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Want to beat the cost of living crunch? Leave the city behind

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Australians are flocking to regional NSW, where homes are $400K cheaper than in Sydney.

39% of Australians who leave a city behind are moving to regional NSW, new data from the Regional Movers Index shows. Regional Queensland is the next most popular choice for former city dwellers looking for a new start (33%).

While Australians aren't making tree and sea changes at pandemic lockdown levels, we're still moving out of cities at a higher rate than we were before Covid.

"Capital to regional migration levels [are] currently 11.7% above the pre-Covid (2018 and 2019) average," said Regional Australia Institute CEO Liz Ritchie.

"RMI data is repeatedly showing the exodus of people from capital cities wasn't a short-lived phenomenon."

Rising cost of living pressures are a big factor driving more Australians out of the cities. While inflation has hit everyone, property prices and rents are higher in Australia's biggest cities.

According to Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker, 57% of Australians say they're experiencing increased financial stress as a result of rising cost of living pressures.

8% of Australians say they've relocated from a major city to a regional area in the last 12 months. And 8% say they're planning to relocate to a regional area in the next 12 months.

How much can you save buying outside a major city?

Just compare the median Sydney property price to… anywhere else in the country. Sydney's median property value, according to the Corelogic Home Value Index, is $1,121,196.

But regional NSW has a median price of $707,297. Moving out of Sydney to the country could save you a whopping $413,899.

Of course, many regional NSW centres have become much more expensive in recent years, and cost well more than the median.

But wherever you look, there is a stark price difference between major cities and their regional surrounds.

For example, property in regional South Australia is 44% cheaper than in Adelaide.

City versus regional property prices

City/regionMedian value
Sydney$1,121,196
Regional NSW$707,297
Melbourne$778,541
Regional VIC$562,717
Brisbane$770,575
Regional QLD$594,911
Adelaide$700,024
Regional SA$387,459
Perth$631,195 $
Regional WA$446,016
Hobart$662,166
Regional TAS$505,376

Source: Corelogic Home Value Index, November 2023

Moving out of a big city is a major life decision, and not one anyone can take lightly. But the savings can be enormous.

But there are less drastic ways to cut your costs, from switching energy providers, getting a better deal on your health or car insurance and putting your savings to work in a high interest account.

Check out all our money saving tips to help you beat the cost of living crunch.

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