June 2, 2010 / 3:46 AM / 9 years ago

Dream of Sydney beach life? So do many as costs soar

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - The dream of living by the beach or harbor in Sydney is becoming an unattainable for many Australians with a third of Sydney’s residents saying housing costs are now unaffordable.

Pedestrians walk along the Bondi to Bronte beach path in Sydney's eastern suburbs December 17, 2008. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

More than one third of Sydney’s residents say they need more than A$100,000 ($83,130) a year income to live comfortably in Australia’s largest city which is famed for its city beaches like Bondi and magnificent harbor views.

Despite the rising cost of living in Sydney, the majority of residents still want to live in the city’s most expensive beachside, harbor front or inner city suburbs, said a survey by the Sydney Business Chamber.

“Our poll shows that Sydney is still very much a harbor and beach city ... but it’s a dream that is slipping away,” said Patricia Forsythe, executive director of the chamber.

Housing affordability in Sydney continues to be a challenge with one in two, or 51 percent, of residents describing it as unaffordable or very unaffordable.

“The popularity of inner city living is putting upward pressure on the cost of living in Sydney and the price of housing,” said Forsythe.

Rising mortgage repayments were the main factor, she said.

“The challenge for government is to deliver more affordable housing in these areas and also to make the outer suburbs more attractive through job creation and cutting commuting times to employment areas,” said Forsythe.

Asked how they would rate Sydney’s cost of living compared to 12 months ago, only two percent of those surveyed said it was affordable, compared to 60 percent who said less affordable.

Asked to rate their Sydney housing experience, either renting or paying off a mortgage, a third said it was unaffordable, 21 percent said very unaffordable and 28 percent affordable.

When it came to choosing an area to live, 18 percent opted for the eastern suburbs, which boast beaches like Bondi, 17 percent said Sydney Harbour’s north shore or the city’s inner west and 16 percent chose the northern beaches.

Only five percent said the center of the city.

And when it came to how much money they would need to live comfortably, 35 percent said A$100,000 to A$150,000, 51 percent said A$50,000 to A$100,000, yet a third earned less than A$50,000 and another third A$50,000 to A$100,000.

Reporting by Michael Perry; Editing by Belinda Goldsmith

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