Families moving to Hawkesbury for 'lifestyle change' during COVID

Space and character: The Axford family moved to Kurrajong from Thornleigh for a lifestyle change after the pandemic hit. Picture: KE Photography
Space and character: The Axford family moved to Kurrajong from Thornleigh for a lifestyle change after the pandemic hit. Picture: KE Photography

The pandemic has caused a 'race to the regions' of sorts, with families moving to our area to make a lifestyle change.

Our district offers the best of both worlds - closeness to the bush and proximity to the city - and people from built-up local government areas appreciate the Hawkesbury's wide spaces and country town vibe.

Michael Bennett, principal of the Bennett Property Team, said when COVID first hit last March, it brought with it a month of "uncertain times" when auctions and open homes couldn't proceed. He said this "flipped the market on its head".

"People were sick of living in the city with all the problems so they moved here to change their lifestyle, work a bit from home, and buy more formal properties," Mr Bennett told the Gazette.

He said areas including Bilpin, Kurrajong and Colo were "big players in lifestyle properties now" and the housing markets in those areas had "benefited from COVID".

"A lot of professional people, people who can work from home, are moving from areas like Manly, Coogee, Double Bay and the Inner West including Stanmore and Summer Hill, buyers you don't normally get from that area are buying in Kurrajong, Grose Vale and Bilpin," Mr Bennett said.

He said buyers appreciated the river lifestyle of the Hawkesbury, as well as the fact that it wasn't too far away from the city by train. The Western Sydney University Hawkesbury Campus and the RAAF Base were also factors that weighed into buyers' decisions to move here.

Leon Axford and his young family moved from Thornleigh to Kurrajong a year ago, and he said it was "the best thing we ever did".

"We've come from a townhouse in Thornleigh to an acre in Kurrajong, it's quiet and there's something about it," Mr Axford said.

"I've got two boys and we love the space. The space was a big thing for us, to be able to grow into."

He said he stumbled on the Hawkesbury while taking a detour driving home from a work commitment in Penrith one day.

"I had been out to see some clients and went the long way home, went through Agnes Banks and through Windsor, and had a look at what you could get for your money out there," he said.

"[My wife and I] had talked about going to Bowral or the Central Coast but thought it was too far [from the city]."

Mr Axford owns an auctioneer company and is engaged in home auctions around Sydney. He said he can work from home sometimes, which made Kurrajong feasible.

"It's a lifestyle move for us. I don't have an office that I need to be in every day," Mr Axford said.

"If I needed to drive into Parramatta or the city every day I couldn't have made the move, but given the flexibility I've got in this business it made the move a no-brainer."