Sydney and I have always had a love hate relationship and after travelling to other major cities around the world, I realised how much I dislike living in Sydney. It seems I’m not alone. According to a report published in the Sydney Morning Herald, each day an average of 129 people leaves Sydney for elsewhere in Australia while only 85 move to Sydney.
The reason for me leaving Sydney was not the price of houses, but rather the value for money on the Sydney property market. A sum of $650,000 lets you choose from much larger houses with a much larger yards outside of a housing estate once you leave Sydney. You don’t get that kind of choice in Sydney.
Here are the reasons why I left Sydney
1. Overcrowding and lack of space
I grew up in a suburb west of Sydney’s CBD. We had big backyards, playgrounds close by, and alleyways where we met the neighbourhood kids so we could ride bikes together. Now, the streets are filled with cars, traffic that’s bumper-to-bumper every morning and afternoon with peak hour stretching the entire eight-hour work day and townhouses upon townhouses upon townhouses.
What I love most about Australia is the wide open space, clean fresh air, the beach and the bush. You don’t get much of that in Sydney anymore, unless of course you’re the owner of one of those infamous money tree whose leaves grow like weeds and fill your pocked with cash. For the rest of use, the houses available in a reasonable price range are situated in the housing estates garbage trucks can’t access, they’re tiny, the neighbours live 30cm away and the garages are too small to fit the car.
Sydney is expecting 2.4 million extra residents in the next 30 years so it’s hard to imagine these issues getting any better.
2. Infrastructure let down
Under any of the 30-year scenarios put together by Infrastructure Australia, Sydney’s infrastructure will be placed under significant pressure with the average number of hours spent on congested roads during the morning peak more than doubling. Because there’s nothing Sydneysiders love more than wasting their entire life behind the wheel of their car, stuck on the train or sardined on a bus.
3. Beachside bliss
I love the water. The beach is my happy place and living a minimum of one-hour’s drive (without traffic) from the closest beach just doesn’t appeal to me. On the Central Coast, we’re 20 minutes’ drive from a number of clean and quiet beaches, none of which charge for parking. It means we can enjoy sunset strolls along the water after work, every day of the week.
4. No one likes Sydney
Sydney loses more people to the rest of Australia than it gains, and has done so for more than four decades. Australians don’t like Sydney, especially those of us who simply can’t afford to enjoy the city to its potential. According to Sydney-based social researcher Mr McCrindle, Sydney’s more affordable suburbs out west still aren’t enough to entice people to stay, “while the west of Sydney offers some benefits of affordability compared to north and eastern suburbs, it’s not offering enough of a compelling lifestyle opportunity for people to stay.”
5. Cleaner, fresh air
Sydney’s rising pollution levels are no secret. From the ever increasing levels of pollution in the city’s water supply and Harbour to the air pollution from congested roads and tunnel stacks. If the city can’t keep its major tourism drawcards, the Harbour and the beach, clean, then it’s not going to be able to keep the suburbs clean.
The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage’s State of the Beaches report conducted in 2017 showed 16.5 per cent of Sydney swimming sites failed to reach a “good rating” in 2016/17. You can thank sewage issues for that!
According to NSW EPA, in the past five years, air quality was rated “very good” for 70-85 per cent of days in Sydney and 90 per cent or more days on the Central Coast and in rural NSW. In addition, South-west and north-west Sydney now experience more ‘poor or worse’ air quality days due to ozone and particle pollution. I know which air I’d rather be breathing!
While I’m excited for Sydney’s growth and I wish it all the best for the future, it’s not the city for me.
What do you think about Sydney? Let me know in the comments below!