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Swapping the hustle and bustle of the big smoke for clean country air is something many Australians dream about and with more affordable housing options than those in the city, making a tree change is gaining wider appeal with first home buyers and young families.

Urban Greenfield spoke with Phillip and Joelene, a professional couple with two school-aged children from south-west Sydney who recently packed up their life and made the move to the country. Although the move was not without its challenges, here is their list of the top 5 benefits of moving to the country:

A change of pace
“We both had very hectic work lives and finding a work-life balance in the city was getting increasingly difficult,” Joelene says. “A lot of our time was spent in traffic, getting to and from work and juggling day care pickups, only to wake up the next morning and do it all over again. After settling on a rural lifestyle property, just outside of Bathurst, we were surprised at just how quickly we adjusted to a quieter and more peaceful way of life. It was almost instant zen. The streets are wider, there is less traffic on the road, and no one seems to be in too much of a rush. Sure, the shops may close earlier, and entertainment options in the evening are limited, but this essentially left us with more time for the things that really matter.”

Room to move
“A key driver for us making the move was the lack of affordable housing in the city. We grew tired of renting a small apartment, and longed to give our two girls a decent backyard for them to play in,” says Phillip. Unable to afford a mortgage in the city, Phillip and Joelene turned to looking at rural lifestyle options in and around Bathurst. “Both Joelene and I were fortunate enough to secure great jobs before making the move, so we were able to make the necessary plans to buy our first home – travelling to the central west on weekends to house hunt. We would have been saving for the next 20 years to buy even a unit in Sydney, but we were able to afford a wonderful cottage on a couple of acres here in the country. The stars aligned and we settled on the property a week before our planned move.”

Be clean, and go green
“We didn’t intend on turning into greenies, but it just kind of happened,” muses Joelene. After settling in the young family turned their hand at gardening, creating a wonderfully diverse veggie garden. They also had space for a small hobby farm, building a chicken coup and a luxurious paddock for Daisy the cow. “One of our favourite weekend activities as a family is tending to the veggies and collecting eggs from the chickens” says Phillip. “We find now, we eat more from the garden than we buy, and our general lifestyle is a lot healthier. We spend more time outdoors in the clean fresh air, and are more active. It also helps that the nearest takeaway food outlet is at least 30 minutes down the road!”

Community ties
Living on acreage just out of town can be isolating, but one-thing small country towns are brilliant at, is sense of community! “We were welcomed with open arms,” says Joelene. “But we also made a point of getting involved in local community groups, the girls’ school P&C and the local netball club. This helped us to meet other young families, form friendships, and re-establish a support network we thought we had left behind.”

Investment
Each family’s situation is different, however if you own a home in the city and sell to buy in the country, you may have the opportunity to free up some capital or simplify your finances. For Phillip and Joelene it was about all about entering into the property market to begin with. Phillip says, “Although we are aware the value of properties in the country are slower to increase, we are confident it will happen over time. Our property is unique and we are considering offering farm stay retreats for city folk to experience the country. This will help supplement our income and eventually add value to the property in the long term.”

If you are looking for your own private piece of the country, visit our property page and explore our listings here.

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