Moving to Italy may not seem like an obvious story to predict the value of the Australian housing market, but that’s exactly what Jared did earlier this year.
The 36-year-old and his wife Aurora, 29, were house-hunting in regional Victoria for a place to call home with their two young children.
But after losing a place in Castlemaine Victoria – which sold for $50,000 over asking price – Aurora was prompted to revisit her pre-pandemic plans to move to Tuscany, Italy, where she grew up.
In Arezzo, the couple is looking at “really decent” houses for $300,000. Much less if you decide on an apartment instead.
We spoke to Jared about his decision to leave the Australian Dream and look elsewhere.
These are his words.
‘We didn’t want to be crowded.’
We were a bit worried about losing the house in Castlemaine.
It was only a two-bedroom apartment and the most attractive thing was the reasonable price. But then it sold for an asking price of $50,000.
We feel we need to save more deposits, my wife has to work more, and we are pushed to our limits.
We didn’t want to be stuck in a mortgage for 30 years at a high rate, and not knowing what interest rates were doing.
On top of that, childcare opportunities in Castlemaine were limited.
We were planning to move to Italy in 2020. We are ready to go with our tickets.
But apparently the epidemic happened, and since then we had another child.
We’ve always wanted to go to the country, so Castlemaine was in our sights, but we couldn’t afford it, so we thought, “Well, let’s just bite the Italian bullet.”
We figured it might be easier now that the kids are out of school. It will be less disruptive.
To live in Italy and be with my husband’s family, have the children experience a different lifestyle and be bilingual – that was a big draw for us.
To be honest, the first three months were terrible.
Aurora’s mother knew some people who had an empty shed that we could move into.
We are thankful that we don’t have to rent, but more things need to be done to make it more livable for us.
There was a lot of bureaucratic stuff around getting a residence permit here, we had a few problems with the car we bought, trying to sort out the kids – it was the next thing we were up against.
We didn’t think about those challenges.
We knew it would be difficult with the language and the new environment, but sorting out the administrative aspects of life was a challenge.
That kind of dominated our timing for a while, but now that we’ve done so much, we’re starting to get into a little bit of a rhythm.
It was great to spend time with my husband’s family, see the scenery. There are a lot of festivals, community events – they’re all great.
So it was up and down. But it’s starting to look more like “life” than preparation.
And I was amazed at how strong the kids were.
Obviously, at the age of three, being separated from his friends, childcare, and family was difficult.
But now we are seeing opportunities and enjoying the positives.
The aim is to stay here for at least two years, possibly longer, but we are working out what our options are.
My wife has been taking advantage of various opportunities to teach English, and maybe I can start doing the same.
We’re still working out how much revenue we’ll get, and what our limits will be.
Our Australian house deposit goes a long way here, but we need more time to see what happens with jobs.
We have been looking and you can find two or three bedroom apartments in the city for 80,000 euros to 100,000 euros (roughly $115,000 to $145,000).
Or there are really nice houses for $350,000. Places on the outskirts of town, huge old stone country villa style houses.
There are also properties with old stone farms and apartments, which can be purchased individually or collectively. With friends, we can each spend $90,000 to get a big place in the country.
We want to get to a place where we feel comfortable and functional but not overwhelmed by all the other stresses of life.
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