PHOTO: Daveena Brain in her Coogee apartment. She bought an investment property in Ballarat. Photo: James Alcock

Daveena Brain feared she would never be able to afford to buy a home in her own neighbourhood. Renting in a beachside suburb of Sydney, as property prices peaked, she started looking further afield.

“I even went outside Penrith and a really ordinary looking two-bedroom flat was still $400,000 plus,” Ms Brain said.

“Then I started looking back in Melbourne and my sister said, ‘Why don’t you think about buying in Ballarat?’”

Ms Brain is one of many Sydneysiders buying into Victoria’s regional cities as house and apartment prices remain relatively affordable and the lifestyle offers them more time with family.

Her sister lives in Ballarat and told her about the area booming with new estates and new jobs. She went to inspect a few properties in Melbourne and Geelong on a visit to her family before finding a property to buy.

She bought an old Victorian house in Soldiers Hill, once used as a dance hall, and converted it into three apartments.