For Elspeth Ennion, life in Randwick means access to great cafes and restaurants and beaches.
"In the summer, we are going to swim every chance we get and swim before the job," she says. "For example, if we moved somewhere else to the west, we could have a detached house, much larger place, but we prefer to have a town house before that apartment and have access to all of this. We also do not want to live somewhere where we have every hour and a half to travel a day, and this is a choice of lifestyle. "
Ennion, 42, and her husband, Mal Walters, 47, are paying a big mortgage on a three-bedroom townhouse in Randwick where they live with Anjo's five-year-old daughter.
The couple is still the owner of a two-bedroom apartment in the same suburb he bought 12 years ago; their former home is now their investment property, and the proximity of the University of NSW means rent demand should remain strong.
Ennion knows how happy he is.
"We are doing well," she says. "I've fallen in a career that is relatively well worth it and I started investing early."
He first bought shares at the university, thanks to the honorary job that enabled her early education in the investment. Now he works as a product manager and Walters is a business analyst.
The main substitution was the amount of time Ennion could spend with Anja.
Financial election pairs meant that Ennion had to return to full-time employment after Anya had 12 months. Walters also works and does not have relatives for help, which meant five days of kindergarten for Mom.
Anya now attends a local public primary school, which Ennion says is "really good".
"I feel like I've won Lotto without paying the bill – it's $ 40,000 a year," says Ennion. "I was lucky I could sacrifice my salary, but not everyone in that position."
While the family has yet to decide for Anja high school, Ennion would rather remain in the public system if possible.
"I do not really want to go into privacy, I'd rather spend money on mortgages or on vacation, but it depends on the quality of options and I do not want her to have long trips," says Ennion. "High school is cheaper than kindergarten, even private."
Before Anya was born, Ennion and Walters went abroad every few years. Since then, they have become simple because they have become parents but Ennion would love to start traveling again now when Mother is old and especially wants to return to Africa.
Ennion does not plan to have more children. She says the finances are not the main reason, but "it would certainly be a consideration".
"I am the primary recipient of income and this is a significant cost of seizure of 12 months and mortgage management and four more years of living," she says. "We could do it, but that would really mean cutting."
Ennion would like to work four days a week, but her full-time salary is required to pay mortgages and bills.
While Ennion and Walters have been able to thrive, the high cost of living in Sydney means their sense of community diminished.
The couple had a "circle of friendships" of people who all studied at the University of NSW, stayed in the area after graduation and drank several times a week. Six or seven couples now moved to various parts of Sydney because they made compromises themselves to buy homes and raise children.
"Everyone is widespread and because we all have children, it makes it difficult to compensate," she says.
"We bought what we could afford"
The 40-year-old Niro Thambipillay lives with his wife Abi and two young sons in a flat in Pymble.
"First we picked the area and then bought what we could afford," says Thambipillay. "If we want a house for a similar price, we will have to move far beyond."
His wife's ability to travel to CBD was a key part of that decision – 45 minutes each time from Pymblea train four days a week.
Sathyan, 5, attends a local public school, and Shivan, 2, goes to child care or is sometimes accompanied by grandparents. Thambipillay is pleased with the school and believes that the local public high school is also good.
Thambipillay conducts family-focused fathers, consulting and coaching activities that help men and fathers overcome issues related to suspicion, stress and balance between work and life. It is also advised to invest in real estate.
"The biggest challenge for men right now is the conflict between work and family," he says. "There are more hours at work, and there are longer journeys. They simply do not spend the time they want with their children.
"My role is to show them how to best use their limited time with children. After that, we'll see if we can make some geographic or career changes, but that's not always possible, especially in Sydney. "
Thambipillay says his wife would like to be the mother who stays home, especially now while the boys are young but it was not financially possible for the family. Instead, working for a short time, and Thambipillay adjusted his job to family needs.
In what he describes as a "balancing act," a typical day in their household, see Thambipillay begin to work late, spending the morning with his sons before going to his office in nearby Gordon.
Late beginnings sometimes imply a late ending.
"There are some evenings where I do not even see boys, but it's a compromise."
& # 39; I grew up here & # 39;
Moving from Camperdown to Hornsby when she was pregnant with her first child was not smart for Kathy – but her husband had to convince her.
"I grew up here and I was lobbied for it," she says. "I told him to eat a lot in King Street, Newtown before we moved!"
The couple searched for the interior of the West, but when Kathy, who is now 40, is pregnant, the bank has reduced the pre-approval for a housing loan.
Instead, the couple decided to buy a three-bedroom house in Hornsby overlooking the valley, a few streets back from the bushland, and a distance to the train station.
Their daughter Emma now has two, and she hopes to have more children.
Kathy loves to have a bush nearby, a playground for children, and securely a suburb where children can wander around the neighborhood when they are older.
– For me, I feel it exists [no trade-offs] because here I have family and friends; his family is a bit further and that's a compromise, "she says. "I always want to do things outdoors, I feel like I'm living here in a great amusement park, so much walking and mountain biking. It was from Maroubre so it was supposed to be convincing.
Kathy works as a lawyer near the Main Station, and her husband travels to Wynyard. – Hornsby is on the Newcastle railroad, so it's only 35 minutes to the city [if you get the right train], "she says." It would be really different if we were at one of the small stations with fewer trains. "
Caitlin Fitzsimmons is editor of The Sun-Herald magazine and columnist.
Matt Bungard is a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.