Sea changes are often associated with retirees looking to get out of the big cities, but according to the National Sea Change Taskforce, the typical sea changer is not a retiree at all, but more likely to be a Gen-Xer with a young family. With housing prices on the rise in state and territory capitals around the country, many are looking to regional coastal centres for a solution. There are many benefits to a sea change and you don’t have to be retired to enjoy them.
A report by the University of Sydney for the National Sea Change Taskforce (2005) found the most common motivations for sea changers moving from the cities to Australia’s coastal regions were:
- the need for more affordable housing
- the opportunity for lifestyle change
- personal circumstances (such as social networks and job opportunities)
- a sense of connection to perceived cultural or social groups
- environmental reasons such as access to an alternative rural or beach lifestyle
- a desire for a closer sense of community.
Before making the move to the coast, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons of a sea change.
- The beach
It goes without saying that one of the biggest benefits to living on the coast is the proximity to the beach. Summer heat is made more bearable by sea breezes and picturesque sunsets. The coast’s bushland and sandy beaches provide a natural playground for the young, old and furry.
Coastal towns often have a very relaxed lifestyle compared to the big cities around the country. Although summer is peak season for many coastal regions, with visitors coming to enjoy the beach, winters are often quiet. There is much less traffic all year round compared to the cities too.
- Cheaper housing
Housing prices continue to grow across the country, affecting family’s and first home buyer’s ability to buy property in the capital cities. Comparatively, housing in coastal regions is much cheaper. Cheaper housing helps free up funds for retirement and bills. Properties with water views may also increase in value overtime, making them a valuable investment.
- The environment
Coastal regions are cleaner than cities, free from the air pollution generated by factories and traffic. The natural environment of the coast is often more relaxing and healthy compared to the stale and built environment of the cities, a benefit for those with young children or the elderly looking to retire.
- No social networks
Moving away from family and friends can be hard, especially for those with young children and retirees who rely on the help of family members. Coastal regions aren’t always easily accessible from the city so visiting family can be difficult.
Coastal regions often have higher unemployment rates and lower wages than in the major cities. Although the cost of living might be lower on the coast with a lack of toll roads and more affordable housing, getting a high-paid, full time job can be difficult. Often, people will commute back to the cities for work but this can be costly and very time consuming.
- Less to do
When living in the city, it’s easy to become used to the number of events, restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs around. And although coastal regions are often buzzing during the summer school holidays, there isn’t as much to keep you busy throughout the year. Visiting major sporting and entertainment events requires commuting back into the city.
- Access to necessities
Access to necessities such as hospitals and schools is harder in coastal regions. There is less choice and in some cases, none at all. Consider whether you are happy for your children to commute to school or attend the local institutions that are available. For young couples looking to start a family and retirees, the location of the nearest hospital is also important to consider.
Before deciding whether a sea change is right for you and your family, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons. Once you’re ready to make the move and you’ve purchased your new beachside abode, Grace can handle the heavy lifting of the relocation. Read more about our moving solutions here.