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Relocating to the country may become more appealing for home buyers due to the NSW Regional Relocation Grant.

The past few years have seen an increase in people moving out of the big cities to coastal or country areas. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, inner and outer regional areas of New South Wales have experienced a 6.9% population increase from 2007-2012.

To assist those who move from a metropolitan area and purchase a regional property, the Government is offering a one-off payment of $7,000. This grant is available for those who purchase after 1 July 2011and on or before 30 June 2015.

The Government has defined the following cities as metropolitan areas: Sydney metropolitan area, Hawkesbury, Blue Mountains, Gosford, Wyong, Newcastle, Wollondilly and Wollongong. The grant would thus apply if you were moving outside of these areas.

In order to be eligible to receive this grant, you must adhere to the following:

• Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident. If there are multiple applicants, at least one must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
• Must purchase the property after 1 July 2011 and before 1 July 2014.
• The property must be used as principal residence.
• The property’s value must be under $600,000 or $450,000 for vacant land.
• Must have owned and lived in the metropolitan home for at least 12 months prior to purchasing a regional property
• Must sell the metropolitan home within 12 months of purchasing the regional property
• Must have been renting a metropolitan home for at least 12 months prior and can also provide a continuous 2 year rental history in a metropolitan area.

There are many reasons why people are choosing to move to regional areas. Some of these include:

Career change: With regional towns becoming more popular, many companies are expanding their location, creating new career opportunities.

Affordable living: The demand for housing in major city areas is continuing to rise, which is affecting the price tag of metropolitan properties. Many people are finding they can get a quality, spacious home for a lot less. For example, in October 2013, a tri-level, four-bedroom home in Cooma was sold at auction for $400,000. However, according to a report by Raine & Horne, some regional real estate markets could experience a 15 per cent price growth by Easter 2014 due to the increase in buyer demand.

Lifestyle change: Many regional towns now have a similar culture and lifestyle as well as infrastructure and potential for growth as metropolitan areas, without the hustle, stress and lack of space of a big city.

Although the NSW Regional Relocation Grant can help reduce the cost of moving, it is important to consider the provisions as well as your future plans to ensure this is the right option for you. For more information see: http://www.osr.nsw.gov.au/grants/regional-relocation-grant/regional-relocation-home-buyers-grant