No rush yet of Sydneysiders to move to the sticks, despite $7,000 government carrot

Just 49 families have signed up to quit Sydney for the sticks under the NSW government’s scheme to encourage relocation from urban to regional areas.

Since July 1, a $7,000 grant has been available for families who sell in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong and buy in regional areas.

The value of the new property must be less than $600,000 and the property must be the principal place of residence.

The low numbers have cast doubt over the estimated 7,000 annual take-up, but a government spokesman says it is too early in the four-year scheme for any meaningful figures to be produced.

The relocation grant scheme had been central to the Coalition's pre-election ''decade of decentralisation'' pitch, with Premier Barry O'Farrell hoping it will ease population pressure within the Sydney metropolitan area.

The SMH has reported the Coalition initially expected the scheme would be taken up by 10,000 households a year, capped at 40,000 across four years, but Treasury has revised the number to 7,000 a year.

The Office of State Revenue data noted 49 grants were taken up in the first three months of the scheme, to September 30, 2011.

Last month opposition leader John Robertson announced a policy to redirect $280 million from the regional relocation program to a policy to support regional businesses and staff, and to retrain employees who have been laid off in regional areas and support business innovation.

But the Real Estate Institute of NSW believes the policy was a practical initiative addressing the housing availability crisis that has been gripping Sydney for some time.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

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