The health risks of outer suburban property

Your own home or a nice short trip to work each day? That’s the question many Australians now face as affordability pushes people into the outer suburbs in an attempt to secure their own bricks and mortar dream.

But what is the real price paid for moving away from our place of employment to realise the outer suburban ideal?

AustraliaSCAN, an offshoot of the Quantum Market Research group, said young people are most at risk of these ill effects given their growing inability to get a foot on the property ladder unless they are willing to move further afield.

Managing director of Quantum Market Research, Imogen Randell, said average commuting times were on the rise as more Australians move to the urban fringe.

“Work remains close to our CBD areas and the result is an increased load on our already struggling roads … and more time spent commuting,” she said.

Gen Y’s spend the longest periods travelling to and from work at an average of 30.7 minutes, followed by younger Gen X-ers at 35-44 minutes and 25.5 minutes for 45-54-year-olds.

So what are the long-term ramifications of these extended travel times?

According to the research published in the Herald Sun, a journey to work of 45 minutes or longer revealed that 52 per cent of us are more likely to be dissatisfied with our family relationships than short-trip commuters, as well as a general increased risk of stress and migraine headaches.

Mission Australia head of social policy Eleri Morgan-Thomas is calling for cheaper accommodation closer to the CBD to accommodate city workers in key industries, along with better public transport infrastructure.

“There can be costs to social and family lives … when you get home at 7pm you are not going to have the time or the energy to coach the local sport, for example,” she said.

One option more employers are now considering is flexible working hours for staff along with a combination of in-office and remote work policies that allow for people to work from home for some of the time.

It is possible that we could see a further lean toward this trend as affordability continues to have an impact on would be home owners along with Gen Y’s seeking rental accommodation within their budget, and subsequently have to move further away form the city.

Another growing phenomenon we are beginning to see more off is share accommodation arrangements, whereby two or more young people still have the opportunity to enjoy all of the employment, amenities and lifestyle the inner city affords, without such a high price tag.

These are the types of trends that long term investors would do well to keep an eye on because, after all, the younger demographics are the property purchasers and tenants of the future.


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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

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