The Real Home Shift

The Real Home Shift The Real Home Shift Survey is the twenty-first instalment in a series of national studies investigating the changing values and concerns of families.

31 May 2021

The global health crisis has caused a major shift in what we value in our lives. As a result of spending several months at home over the course of the pandemic, we had the time to evaluate whether our spaces were meeting our needs. In a world where hybrid work models are likely here to stay, and one of shifting life priorities, many of us aspire to relocate and chase a quieter lifestyle – all whilst reducing our cost of living.

Whatever the situation, we’re on the move and there are no signs of us slowing down in the foreseeable future.

The Real Home Shift Survey is the twenty-first instalment in a series of national studies investigating the changing values and concerns of families. This chapter, which surveyed over 5,000 Australians, explores how the traditional concept of the home is changing. It reveals the shift in where we want to live, what we are looking for in a property, and how our perception of the ideal lifestyle has changed.

We’re on the move

According to the study, relocation over the last few years has only been the start of the metro exodus. Almost 1 in 10 of us (9.1%) have already moved to a different city or region in the past 1-2 years, with another third (34.4%) considering doing so in the near future. We’re also seeing that over a quarter of us (27.7%) have bought, or are considering buying, investment properties in different areas which we plan to spend at least some time in every year.

Change in scenery

Perhaps unsurprisingly, we continue to seek affordable property that brings a more relaxing and peaceful lifestyle. Outer suburban (23.1%) and coastal areas are the most popular, with almost two-thirds (64.8%) relocating to areas within 30 minutes of a coastline.

Although it is clear that a metro exodus is occurring, the question of where people are headed has to be asked. More than a quarter (27.5%) have relocated interstate, with sunny Queensland (32.0%) being the most popular relocation destination, followed by New South Wales (26.9%) and then Victoria (17.1%). ​Those who have made the interstate move are typically younger with an average age of 41. The strongest motivations for moving include the cost of living (26.2%), a quieter lifestyle (24.7%) or an investment opportunity (21.6%).

Families are leading the way

Families living with young children are the most eager to make the move, with over half (50.7%) acknowledging this. Two-fifths (42.5%) are in the process of relocating, or are at least considering it in the short-term, setting the pace for a nomadic nation.

It goes without saying that a lot of families (66.4%) choose locations based around our children, and interestingly, over half (51.8%) of our youngest family members were excited to make the move. In terms of where we want to reside, outer suburban (23.2%) locations within metropolitan areas are our top preferences, over and above regional and rural locations.

The property ladder

Those of us looking to become homeowners are finding it hard to get on the property ladder (90.6%) and are feeling increasingly locked out of the property market (73.2%), compared to 2018 (66.8%, The Real Home Reality Survey). Unfortunately, others have given up on this dream due to affordability issues (61.8%), concerns with property being too expensive (21.6%) and worries over getting into debt (17.4%).

Despite the challenges, we’re still hopeful and are looking at new ways in which we can save enough to get our foot in the door of our new home. Many of us (68.5%) are cutting down spending on fashion, and two-thirds (66.0%) have decided not to travel, despite the fact we are returning to a place where this is quickly becoming the norm. We’re also cutting back on eating out and attending social events (64.0%).

Leading a healthy lifestyle is without question

It’s not all about home ownership though, we’re seeing a shift in the traditional ‘Australian Dream’ with many of us prioritising wellbeing (23.7%) over owning a home (8.3%).

Our dream now consists of staying healthy and enjoying life (23.7%), feeling financially secure (14.0%), having a happy and healthy family (10.4%), having the experiences we want in life (8.7%) and being the best we can be (8.1%).

Exploration in our own backyard

2020 and the ban on international travel has seen many of us forced to stay put and explore what’s right in front of us. Interestingly, more than 2 in 5 of us (42.3%) are attracted to a more sustainable lifestyle of a ‘green nomad’, living our lives on the road, whilst appreciating the natural environment all around us. The top reasons that make the life of a ‘green nomad’ appealing include having the chance to see and explore Australia along with the nature and the freedom. A majority of those who are looking to live life as a ‘green nomad’ are from Gen Z (57.5%) and Gen Y (50.3%).

The tumultuous year that was 2020 truly showed us what’s important in life, and because of that we’re looking to lead healthier lives. At the same time, we have experienced a natural shift in where and how and where we live our lives. Although the question beckons – will this change be here to stay?  

Stay tuned for more insights from Real coming soon.  

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