Moving to regional Victoria for work and lifestyle after COVID-19

Is it time to consider a tree change to regional Victoria?

In 2019, lawyer John Wellington made the shift from Melbourne’s suburbs to Castlemaine and hasn’t looked back.

“In Castlemaine, people are relaxed and friendly, making eye contact and saying hello as you pass them on the street.

“There’s more affordable housing, a tremendous community and you can see the stars at night.

“My morning commute to work has gone from more than 30 minutes on a crowded train to a 10-minute walk in the fresh air, accompanied by carolling magpies,” he said.

A colleague at regional law firm, Robertson Hyetts, is conveyancer Leanne Laracy. She spent 16 years commuting from regional Victoria to Melbourne but now it only takes five minutes to travel to the firm’s Castlemaine office.

“With e-conveyancing and online meeting tools, I can still act for Melbourne-based and interstate clients on property matters even though our office is in regional Victoria.

“My work life balance is dramatically different as I have more time for hobbies both after work and on the weekend,” she said.

For decades now, most people in Melbourne have chosen from limited property options: keep renting, find a small inner-city apartment or take on a large mortgage to own a block in the suburbs.

A silver lining to the current crisis: Rethinking work. As people are realising they don’t have to live in Melbourne to be successful, they’re starting to look at regional Victoria as a viable option to work and reside in a post-pandemic world.

For many years, the Victorian government has tried to distribute population growth more evenly. Although people have been trickling out of Melbourne, it hasn’t been enough to offset growth in the city.

That was before COVID-19. Now things have changed.

  • Companies realised that working from home was still productive. The use of online collaboration tools soared. Research is revealing that many people want to keep working from home to spend time with family. Studies show that working from home cuts traffic congestion, carbon emissions and mental stress.
  • City-residents began dreaming of wide open spaces. Having been stuck in tiny apartments or on small blocks of land, more people are considering a tree-change. This could be a sign for the general preference shift to low-density living.
  • Companies are thinking of setting up secondary corporate offices. In the future, we could find that organisations retain their main office in Melbourne but also have a satellite office in a regional area to spread their business risk and lower office rental costs.

Regional Victoria has plenty to offer in terms of work and lifestyle benefits for those people dreaming of more space, while still being close to Melbourne.

“Tele-commuting is here to stay and will be part of the reason that people move from Melbourne to regional Victoria. Clients of mine that are based in Melbourne, country Victoria and interstate are now communicating with me via email, Zoom, Teams and over on the phone.

“On top of that, we’ve got great coffee, food, wine, music and plenty of space,” said Mr Wellington.

So why wait, now might be the right time to make your move to regional Victoria.

To make an appointment with John Wellington or Leanne Laracy, or to discuss your property, coveyancing or commercial property needs please contact 5472 1588.