Aussies are fleeing NSW and Sydney at an exponential rate – and it appears young people are leading the charge.
This month’s federal budget revealed NSW is expected to lose more than 124,000 residents to other states over the next five years.
The biggest blow is expected to come to the state this year, when more than 30,000 people up and leave.
The majority are expected to go to Queensland, which is predicted to have an influx of 21,000 new residents a year from other parts of the country.
Young people appear to be leading the mass exodus, with the growing cost of living pressures a key driver for Aussies ditching Sydney.
Skye, 22, is one of the young people who recently made the decision to leave the city, moving to Brisbane in February after five years of living in Sydney.
“I moved because of the cost of living pretty much. I was just spending so much money on rent and food and everything. Just the cost of being in Sydney,” she said.
“When I started looking at Brisbane rental prices, I was like, why am I spending so much on an old apartment living in the CBD when I could have a whole big house in Brisbane?”
Skye was living in an $800 a week two-bedroom property with a roommate in Sydney’s CBD.
Now, she is splitting a $600 a week three-bedroom house with a backyard with two roommates.
While the 22-year-old’s living expenses have certainly decreased, she does miss the Sydney lifestyle, but says it was just too expensive to maintain.
“Especially if I want to focus on my studies or I want to focus on building a life, saving money,” she explained.
“I look after myself. I don’t really have family to fall back on if I don’t have money. So I have to be really smart about how I spend it and make sure I always have backup plans because it’s just me and it just makes it a bit hard.
“I don’t love it here. But I know I have to make the sacrifice for financial reasons. But if you asked me where I’d rather live, I’d rather live in Sydney to be honest.”
Skye said if the cost of living and rental prices came back down she would move back to Sydney in a heartbeat.
“But really it is just not reasonable right now. But it keeps calling me and I know it will keep calling me because there’s so many things I love about Sydney. I didn’t really want to leave. I kind of have to change it up. Be more responsible right now,” she said.
Skye is not alone in her struggles to cope with Sydney’s rising costs, with former NITV and ABC journalist Jennetta Quinn-Bates announcing last month that she was ditching the city in response to soaring rents.
Taking to Twitter she said she was fed up of paying some else’s mortgage, revealing a number of people in her apartment building had been hit with brutal rent increases.
“So many people in my building have moved out or been hit with $100-400 per week rent increases,” she wrote.
“Landlords are just giving three months’ notice so they can up everything.
“I’m going to miss Sydney. I’ve loved it here in Potts Point! But, I am really disheartened by the way people are being treated, people of all ages, the young, the elderly and in between.”
It appears that even those not looking to move interstate are still itching for a tree change, with many ditching capital cities in favour of regional areas.
A recent study commissioned by the Regional Australia Institute found one-in-five metropolitan Aussies are considering the move to regional Australia as a solution to rampant inflation, traffic congestion and stress that comes with city life.
The pandemic has caused a shift in migration patterns, with regional Australia experiencing a growth of 70,000 people in 2020-2021.
This trend is set to continue, with regional migration up 16 per cent on pre-pandemic levels in 2023. Despite a small uptick of regional Australians returning to the cities, the study found that many Aussies are still drawn to regional areas for their sense of space, affordability, and improved overall wellbeing.
But it‘s not just a desire for a better quality of life that’s driving this trend. The study also revealed shifting attitudes towards regional job opportunities, with over a third of respondents viewing salary prospects in the regions on par with major capital cities.
Younger Australians, aged 18-29 years, were the most optimistic about regional job prospects, with nearly half recognising the plethora of professional, skilled, and entry-level jobs on offer.
Flexible working arrangements have also fuelled the appetite for a move to the regions. With commuting no longer a major factor, nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said their ability to work from home has made the move more appealing.
However, over half said they wanted to remain within a two-hour drive of their current city home.