Rural living makes sense

Change: Rural towns such as Kimba can be home for many people looking to live in regional South Australia for a better economic lifestyle. Photo by Kirsty Hulme.
Change: Rural towns such as Kimba can be home for many people looking to live in regional South Australia for a better economic lifestyle. Photo by Kirsty Hulme.

Imagine paying off a housing loan in six to eight years.

Well the dream could become reality if home buyers are willing to move into some areas of regional South Australia.

As median house prices across the country, from over $1 million in some capital cities to under $50,000 in some rural towns, there is the chance for people to look at making some economic and lifestyle changes.

According to the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) there are two ingredients to consider when looking for a home in rural Australia - regions which have good average incomes and low median house prices.

A RAI report, Regional Population Growth: Are We Ready? showed many workers who lived in outer city suburbs of capital cities would be better off moving to regional areas because they were paying double the mortgage payments on a similar average wage.

The new research shows some families could be financially better off if they set up a life in regional South Australia.

The RAI recently launched a new tool, MOVE, which has an interactive map that highlights council areas with information on median house prices, average years to pay a mortgage (based on 28pc of income to repayments), average income, unemployment rates and more.

Looking at figures for regional South Australia there were some standouts in a variety of categories.

The Flinders Ranges district has an average house mortgage of $102,308 which can be paid in six years, while in the Mt Remarkable ($120,054), Orroroo/Carrieton ($125,739), Peterborough ($83,618) and Kimba ($95,676) council areas it would be eight years.

The number of years is calculated by the average house median price and the average wage income.

The highest average number of years to pay for a median home is: Victor Harbor ($368,722) and Adelaide Hills ($592,350) areas with 29 years and Alexandrina council ($356,679) at 25 years with Robe (383,462), Kangaroo Island ($265,302), Barossa ($350,218), Light ($350,218), Mallala ($362,538) and Lower Eyre Peninsula ($341,583) at between 24 and 22 years.

In the regions, the Adelaide Hills has the highest average yearly income while other high averages include the Whyalla council area at $69,737, Grant council at $69,665, Barunga West with $65,851 and Port Augusta at $63,506.

The lowest income is the Southern Mallee district with an average of $42,748, followed by Coorong on $42,751, Tatiara on $43,332 and Kangaroo Island on $43,603.

Unemployment rates also differ with higher figures of 11.2 per cent in the Port Pirie districts, the Copper Coast is sitting at 9.1pc, Onkaparinga on 8.1pc and Murray Bridge and Berri-Barmera council areas on 7.1pc.

The lowest is just 1.1pc at Kimba, while Cleve and Franklin Harbour have just 1.2pc followed by Tatiara on 1.9pc and Lower Eyre Peninsula on 2.0pc.

When it comes to industry the larger regional areas of Southern Fleurieu, Adelaide Hills, Murraylands and Iron Triangle have more diversification, giving potential new residents a range of employment opportunities.

More rural areas such as the West Coast, Mallee, Eyre Peninsula have less variety when it comes to job prospects.

So which state council area ticks most of the boxes in each category?

Well it's Kimba.

The district has a median house price of $95,676, which can be paid in about eight years on an average wage of $44,782, and it has an unemployment rate of only 1.1pc.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank director David Matthews said a change of lifestyle could be achieved as job opportunities were growing in regional Australia.

"Regional Australia has so much to offer, be it more affordable housing, a quicker commute to work and a safe welcoming environment to share with your family," he said.

"With an intelligent and sustainable population strategy, Australians, no matter where they live, can continue to enjoy the lifestyle that we're most famous for around the world."

For more information on RAI visit http://www.regionalaustralia.org.au/home/.

For the MOVE interactive site visit http://www.regionalaustralia.org.au/home/move/

This story Rural living makes sense first appeared on The Murray Valley Standard.