NICK Garton could not think of a better place to raise a family than Orange, and he is not the only person who feels that way.
New research conducted by RP Data for Aussie Home Loans rated Orange the best regional place in Australia to live, taking into account the price of property, the size of residential blocks, the rising value of real estate and residents’ proximity to essential amenities.
Mr Garton, his wife Marika and their young daughter Sofia, moved to Orange last year having contemplated a tree change for several years.
“We fell in love with the place, it’s got everything that you’d ever need,” Mr Garton said.
“It’s got a beautiful feel.”
The Gartons moved to Orange from the Sydney suburb of Hornsby and could not believe how affordable houses were.
“The rental market is ridiculously expensive, but Orange is really affordable for first-time home buyers,” Mr Garton said.
The family purchased their house on a 700-square-metre block for under $300,000.
Since then they have been spreading the news about how great life is in Orange.
“The restaurants and the wine are fantastic,” Mr Garton said.
In fact the Gartons’ enthusiasm is contagious with Mr Garton’s parents now selling their home in the Hunter Valley and moving here.
Orange wasn’t the only regional city to make the list of the best places to live, with Dubbo ranked fourth and Muswellbrook sixth in the top 100.
Bathurst did not rate a mention.
Chief executive officer of Aussie Home Loans Ian Corfield said the survey shows that families’ priorities have changed over the years, with parents prepared to travel longer distances to work and for good schooling.
He said the features of a house and their affordability were now the top priorities for families, not location.
“With a population of more than 2,628,000 already enjoying our NSW regional towns, it’s encouraging to see some of these beautiful locations recognised,” he said.
“It’s particularly heartening considering the work the state government has put in to promoting population growth and employment opportunities in these areas. There’s some great incentives for families considering a metro to regional tree change,“ he said.