Sea change and tree change back in style

Adam Smith 19 April 2016

Sea change

Lifestyle markets are coming back into fashion, and migration to coastal areas is no longer driven by retirees.

The terms “sea change” and “tree change” -- shifting to a coastal or rural area for a more relaxed lifestyle -- were largely relegated to the dustbin following the GFC. The lifestyle markets drawing retirees saw precipitous declines as interstate migration slowed. But new data suggests Australians might once again be on the move to lifestyle markets, and the change may be driven by affordability rather than retirement.

CoreLogic RP Data researcher Cameron Kusher has said migration figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that coastal and lifestyle markets are seeing growth. Kusher said 14 of the top 25 regions for internal migration are at the outer fringe regions of capital cities. The Melbourne-West region has seen the strongest level of internal migration over 2014-15, with 5,038 people moving to the region (excluding overseas migration).

“This region is seeing substantial levels of new housing development, much of which is at affordable price points which is clearly attracting people to the region,” Kusher said.

Kusher said migration to coastal and lifestyle regions was being driven by those aged 0-14 years and between 25 and 64 years. In contrast to the sea and tree change driven by retirees prior to the GFC, Kusher said this indicated migration to the markets was being driven by young families.

“Another contributing factor to this migration is likely to be the fact that the recent increases in home values in capital cities which has resulted in deteriorating affordability has forced many younger families to look for alternatives to living in the capital cities. Subsequently some appear to making the choice to move to lifestyle markets,” Kusher said.

Supporting this theory is the fact that many of the coastal and lifestyle markets highlighted in the report are within relatively close commuting distance to capital cities, Kusher said.

“Many Australian workplaces are also becoming more flexible meaning that people can work from home or commute to the office only a few times a week. Undoubtedly this is also making moving to a lifestyle market more appealing,” he said.

Before you buy on the coast

If you're looking to buy on the coast, it's important to take into account the likely impact of climate change. Companies are now offering valuations based on predicted climate change models. Find out more here.

Image: Shutterstock

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