Escape to the country: Canberrans flock to Goulburn in search of cheaper land

Hannah Sparks 16 March 2021 32
Sam, Jackson, Gabriel, Ivan and Claire Pearce outside their Goulburn home.

Sam, Jackson, Gabriel, Ivan and Claire Pearce moved from Canberra to Goulburn four years ago and haven’t looked back. Photos: Supplied.

In October 2019, Canberra real estate agent Rina Everett and her partner Jack packed up stumps and left the capital for Goulburn.

The couple realised they could rent a three-bedroom house in the regional NSW city for the same price as a one-bedroom unit in Canberra – an important factor given they were expecting their first child at the time.

Now, Rina works in administration and marketing for a Goulburn-based real estate agency while Jack commutes to work for Telstra in Canberra.

Their story is mirrored by hundreds of young and middle-aged couples, families and singles who are fleeing Canberra to find land and rentals for half the price in Goulburn.

READ ALSO: Call for more housing as city residents make the move to the regions

The latest real estate data shows the average house price in Goulburn is $450,000 compared to $855,530 in Canberra, while the average rent per week in Goulburn is $380 compared to $600 in Canberra.

In fact, Canberra is currently the most expensive capital to rent a house in which may explain why more people left the city than moved there between September 2019-20, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Taylor Keat is another Canberran who discovered she could purchase a 970-square metre block, about 2.7 kilometres from Goulburn’s centre, for $430,000, while her mother purchased a 702-square metre block in the Canberra suburb of Calwell, about 20km from the centre, for the same price.

Canberrans Taylor Keat, step-daughter Bella Evans and partner Daniel Evans.

Canberrans Taylor Keat, step-daughter Bella Evans and partner Daniel Evans were able to buy a block for half the price in Goulburn.

Goulburn real estate agent Carol James says as well as the cheaper prices, investment in the city’s new ambulance station, swimming pool, hospital, police station and performing arts centre is attracting Canberrans.

“We’re a growing city but with that country charm – it’s not as fast-paced as Sydney or Canberra, and people still smile and say hello on the main street,” she said.

Carol said Goulburn also offers heritage properties that are hard to find elsewhere.

“This is one of the oldest inland cities and we should be proud of that,” she said.

“I just sold a property on Cowper Street, one street back from the main street, to a couple from Canberra. It was a newly renovated federation house, with all the mod cons for $735,000. They couldn’t find anything like that in Canberra.”

READ ALSO: Planner offers clarity on Hurst Street home’s status

Lindy Hooper and her husband were also impressed they could buy a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1930s Art Deco house when they moved to Goulburn 14 months ago for $450,000.

Around half of the Canberrans living in Goulburn that Region Media spoke to have found local work, however, those who still work in the capital don’t seem to mind the commute.

Sharon Cooper moved from Queanbeyan to Goulburn after her divorce in 2011. She is renting a three-bedroom house for $380 per week and commuting to work in the capital between Monday and Friday.

“The commute is great, easy on the highway, it takes me just over an hour to get to work,” she said.

And when it comes to the weekends, Sharon is happy to break free from the city’s hustle and bustle.

“I love it. I didn’t have any family or friends when I moved here but I’ve found making Goulburn friends easy – Goulburn people are much friendlier,” she said.

“My hobbies are camping and four-wheel-driving, so I tend to get out of town to find fun.”

Likewise, Claire Pearce and her family moved to Goulburn four years ago and said that spending less on their property has meant they can afford tennis, swimming, karate, basketball and guitar lessons for their children.

“We are not limited for our kids’ activities by budget – whatever they want to do, we do,” she said.

READ ALSO: New gift card raises hopes that Goulburn residents will shop locally

“We found the problem in Canberra was there was plenty for little people but nothing for teens. We moved here for the affordability of options. My sister in Canberra pays over $30 for a 15-minute swimming lesson while we pay $12 for an hour of swim squad.”

While Canberrans are reaping the benefits of country life, some Goulburn residents are worried this will inevitably inflate prices.

Domain’s latest House Price Report shows that while the average house price didn’t increase by much in the past year ($450,000 in December 2020, compared to $449,500 in December 2019), it has risen by 32.4 per cent in the past five years.

While this is bad news for those hoping to get a foot in the market, agent Carol James says it’s good news for those wanting to sell.

“Prices are rising because of the demand, there’s not a lot to buy. This means it’s a seller’s market, so now is the time to take advantage if you’re an owner,” she said.

Original Article published by Hannah Sparks on About Regional.

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32 Responses to Escape to the country: Canberrans flock to Goulburn in search of cheaper land
Rah Rah Rah Rah 1:32 pm 22 Mar 21

Denise look who it is in the photo

Matty Gruber Matty Gruber 11:35 am 22 Mar 21

Lee Cargill watch out mate.

Aidan Young Aidan Young 1:23 am 22 Mar 21

Is that John Wick on the left?

    Dannica Clayton Dannica Clayton 1:36 pm 02 May 21

    Keanu was the first thing i thought too!

Jessamine Bernadette Elena Perlibachas Jessamine Bernadette Elena Perlibachas 1:05 am 22 Mar 21

Caillan. Yrs ago.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:14 pm 21 Mar 21

Goulburn doesn’t have a tram though.

