When Horsley resident Kylie Estreich graduated from university she - like many graduates - was forced to move to Sydney to work in her chosen field.
But this year, the pull of her hometown's coastal lifestyle and the convenience of being surrounded by family and friends became too strong, so she decided to move home and join thousands of daily commuters who travel between Wollongong and Sydney.
Like the 569 Illawarra residents who took part in the Property Council's recent poll, Ms Estreich loved the lifestyle and environment in Wollongong but lamented the lack of job opportunities.
The 26-year-old works at Sydney Children's Hospital as a play therapist - helping to support children and families during their time in hospital - and spends more than three hours a day, five days a week travelling between home and work.
The commute could be tiring, she said, but was worth it to live in the city she loved.
"My job simply does not exist in Wollongong," she said.
"But I'm really not a city girl and here you have the best of both worlds - that beachside, almost small-town feel but with access to big-city things."
However, Ms Estreich would like to see the job market improve.
"It's such a tricky balance, to decide whether to pay higher rent in Sydney, or have a lower cost of living and good lifestyle in Wollongong but have to pay for petrol and take up the time to travel," she said.
"You literally end up exhausting yourself just to be able to live somewhere you like and work in a job you enjoy."