3 Wishes, the Big City and Work/Life balance

“Don’t confuse having a career with having a life”. – Hillary Clinton

“Don’t get so busy making a living, that you forget to make a life” – Dolly Parton

“Commutes of an hour to 90 minutes are worst, but even short journeys are linked to lower happiness and higher anxiety” – The Telegraph UK

Since the dawn of time, humans have been fascinated by the notion of wish fulfillment. From mythological genies in bottles offering 3 wishes, to wishing wells, humans are continually wishing, and dreaming utopian thoughts.

What we wish for varies enormously, as we age. Ask a 5 year old what he or she wishes for, and it is almost certainly going to be very different to what a 95 year old wishes for.

What people wish for varies between the sexes, and varies between countries, and between different cultures. It varies between those living in big cities and those in rural areas.

The whole concept of 3 wishes, is interesting, as the typical person has far more than just 3 wishes. Indeed research on the subject shows it is difficult to even narrow it to 10 categories.

However, I thought it interesting to reflect on one of the big “wishes” that the average Sydneysider wants: “An easier daily commute to work”.

As most Sydneysiders will agree, it is never fun, being stuck in the traffic, and “slepping” it to work everyday is a pain. Whether you are on a bus or a train, even the mode of transport, doesn’t make a lot of difference.

Increasingly it is being noted that happiness is not solely about how much income you earn or how big your house is. In essence, we are questioning the traditional Australian dream.
A recent Swedish study found that people who endure more than a 45-minute commute were 40% more likely to divorce, and that a person with a 1 hour commute has to earn 40% more money to be as satisfied with life as someone who walks to work.

How does this relate to property market? To me it tells the story of where the “demand” is. So while I hear lots of pundits fretting over, the Sydney property market being a bubble and things needing to come back to reality. I can’t see the demand in some areas falling.

You read articles titled “Lack of homes in the inner west”, and similar regarding the eastern suburbs. Increasingly buyers are willing to compromise on space, additional bedrooms or parking to be in the inner ring suburbs.

As Lisa Bradley, of Finderskeepers recently stated, “There is a big market of people who want to live as close as possible to the CBD, to shorten their commute and so that they have easy access to the cafés, restaurants, clubs and entertainment”.

My key point is when you are comparing a similar home in say Vaucluse, to one in Bellevue Hill, the travel time is affecting the sale price. People are finding New South Head Rd and Old South Head Rd as increasingly difficult especially through peak times and will compromise on certain attributes to be closer to the city.

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