A sea-change has long been a popular dream for many Australians, but it seems the tide may be turning. With a growing focus on lifestyle and sustainability, it's those rural properties that seem to be catching the buyers' attention right now.
Research shows that more and more people are escaping the city in search of a tree-change, with Sydney reporting the biggest population loss. And the trend looks set to continue.
For some, it's a chance to fulfil a lifelong dream of living off the land; for others, it's the opportunity to buy your own home, without the inner city price tag.
What is clear is that our perception of rural land sales has changed dramatically. Whereas once large acreage properties were only bought by farmers, they are now being snapped up by Australian families and overseas investors.
For example, when we see cattle stations for sale, we don't just think 'cattle' anymore. We see an opportunity to diversify, perhaps rearing goats or even alpacas.
Horse properties are more popular than ever, not just for personal enjoyment, but because they also offer the possibility of starting a lucrative lifestyle business, while indulging your passion.
It's really comes down to quality of life and increasingly, Australians are putting that ahead of earning the big bucks in the city.
There's another factor at work here, too, and that's technology. We no longer need to be tied to a desk, or a bricks-and-mortar shopfront. With better connectivity, and improvements in infrastructure, we can work from practically anywhere.
The concept of a home business or office is particularly attractive to parents seeking a better work-life balance. Buying a rural property opens up many options, whilst delivering the kind of childhood every mum and dad dreams about.
An increasing focus on sustainability and the environment has seen farm land sales flourish, along with the number of new rural industries.
In the city, space is a luxury that costs. For anyone on a budget, that usually means going without. So why wouldn't you consider a tree-change?
The further out you go from the main centres, the more bang you get for your buck. For example, for the price of an inner city apartment, you could snap up a substantial home on a few acres, with plenty of room for kids, pets, family and friends.
As soon as you hear the phrase, 'acreage for sale', you think summer cricket games on the lawn, family barbecues, quad bikes, ponies and more. There's room for everyone to do their own thing, and the kids will never be bored!
Imagine shrinking your mortgage - and your stress levels!
Whilst some buyers are seeking space for a lifestyle business, others are just after the lifestyle itself. And commercial land sales in regional centres are reflecting this trend.
Householders want to awaken to birdsong and rural views. They want fresh air and space to grow a few veggies, with less traffic and pollution. And they want that sense of community that is often absent in the city.
If a tree-change is on the cards for you, there are a few tips that might help.
It's very important to do your research. It's easy to get carried away as you dream of your new country home, but fact-finding could save some grief later on.
Whilst we all love the idea of a remote rural retreat, the reality is that we all require some access to shops and services at some point.
The best plan of attack is to make two lists. Jot down the rural areas that appeal to you on one list then, on the other, note the must-have amenities and infrastructure. Compare the lists and you will narrow down your search to the best locations.
Then investigate the acreage for sale in those areas. You might find an established lifestyle business that appeals, or a station for sale that offers potential. Be open to all possibilities.
Remember, this is your tree-change, your dream. Don't be afraid to wait until you find the perfect property - because it's definitely out there!
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