Why Sydney’s youth are leaving the city in droves

Why Sydney’s youth are leaving the city in droves
Why Sydney’s youth are leaving the city in droves
The cost of living in Sydney is the main reason people looked to move, followed by unaffordable housing and the search for a better quality of life.
Nicole and Ben McKenna want to move to the southern highlands.

Often times, when older people consider leaving the company, it is for lifestyle rather than cost of living reasons.

Nicole and Ben McKenna, both 30 years old, are a married couple from Sydney who are planning to move from their apartment in the inner-western suburb of Marrickville to the Southern Highlands within the next 12 months. “Cost of living [in Sydney] is the only reason we want to move there. Using the highways costs a bloody fortune. I always pay for the toll, “said Mr. McKenna.

“And you pay $ 500,000 for a simple apartment. That can buy you a house with a back yard in the country. Everyone my age is slowly being pushed out of the house [Sydney] Market.”


However, the couple were shocked to discover that about 40 people lined up to inspect a rental home in Bowral during a recent trip. A real estate agent told them that many of the queues were moving out of Sydney due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I just hope people move there for the right reasons,” McKenna said, pointing to greater difficulties getting better-paying jobs in the regions than in the city.

Despite the number of people considering moving, the Ipsos survey was conducted Living in Sydney shows that four out of five residents are satisfied with their quality of life. Of these, 27 percent are “very satisfied” and 54 percent are “fairly satisfied”.

Retirees, over-50s, and people in the east of the city are most likely to be satisfied, while 35- to 48-year-olds and the unemployed are more likely to be unsatisfied due to cost concerns and a feeling that Sydney is too busy or overcrowded.

While the quality of life is generally rated as high, Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of the Sydney committee, said the cost of living was the biggest disadvantage, especially for young people.

“If people can’t afford to live in their city, we have a big problem. And we risk losing our talented young people to other cities in Australia and around the world, ”he said.

“To really change the dynamic will take a huge effort, including financial reforms, planning reforms, and increasing the production of affordable housing.”

Stuart Clark, director of Ipsos, said it was likely that the coronavirus-induced recession has exacerbated the trend for younger people to leave Sydney. “Unemployment has certainly hit younger people more,” he said.

Bill Randolph, director of the City Futures Research Center at the University of NSW, said the overarching affordable housing issue in Sydney won’t go away despite a slump in overseas migration or more people considering moving to the regions.

“Young people have yet to get jobs and jobs are unlikely to leave town in large numbers in the short term,” said Professor Randolph.

The representative sample of Ipsos among 1,000 Sydney residents also shows that 55 percent of people worked from home during the pandemic.

73 percent prefer to work from home, 65 percent say they are more productive as a result. More than half agree it was better for their mental and physical health.

In the sign of a divide in the city, people on lower incomes or in west Sydney are less likely to work from home than people in higher incomes or east of city.

In an upswing for the state government, 73 percent rated dealing with COVID-19 as pretty good or very good. Only 13 percent rated it as bad.

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Matt O’Sullivan ist City Editor beim Sydney Morning Herald.

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