Is the Tree Change Still On After COVID?

During the height of COVID-19, realtors and property advisors witnessed a trend emerging: People increasingly wanted to get out of the big and densely packed cities and move residences to less populated areas.

An inland migration to less populated areas is commonly called a ‘tree change’, whereas a similar move coastward would be called a ‘sea change’.

Although much of the motivation behind this trend was driven by a desire to achieve a comfortable social distance and limit the infection rate, an inherent charm is associated with a move to the countryside.

Let’s examine whether the widespread tree change that occurred during the height of COVID-19 is still happening.

Yes, It Is

Numerous Australian news outlets have reported on a growing number of city dwellers packing up their stuff to move to smaller country towns where life is cheaper, less chaotic and less crowded.

The trend that seems to have started with COVID-19 has continued unabated even as the threat of the virus has dissipated. Net internal migration data from the Regional Movers Index has shown that 25% more people are now moving away from cities towards the country than the other way around.

Sydney is particularly noteworthy, with news outlets reporting on a significant number of people leaving the city in favour of country living during 2023. In fact, as much as 65% of all tree changes came from Sydney, with about 35% from Melbourne.

But Why?

There are two key reasons people are opting to move to the country in growing numbers:

  • It’s More Affordable

One of the major causes of the tree change mass exodus is the housing crisis, which has made housing in the big cities unreasonably expensive and difficult to secure. By comparison, country homes are significantly more affordable and abundant.

  • Remote Working 

With the pandemic came the remote working boom. Thanks to the lockdown restrictions, many companies quickly adapted to remote working protocols and adopted the necessary technologies to make it work. Once the lockdowns lifted and the danger had passed, many people and companies remained attached to the idea.

Given the now widespread remote working capabilities of many companies and their employees, living in the city is no longer essential to do your job.

If you need help or advice on your tree change aspirations, contact us at WPG Advisory. We are experienced property advisors who can help you ensure your investment is wise and sound.