Many Sydneysiders are rethinking the attractiveness of Australia’s biggest city and have their eyes firmly set on regional cities and towns. And would you believe Newcastle is the second most popular regional place people are moving to.

It’s clear that 2020 has seen some huge changes due to COVID-19. And with densely populated cities like Sydney and Melbourne being hardest hit, it is no wonder Sydneysiders are heading for the hills or the less populated regional areas.

However, Australians favouring regional areas cannot be solely explained by the virus. The Regional Australia Institute’s Big Movers Report shows that moving to regional areas has been developing as a trend since 20111.

From 2011-2016, it was reported 1.2 million people moved to and around regional Australia1. Sydney has the largest loss with over 64,000 Sydney locals opting for a tree change or sea change.

Melbourne saw the second biggest amount of people relocate out of the city – with 21,069 Melbournians moving to regional areas across Australia. With the year Melbourne has had in 2020, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more Melbournians planning to abandon the city heading for a less-populated, quieter region.

More often than not, people like to remain in the same state as they moved from. This is understandable – moving interstate significantly increases the cost of moving and there are many more things to consider.

As evidenced in the Big Movers Report and success stories like this one from Domain, the top three reasons city dwellers are abandoning the big city lights are:

  1. Cost of living, particularly housing affordability
  2. Opportunities for rapid career advancement
  3. Lifestyle choices

Changes to working environments, especially the rise in freelance work or the increasingly common and popular opportunity to work from home, mean that moving away from the city has never been easier. Employers are understanding that location is no longer a barrier to productive and profitable work environments.

Couple this with never before seen levels of new job opportunities across regional areas and it’s not hard to see why something that started as a trickle, is quickly turning into a torrent.

Newcastle, as Australia’s seventh largest city and NSW’s second largest city, is particularly expected to grow over the coming years.

According to another report by Regional Australia Institute2 the number of jobs in Newcastle is expected to increase by 13,600 from 2019-2022, with professional services roles in Newcastle accounting for a large portion of the increase.

What makes Newcastle the second most-popular re-location destination for Sydneysiders?


The city is large enough to be independent with its own airport and strong local employment hub. An enviable economic situation for any regional city, particularly when the country’s largest economy is but a 2-hour drive South.

What’s more, Newcastle is growing. There are numerous CBD developments including a new university campus being built in the waterside, inner-city suburb of Honeysuckle – set to be finished mid-2021.

But for many, its Newcastle’s unique lifestyle that is the primary attraction. Positioned right on the coast, with work, home and beach often just 5 minutes apart, ‘killing the commute’ has become a welcomed reality for many Sydneysiders accustomed to the hour-long daily commute.

If you’re interested in ‘killing your commute’ and having a greater life / work balance get in touch with Coastal Recruitment today. As Newcastle’s leading boutique recruitment agency we’ll help you secure your dream lifestyle faster than you ever thought possible.

Stop dreaming and start taking action – call (02) 4058 1930 or email today

Positions vacant in Newcastle


1 Regional Australia Institute. (2020) The Big Movers: Understanding Population Mobility in Regional Australia, Regional Australia Institute, Canberra.

2 Houghton K., 2019, The future of regional jobs, The Regional Australia Institute, Canberra

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