Former Sydneysiders reveal big reason they escaped the city

Sydneysiders have revealed why they are escaping the city that feels “impossible to get ahead”.

Between 2016 and 2021, Sydney lost twice as many people as it gained, a report published earlier this year by the NSW Productivity Commission found. Around 35,000 people moved to the city, but 70,000 chose to leave.

And about two of every three departures were from those aged between 25 and 64, a number the report said shows it’s not just “grey-nomads” and retirees exiting the city.

Since 2021 – following the time period in which the data was collected – cost of living has soared, giving people another reason to move out of the most expensive city in Australia.

A Sydneysider took to an Australian financial subreddit on Tuesday to asked people about the pros and cons of leaving, saying they were “starting to feel very disheartened” about living there.

“We have a mortgage on a unit. My partner and I both have masters degrees but still feel like we will never be able to get ahead living here. House prices are ridiculous and there is an extra tax on food and services for just living here,” they wrote.

People who have left Sydney have begun sharing their reasoning, citing more space and a better lifestyle with less traffic and less people in other towns and cities.

Some people who had migrated up or down the coast revealed it was hybrid work that had allowed them to make the change, and said having to commute some days into Sydney was worth it.

One person who moved to the NSW Central Coast said their kids and dog now had a backyard, and they could drive 15 minutes to a quiet beach and park for free.

“Downsides are we worry about the quality of some of the extra curricular options for our kids as they grow (music, theatre classes etc), daycares and schools have crazy long wait lists,” they wrote.

Another person who left Sydney for the NSW South Coast during the pandemic said it was the “best thing we ever did”.

“Now we own / renovate our own house in our spare time and it’s still only a two-hour drive to the CBD if we want,” they said, teasing it was the same as driving from Penrith in traffic.

One person who moved to the Blue Mountains said it was hard leaving the inner city but they were able to buy a house on a big block for under $600,000 during Covid.

“Took one year to fully adjust and now I could never move back,” they said.

They listed the positives as being in nature and having their own garden, feeling more engaged in the community and “actually own a home without mortgage stress”. The cons were relying on cars more for transport and having to commute to the city some days for work.

Some Sydneysiders discussed a lot bigger moves.

Migration data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released in March showed every day 320 people leave NSW for another state or territory.

For the year to September, 116,946 people left to go interstate and 83,744 arrived.

A couple in their early 30s who moved from Sydney to Melbourne six months ago said their first impressions were that Melbourne felt “a lot calmer and relaxed” and had a “nicer” casual food and drink scene.

However, they felt Sydney did better with fine dining and public transport.

Someone who now calls Brisbane their home said they wouldn’t be going back to Sydney as they loved their “amazing change of lifestyle”.

“It’s far less fast paced here. People are nicer. Less traffic. House prices are going up though,” they said.

Another man who moved to Brisbane with his wife in 2022 said their household income increased by about 70 per cent since then.

“Finally became a homeowner in a very good area 20 minutes drive to city (bought an old house a few months ago and now rebuilding),” he said.

“The rent we pay for a city fringe apartment is less than the current rent of the apartment we leased in Rhodes [an Inner West suburb of Sydney].

“Moving from Sydney was the best decision we had ever made.”

Some Australians who were born and bred in Sydney admitted they tried leaving and moved back because, despite its downsides, it feels like home.

“We would rather not save as much to be closer to friends and family at this stage of our lives,” said one.

“Rather unit in Sydney than house elsewhere for me …” wrote a second.

Read related topics:Sydney

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