - thats why we moved where we did rather than say Emerald or Gembrook as the distance is the same but the time taken to drive it was 15mins longer again.

Bushfire risk is very real in VIC anywhere outside of the metro area, you need to be prepared and have everything in place.
For instance DH & I decided that any days extreme or above (code red) fire danger we will both take our pets to work (we are lucky to be able to do this) the morning of so at least we are not worrying all day. Our place is old and weatherboard though so we wouldnt bother.
it is scary though.

I hope i havent sounded too negative ... despite the cons i would still choose where we are now time and time again. original.gif

#12 emmafg

Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:28 AM

Coincidentally we went through something similar 3-4 years ago.  We came back from London yearning for more space, and a generally safer place to bring up our kids.  We looked at the Hills and around Woodend/Mount Macedon for many, many months but eventually  made the decision to move to an outer north eastern suburb.

We decided against Dandenong's etc for a few reasons, namely the schools are not great (particularly high schools - and limited choice), very limited public transport (not great when the kids are teenagers), limited services etc.  The housing stock available also wasn't what we were after and building is very difficult.

We are happy with our compromise - we still have space (1/2 acre as opposed to the 3-5 we were looking at), it is a lovely treed environment, great variety of schools and other activities, good neighbours etc.  Our commute by train is still a hour or so, but this is not an issue for us.  We are also just around the corner from vineyards, forests etc.

Goodluck with your decision.

#13 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:57 AM

QUOTE (emmafg @ 28/11/2012, 11:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
very limited public transport (not great when the kids are teenagers)

This can be a big issue when your kids are older.  My SIL lives on acreage - it's great.  When the kids were younger (to about 12/13), it was very easy living & they all loved it.  But once the kids got older (teenagers), it has been much more difficult for the kids to be involved in some of the activities they were keen on (evening/night activities).  And having a part-time job outside of school has not been possible because they simply can't reliably get anywhere using the very limited public transport.  They are trying to sell their place now to move a little closer to a town.

#14 ComradeBob

Posted 28 November 2012 - 12:09 PM

What Yoda describes is exactly what happened to my cousin and his kids - countryside was great for them when the kids were young, but he felt like he was spending his life driving the kids around once they were teens.

#15 *LucyE*

Posted 28 November 2012 - 06:28 PM

We live on the outskirts of a regional town. When we first moved here, I wanted DH to commit to a medium term plan of moving back to the city by the time the kids were in high school. I've recently realized that I don't want to move back to the city.

Our town is just large enough for us to be to be somewhat anonymous. Instead of the suburban houses in town, we have acreage on the outskirts so we get the space to garden/make noise/keep a menagerie to our hearts content. It's probably only 10mins from one side of town to the other and the locals think we live 'so far out', but it's only an extra 5mins to our drive. That's nothing by city standards.

We have access to good schools and extra curricula activities. We have national standard sports coaches here too. It's not that far to the city and day trips are very do-able.

I think finding the right location to suit your needs is more important than a vague pro and con list. For example, there are houses in our town that's cheaper than the city but I want the expensive ones because I'm creating my own cocooned, hermit world as a trade off for being regional. If I were in the city, I'd happily live in a smaller place to be in the thick of the action.

#16 BearBait

Posted 28 November 2012 - 06:36 PM

Have you looked at Woodend or Kyneton recently? Train in is 1 hour so no big deal but effectively country town living. Housing affordability still good.

#17 Andlig

Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:15 PM

Thank you for all the replies. Food for thought and much appreciated. I have read over all comments twice over.

We had considered Macedon way, however we would prefer to be closer to the Eastern suburbs as my parents live there and DH can possibly find work in the Eastern Suburbs as opposed to the city, if he chooses. Also, we have a family holiday house in Inverloch, so we would be closer to that side of the coast.

The desire for the Dandenongs stems from a long love for the area. Dh & I use to often spend weekends away together there. Also, I have a dream to run my own guest house/BB one day. I love the idea of the kids having more space to play outside and experience free range chooks, and other animals.

I am concerned with the option of schools. Of course the fire season is a worry. The winters I think we can handle after spending two years in wet Gippsland! although the darkness which some people mention of the hills may be an issue?

The houses we have seen are just what we desire in terms of character and space. We aren't looking at a cheap home, but rather the dream home which we couldn't afford in inner Melbourne.

We have an investment property in the northern Suburbs of Melbourne (our first home we left when we transferred to Gippsland for work) which we will need to sell to afford what we want. It would be nice if we could keep that and purchase in the hills and have a foot in Melbourne for future financial growth. Not possible though I think.

Any other thoughts would be great! I'm swaying to move out of town and run for the hills!

#18 libbylu

Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:24 PM

QUOTE (Andlig @ 27/11/2012, 10:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My list;

         - HARSHER WINTERS - (Dandenong ranges area)
         - DISTANCE FOR DH WORK - Currently in the city, would take an hr on train.
PROS  - OPTION OF A BETTER HOME FOR LESS MONEY  -Currently renting but have    funds to purchase - Inner city is very expensive however! We could  possibly afford a reno's delight shoebox, or take on a nasty large  mortgage.
        - NO TRAFFIC

How far do you have to commute to work though? And if you are not currently working, what work opportunities are there for you down the track in rural areas? What if you want to do further study?
We would love to move to the country, but I am really only employable by universities and research institutes which tend to be in major cities, and DH has a business in the inner suburbs.  While it might be feasible for one person to commute, it makes no sense for two to do so - and I hate commuting so I wouldn't do it.
It would mean having the kids in care for longer due to longer working days so many of the lifestyle benefits would be lost.
We did toy with the idea of doing it for a year or two while new baby is small and my work would be very part time, but we wouldn't sell up in the city as we would likely never be able to buy back in....house prices increase in value for more quickly close to the city as a general rule.
If you are a stay at home mum, why don't you pick a location in the inner suburbs where you don't have to drive much. i.e. within walking distance of local shops, kinder, school etc.

Edited by libbylu, 28 November 2012 - 08:27 PM.

#19 Andlig

Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:33 PM

Thanks libbylu

I would not be commuting for work, I work from home - own business - internet based mainly in graphic design. My main focus is to be able to be home with the kids. But who is to say I may want to work outside of home and in an office amongst adults in the future; that could be a concern for options available?

DH will need to commute. Most of his work options are city based or Eastern suburbs. He could be as close as 1/2 drive to Eastern suburbs or 1 hr train to city.

#20 Domestic Goddess

Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:45 PM

I think there's a difference between the country and the country.

There is rural and there's regional. We live regional, yet still only 200m away from the beach and 50km away from the mountains and rainforests. The town has 70000 all up divided over the CBD and a bunch of smaller suburbs.
It's so beautiful and peaceful here. The best place to raise my son for sure. (Mind you, having lived in the Netherlands for 20 years, even Sydney seems to be more roomy still lol.)

But yeah, we still have plenty of buses going everywhere, we have an international marina, an airport with connections to major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, etc. A big highway going straight through town as well.
A big hospital, a university, a few private schools and about 15 public primary and 15 public highschools.
We have plenty of events and exhibitions too. It's a tourist town, so it has to have entertainment or it will die out.
Yet it does not breathe a city atmosphere because of the space It's got everything the big city has, but in a smaller setup.

So I think maybe being a bit more specific about what you're looking for can help. Are you thinking rural or regional. huge difference between the 2 original.gif

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