Darren Sault Darren Sault 9:51 pm 21 Mar 21

Wouldn’t a fast rail link to Canberra be good.....

steve2020 steve2020 9:08 pm 21 Mar 21

Many people have been living in or had moved to Goulburn and are working in Canberra for many years now. It means about an hour commute each way, and even longer if commuting during peak times. The benefits are cheaper housing and cost of living, pleasant place to raise a family and country lifestyle living in a small city. The downside is less time with family on workdays because of the commute times. In many Canberra workplaces, it’s not uncommon to find at least one person that is commuting from Goulburn.

There has been talk of high-speed rail links, but no political party has been able to implement the vision in Australia that has been around since the early ’80s. Hopefully, it can come to fruition considering that many people are commuting from outer areas by vehicle from large cities, not only in Canberra, but also from Newcastle and even a few from Goulburn too to Sydney, Geelong and Warragul to Melbourne, Bunbury to Perth and Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast to Brisbane. I’ve come across many people who are commuting like this almost daily.

Erin Miller Erin Miller 9:05 pm 21 Mar 21

Mick O'Donoghue there was no story done on us 10 years ago 🤣

Sean Bishop Sean Bishop 7:58 pm 21 Mar 21

Mark you definitely called it mate..

Tony Armstrong Tony Armstrong 7:52 pm 21 Mar 21

What happens when they’re realised?

Chris Olsen Chris Olsen 7:47 pm 21 Mar 21

Almost moved there about 10 years back, you could pick up a little 3 beddy for around $150K!

Gracey Kerehi Storrie Gracey Kerehi Storrie 7:06 pm 21 Mar 21

When did Keanu Reeves make the move?

    Chanelle Heywood Chanelle Heywood 8:03 pm 21 Mar 21

    Gracey Kerehi Storrie omg I thought the same thing 🤣

Makenna Gordon Makenna Gordon 7:01 pm 21 Mar 21

Humba Lina 😊 how good is the country

Tara Ritchie Tara Ritchie 5:37 pm 21 Mar 21

Jim it’s crazy.

Shayne Borger Shayne Borger 5:26 pm 21 Mar 21

People are seeing the light

    Clive John Trenton Clive John Trenton 10:13 am 23 Mar 21

    Shayne Borger all out well do is drsg the goulburb price up. I agree, canberra prices are being on unsustainable!

Caroline Reid Caroline Reid 4:44 pm 21 Mar 21

Until they get sick of the drive to Canberra

    Zakzook Chico Zakzook Chico 5:26 pm 21 Mar 21

    Chris Vlahos a few bucks?

    Caroline Reid Caroline Reid 5:51 pm 21 Mar 21

    Zakzook Chico two hours a day driving and add the parking as well

    Zakzook Chico Zakzook Chico 6:15 pm 21 Mar 21

    Caroline Reid buying a property for half the price is worth it. People in Sydney commute for much longer

    Wade Menendez Chudzinski Wade Menendez Chudzinski 7:11 pm 21 Mar 21

    It's quite simple, unless you own a dirt cheap car, fuel and extra maintenance from 10+ hours of driving a week adds up to well over $100-150 per week.

    $150/week for 30 years comes in at over 200k.

    So in order to save 200k on a house, you spend 200k on driving costs (not including buying a new car more frequently cs you're putting 50000kms a year on it compared to 15-20000 for national average)

    Ben Jones Ben Jones 8:18 pm 21 Mar 21

    Wade Menendez Chudzinski fuel will soon be unaffordable for most 🤭

    Erin Miller Erin Miller 9:03 pm 21 Mar 21

    Chris Vlahos yes it is worth it. I've done it for 10 years now. No traffic. And our house was purchased for half of what it would of cost us in Canberra. And I would rather live in Goulburn than Canberra anyday.

    Erin Miller Erin Miller 9:07 pm 21 Mar 21

    Caroline Reid the drive is fine, especially the drive home away from Canberra. I've sat in traffic for work from one side of Canberra to the other for the same amount of time it takes me to drive in from Goulburn.

    Erin Miller Erin Miller 9:08 pm 21 Mar 21

    Chris Vlahos there isn't alot of traffic on the highway. I've sat in traffic for work from one side of Canberra to the other for the same amount of time it takes me to drive in from Goulburn.

    Andrea Kerr Andrea Kerr 7:22 am 22 Mar 21

    Erin Miller after travelling to Goulburn for the weekend and noticing the lack of decent shops, cafes, restaurants and things to do it would be a pretty hard sell for me. Why add hours to a trip for dinner, a show, a museum visit, no thanks.

    Erin Miller Erin Miller 8:01 am 22 Mar 21

    Andrea Kerr each to their own. I guess it depends on your lifestyle and outlook. I would much prefer to work part time and have a mortgage in Goulburn and get to spend time with my children compared to working full time just to pay a mortgage to live in Canberra and never see my children. I'm happy living in Goulburn.

    Andrea Kerr Andrea Kerr 8:50 am 22 Mar 21

    Erin Miller yes each to their own. Perhaps with a young family or if mortgage stress is an issue I could maybe see the attraction, or even for those who only want work versus having a career they enjoy I could see how this might work.

    Erin Miller Erin Miller 9:11 am 22 Mar 21

    Andrea Kerr you make alot of assumptions. I have a career that I enjoy as opposed to "just a job" as you referred to. I have no mortgage stress as I didn't buy a house at inflated Canberra prices. I have a great work life balance. I have school holidays with my children and they aren't in before and after school care until all hours of the day. And there is plenty to do in and around Goulburn. Fun isn't limited to shops, restaurants and museums. I'm happy to be able to think and live outside of the "Canberra bubble"

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