Workers commuting to Sydney could save one-and-a-half years and $40,000 over a lifetime by relocating from Wollongong to Helensburgh.
That's according to new research from agent comparison website OpenAgent, who found that commuters would save 80 minutes and $3.86 a day travelling to and from the Sydney CBD.*
Samantha Thorne from OpenAgent said despite Wollongong and Helensburgh being only about half an hour apart, there would be significant long-term benefits.
She said after the ripple effect that Wollongong's property boom and gentrification has had on surrounding areas, boutique cafés and pubs are now a stone's throw away from Helensburgh.
Ms Thorne also said property prices in Helensburgh are comparable to those in Wollongong.
"The median house price in Helensburgh is slightly lower than in Wollongong; around $910,000 compared to $915,000," she said.
Ms Thorne said the Illawarra's northern suburbs, easily accessible from Helensburgh, are a string of picturesque, coastal areas that are highly accessible by trains.
The analysis was based on return travel into the Sydney CBD from Helensburgh taking 100 minutes, compared to 180 minutes from Wollongong.
Ms Thorne said if you were to move to Helensburgh from Wollongong, over a lifetime you would spend 1.8 years commuting, compared to 3.3 years.
"People should also take into consideration the physical and mental health effects that a long commute could have after many years," she said.
"Weigh out the different lifestyles in Helensburgh and Wollongong, but if you're commuting to the city, saving 80 minutes a day and $40,000 over a lifetime is a huge deal."
She said Helensburgh residents could potentially save money on mortgage repayments on top of what was saved in commuting costs.
"Helensburgh is somewhat of a hidden gem; close to beaches, schools and shops, cheaper than highly coveted northern suburbs such as Wombarra, Stanwell Park, Austinmer and Coledale, yet closer to Sydney," she said.
*This is the methodology used:
The median house price was found on onthehouse.com.au by CoreLogic on March 1, 2019.
Daily commute times and the average cost of the daily commute was taken from Transport for NSW and was based on commute via public transport to Central Station at peak hour on March 1, 2019. Commute routes were taken from major transport hubs within that suburb - either train stations or bus stations on main roads.
For lifetime commute cost, they calculated the daily cost of commute times as 250 (number of working days this year). They then took that total and multiplied it by 42 (estimated number of working years).
Lifetime commute cost was calculated using Ford's Commuting Calculator based on 42 working years.