The sales pitch is slick and well rehearsed: move away from Sydney and you will enjoy more space, a cheaper cost of living and fresher air. The new roads and rail will make it easier to commute, and there’s more infrastructure being built to support you.
For some, this is the only way to enter the property market. And if you are already a homeowner in Sydney with a young, growing family, the pitch may seem like the best way to accommodate another child, or teenagers needing more space.
However, it might not be quite as straight-forward a trade-off as you might think. There are reasons why Sydney’s population continues to grow at a rapid pace.
And if you’re a Sydney homeowner looking for more room, there are solutions that address your space issues whilst also potentially making long term financial sense.
Sydney’s west is already a thriving region and you’ll still find plenty of land packages on offer plus the option to build from scratch. There’s no doubt that, in time, even these new estates will develop more character and the new communities will blend with those already established.
But for someone moving from closer to the CBD who works centrally, there are several factors that should be considered.
Whether you think it’s part of Sydney or not, Penrith – it is in fact a stand-alone City – is two hours a day by rail if commuting to the Sydney CBD, usually longer by car.
If you move further west to the Blue Mountains, rail travel slows considerably and commute times lengthen, but you may well look at the mountain option if you can’t take the heat of Sydney’s west.
If you are used to the mellowing summer breeze that takes the edge off a Sydney summer, there is no respite once you are away from the coast … until you get up into the mountains.
Sydney’s west is 4.3 degrees hotter on average in summer, and in a heatwave, you are a long drive from the cooler coast and a dip in the ocean.
Current road projects like WestConnex are set to take several years to complete, and some estimates of how much time will be saved aren’t promising a huge reduction.
In the meantime there has been some major traffic disruption whilst construction takes place: short term pain, but for not much gain.
Rail prices continue to rise and the commute from Penrith will cost around $3,000 a year, whilst a medium sized car commute will set you back $17,000 per year according to Transport Sydney Trains estimator on their ‘fare calculator‘ page. It also tells you how a long car commute affects the environment. Not pretty, and so much for the fresher air!
So whilst there is an ever-increasing list of reasons to live west of Sydney, it really comes down to what you prioritise in life, where you work, and what other options are available to you.
Heading South or North
The story is different, but not necessarily better, if you head north to the Central Coast and Newcastle, or south to Wollongong and its surrounding suburbs.
Here the sea breeze and lifestyle are comparable to Sydney, so if living near a beach is a priority, these areas are certainly a better option.
However, the commute times are worse than Sydney’s west. Gosford on the Central Coast is two and a half hours per day by rail at best, Wollongong three hours per day, Newcastle five and a half hours per day.
The freeways can be a nightmare, with the road north particularly famous for the occasional gridlock event.
And it’s been a long time since these satellite cities offered bargains. Whilst still not as high as Sydney itself, the effect on home prices has spread to pretty much any area within commuting distance including regional towns.
As well as the city beaches, harbour, climate and lifestyle, Sydney’s attraction remains that it combines these factors with a strong economy.
Employment in Sydney is by far the best of the six state capital cities. At time of writing, the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from October 2017 shows Sydney’s unemployment rate at 3.9% and the best of the rest being Brisbane with 5.1%, almost a third worse off.
Sydney’s population is still growing rapidly despite the house prices and offers to live elsewhere. According to the latest census, the estimated resident population of Greater Sydney exceeded five million people, up over 750,000 in ten years, 83,000 in the most recently recorded year.
And you may be surprised to read that the biggest percentage growth of any Sydney region was in the City and Inner South with 2.8% growth, shading the next best region, the South West (around Liverpool) with 2.7% growth.
There Are Alternatives
If you are a Sydney homeowner looking for more space, you don’t have to move out to find it, nor do you have to lose your backyard if you stay put.
Addbuild Additions is one of Sydney’s leading builders of extensions and, yes, additions that ‘add’ a floor to your building so you don’t have to sacrifice the garden.
With over 35 years of experience building and designing for Sydney homeowners, we have completed over 1,500 projects. We know what is possible and can help you design your remodelled home or work with your designer/architect.
We also have our “Classic Range” of standard-design first floor additions that we specifically developed to assist more budget conscious clients achieve the additional space they need.
Adding a floor and extra rooms to your home won’t only give you more space, you will add to the resale value of your house. Once you factor in the cost of selling and buying again – moving costs, stamp duty etc – expanding your existing home may also make long term financial sense.
Addbuild works all over Sydney and we know how passionate people are about their own community. No matter where you live, if you love your area, your neighbours and your street, it’s often better to extend than move.
So if your family has outgrown your home, please explore the extensive range of information on our website where you’ll find everything you need to know about how to go about a building project and your range of options whether you choose Addbuild or another builder.
And if your plans are more concrete, please feel free to get in touch using our web contact form or by phoning (02) 8765 1555. Just note that we are closed for Christmas and New Year with the office shutting at 1pm on 22 December and reopening on 8 January 2018.
Who knows, a bigger home may well be a smart 2018 New Year’s resolution!