Regional Perth

Reporter: Andrea Burns

Property boom priced you out of the housing market? If the finances won't stretch any further, maybe it's time to stretch your idea of suburbia? Perth's population is predicted to top two million by 2021 - almost another half a million people calling it home- but where are they going to live?

Planning lecturer Dr Paul Maginn says if you used to think Mandurah was a hike, try predictions WA's metropolitan area will stretch from Bunbury to Geraldton, "people will have to make a choice" People like Theo and Janet Rogers already have, moving to Yanchep a few years ago. "You can still get a home here for under 500 000 and walk to the beach" Working in Perth by day, coming home to their own sea change every night. "You've got the wonderful skies, you see stars, the air's different and we're talking 3/4 of an hour from the CBD" The couple made almost a million dollars on the last home they built in Yanchep, but Janet and Theo say it's the lifestyle the coastal town affords them, that's priceless. "We have a home and a holiday home all in one"

They commute daily to their Osborne Park business and even enjoy the drive, "we travel each morning, we talk to each other, we discuss the day, we discuss what we're going to do that evening, if the rugby;s on, or whether we're going to go out for dinner" Paul Maginn says while the government wants higher density living in the city - more apartment or group dwellings, many people still want a home with a front and back yard - just like they grew up in. But cost can be prohibitive - particularly for first home buyers, forced beyond the CBD. "It's difficult to break in there unless you've got wealthy parents or you've inherited money or you've won the lotto so the choice is then youve gotta basically expand your geographical horizons"

24 year old Jacinta Sibley is still moving into her new home near Pinjarra. Jacinta likes that Pinjarra is close enough to work in Perth, but still offers rural benefits. "Because of the country lifestyle we live and the horses we have there would be no chance at all of being able to buy in the city without looking into the millions" Recently relocating from New South Wales, Jacinta says she's used to travelling a distance to work - putting the hour on the train, to good use. "The commute doesn't bother me at all because i can get study or reading done and i notice a lot of other people on the train doing the same thing reading work documents or books or things like that"

For Aussie born Kate Denton and her English husband Chris, living an hour out of Perth was their first choice. "I think it was the open space, having lived in central London and then in Lincolnshire, there's not many of you live in WA" The Dentons are living the Aussie " tree change" dream - the home among the gum trees... clothes line out the back, verandah out the front - Very english daughters Emma and Amy have settled into a very Aussie childhood very easily. "We'd rather the children go play in the paddock than watch tv" Chris is a carpenter - and doesn't mind travelling into Perth for work if he has to.

Kate says swapping English cold for Aussie sunshine was easy, but also thinks Toodyay gives them a great country-city balance. "You're only 40/50 minutes and you're in Midland which is a major centre and all the businesses you need are there, so you're not that far away" At the last official count, Toodyay was home to just over 4100 people. The local council's now working from figures predicting that'll jump 20% over the next 3 years.

Dr Maginn believes we're in the process of redefining our idea of "home". That has implications for government, in providing infrastructure - and deciding who'll pay for it. Janet Rogers says it's a double edged sword - more people means more facilities - but it also means... more people. These people are convinced they've made a great lifestyle choice. They only hope others don't follow suit - and ruin all their peace and quiet.