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Chief Economist update: The great northern shift



Chief Economist update: The great northern shift


The Australian Bureau of Statistics released a preliminary report last week looking at population movement within Australia up until the June quarter of 2020. As expected, movement from capital cities to regional areas was the highest ever recorded.

It also found that movement from the southern states of NSW and Victoria into Queensland was significant. Queensland gained 4,000 people from NSW and 2,100 people from Victoria. It was the state that gained the most from interstate migration. 

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The NSW numbers were less surprising and were more consistent with historical trends. Since 2001 when this data set began, there has been no quarter that NSW has not lost people to other states – although international migration almost always makes up for the loss in population.

The loss from Victoria was more significant – in no quarter since this series was first tracked has Victoria lost so many people. With the Victorian border shut to every state for almost the entire September quarter, there are likely to be very low levels of population movement.

The Victorian economy will bounce back, but it will take more time than other states given the prolonged shutdown.

While it is too early to say whether this trend will continue, we have seen a heightened interest in Queensland property from Victorians since April. Searches from Victoria and into Queensland are generally quite stable, amounting to around one million per month.



Since the start of April, there has been a sharp acceleration. By October, searches had increased by more than 130% to well over two million per month. The rest of Australia is also fairly interested in Queensland, but the increase in interest has been half that of Victoria’s.

The Queensland locations where we are seeing the most search from Victorians on realestate.com.au are popular holiday destinations like the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

Many of these areas are seeing strong price growth. The median price for houses in Surfers Paradise has jumped 24% while Noosa has increased 8%.

Unit price growth has been more modest but overall increasing. It may not be only Victorian money that is driving this, but it is likely key to the market strength. 

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If Victoria does lose people to Queensland, which Victorian suburbs might be impacted? The top suburbs that the searches are coming from in Victoria are primarily expensive inner-city locations – but it’s possible people in these areas have just been daydreaming about space, surf and sunshine while locked in their homes.

For now, we don’t know for sure whether it will lead to a great northern shift like we saw in the early 1990s, but by early next year we should have a clearer idea. Source: realestate.com.au

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