Housing crisis sends Sydney-siders to Mudgee

Dad’s Deli owners Phillip and Annabelle Moog made the move from Sydney nearly 18 months ago and have never looked back.
Dad’s Deli owners Phillip and Annabelle Moog made the move from Sydney nearly 18 months ago and have never looked back.

Sydney is losing residents to the spiralling cost of housing, with many young home investors giving up the idea of every owning a house in the ‘big city’.

What does that mean for Mudgee, and the Central West?

Those same investors and buyers in the housing market are turning to towns outside of Sydney to find their dream home.

Annandale residents Meg and Tim McCloud, both 28, identified areas in the Central West that were financially viable for them.

"A four-bedroom house in Dubbo or Mudgee is $450,000, not a million dollars," says Meg, who grew up in Dubbo and had little trouble convincing her husband Tim to depart Sydney.

There are some that have already made the change to the Mudgee lifestyle however, and have never looked back.

That list includes Dad’s Deli owners, Phillip Moog and his wife Annabelle admitted they had a long affair with Mudgee and decided to relocate here from the Hawkesbury region.

“The stress level out here has automatically dropped by fifty percent, you relax automatically,” Annabelle said.

Phillip added that the cost and savings out in Mudgee meant that it was a positive for the move.

“The lower costs meant we could sell what we had in Sydney, move out here and buy and still have money left over to work with instead of just trying to pay off a mortgage,” he said.

“We can live a more comfortable life instead of just working, and while it wasn’t the key reason it certainly entered our mind and the housing prices did contribute.”

The hurdle to home ownership is much higher for this generation than previous, according to John Daley, the chief executive of the Melbourne-based Grattan Institute, which has conducted two major studies of Australian housing since 2013 and has another one in the pipeline.

There is "no question" that Australia is in the grips of a housing affordability crisis, says Daley.

Mr Daley says the key constraint on housing affordability is the "deposit hurdle" – how long it takes to save enough to put down a deposit.

According to a 2016 report by Bankwest, the First Time Buyers Deposit Report, Sydney's sky-high property prices give it the biggest deposit hurdle in the country.

"Sydney is still the toughest market for first time buyers, with couples needing to save for an average of 8.4 years in order to put down the $214,600 needed for a 20 per cent deposit on their first house (up from 7.9 years in 2015)," the report found.

It’s clear that Sydney’s housing prices are spiking, but for those that are planning to move out west, the Moog’s have a message.

“Make sure you do your research,” Annabelle urges.

“Spend some time in the area, have a look around and get used to it – make sure that a move that big is right for you, because you don’t want to come hours away and move your life just to have it be the wrong choice.

“If it is right though, embrace it and don’t look back.”