The real driver of Australian population growth
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The real driver of Australian population growth

With the number of local births on the decline, Australia is increasingly looking to other sources to meet ongoing labour demands

By Bronwyn Allen
Fri, Mar 22, 2024 10:11amGrey Clock 2 min

Australia’s population grew by 2.5 percent to 26.8 million people over the 12 months ending 30 September, according to new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). This was an annual increase of 659,800 people, with migrants making up 83 percent of the increase at 548,800. Natural increase, which is births minus deaths, contributed to a net gain of 111,000 people.  

Natural increase was 3.9 percent lower than the same period in 2022, reflecting a trend in Australian women having fewer babies. Migration was 60.3 percent higher than the same period in 2022, however the data from this period was impacted by the border closure until February 2022. Most migrants arriving in the 12 months to 30 September 2023 were international students and workers on temporary visas. The overwhelming majority of migrants are coming from India, China, and the Philippines. Of the 548,800 net migrants that relocated here over the 12 months, 34 percent settled in New South Wales, 29.5 percent settled in Victoria and 16 percent settled in Queensland.

Western Australia had the fastest population growth rate, up 3.3 percent, followed by Victoria at 2.9 percent, Queensland 2.7 percent, New South Wales 2.3 percent, Australian Capital Territory 2.1 percent and South Australia 1.7 percent. The lowest growth was in Tasmania at 0.3 percent.

Drivers of Western Australia’s highest population growth rate since 2009 include record employment and a booming economy. The state government upgraded its state final demand forecasts for FY24 from 3 percent to 4.5 percent in December.

While the biggest contributor to the state’s population growth is international migration, Professor Amanda Davies, Head of Social Sciences at the University of Western Australia, comments that strong interstate migration is resulting from ‘push’ factors operating in major east coast states, and in particular high costs of living and housing.” Strong buyer demand has pushed the Perth median house price up 18.6 percent, which is the strongest annual rate of growth anywhere in Australia.

The Perth median house price is $718,560, according to CoreLogic. Real Estate Institute of Western Australia CEO Cath Hart commented: “We can expect to see house prices and rents continue to rise, homes to sell and lease quickly, and the rental vacancy rate to remain low for some time yet.

The ABS also tracks interstate migration, which is the movement of Australian residents between states and territories. Over the 12 months to 30 September, Queensland had the highest rate of net interstate migration at 32,625 people, followed by Western Australia with 11,233.

The state that lost the most residents was New South Wales, with a net 33,302 people moving elsewhere and the bulk of them departing Sydney. This net outflow is much higher than other parts of Australia. The second highest loss through interstate migration was in the Northern Territory with 3,606. Victoria lost just 1,119 people. NSW Productivity Commissioner Peter Achterstraat AM recently warned that Sydney is losing many residents aged in their 30s and 40s due to unaffordable property values. He says Sydney “could become known as the city with no grandchildren”.



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Australia’s top 10 most affordable regional property markets investors should watch

Whether you prefer the country or the coast, there are plenty of east coast options for cashed up buyers

By Bronwyn Allen
Fri, Apr 19, 2024 3 min

There are 10 local council areas scattered along the East Coast of Australia that offer both affordability and solid fundamentals for sustainable future growth, according to the research team at residential property network, PRD. The areas have been selected based on five criterion. They are affordability – defined as a median house price below $600,000, rising house values, strong rental yields to encourage investment, a strong pipeline of residential, commercial and infrastructure projects to facilitate local economic development, and low unemployment.

Here are Australia’s 10 most affordable regional property markets with great future potential.

Mackay, QLD

Mackay is a tropical coastal area located in north Queensland. It’s known for its closeconnection to the Great Barrier Reef. The median house price is $462,750, up 8.9 percent in 2023. Mackay attracts a lot of interstate migrants and is home to more than 120,000 people. It has a healthy economy with an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent and $1.7 billion worth of projects due to commence this year.

Toowoomba, QLD

The Toowoomba median house price was up 10.9 percent in 2023.

Toowoomba is located west of Brisbane and is known for its Victorian buildings, street artand surrounding national parks. The median house price is $560,000, up 10.9 percent in 2023. The city has a population of more than 180,000. The unemployment rate is 4 percentand there is $6.1 billion in projects commencing in 2024.

Townsville, QLD

Townsville is a coastal city in north-eastern Queensland. The median house price is $420,000, up 5 percent in 2023. It is home to more than 200,000 people. Unemployment is very low at 2.5 percent and there is $3.2 billion of projects commencing this year.

Dubbo, NSW

Dubbo is located west of Newcastle in the Orana Region and is home to the Western Plains Zoo. The median house price is $530,000, up 11.6 percent in 2023. The population has exploded in recent years to more than 56,000 people. The unemployment rate is just 2.2percent and the economy is thriving. There is a pipeline of $4.7 billion in projects commencing this year.

Tamworth, NSW

Located in north-east NSW, Tamworth is known for its popular annual Country Music Festival. It’s also the largest retail centre for the New England and Northwest Slopes regions. The median house price is $490,000, up 14 percent in 2023. With a population of more than 65,000 people, the economy is strong with unemployment of just 2 percent and $112.4million worth of projects commencing this year.

Griffith, NSW

Located west of Sydney and northwest of Canberra, Griffith is known for its prime produce production and wine cultivation. The median house price is $531,000, up 2.1 percent in 2023. Griffith’s population is about 27,000 people. The city boasts high economic resilience with a 2 percent unemployment rate and $258.7 million in projects in the pipeline.

Ballarat, VIC

Ballarat, Victoria

Ballarat is a 1.5hour drive west of Melbourne. It’s popular with city commuters who move here for housing affordability and a relaxed lifestyle with easy access to the city via train. The median house price is $570,000, down 4.2 percent in 2023 but up 92.9 percent over the past decade. The city has the third highest population in Victoria at about 118,000. Ballarat has an unemployment rate of 3 percent and a total projects pipeline worth $2.3 billion for 2024.

Shepparton, VIC

Shepparton is a rural area about two hours north of Melbourne. It is popularly referred to as the food bowl of Australia. The median house price is $475,000, up 4.4 percent in 2023. The population is about 70,000. The unemployment rate is just 2 percent and there is $1.8 billion in projects for 2024.

Wodonga, VIC

Wodonga is located on the border of NSW on the southern side of the Murray River. It is approximately 320km from Melbourne and 345km from Canberra. The median house price is $567,250, up 4.7 percent in 2023. With a population of about 44,000, the city’s jobless rate is 3 percent and there is $388.2 million in development set to commence in 2024, primarily new infrastructure.

Burnie, TAS

Burnie is a bustling port city located in Emu Bay in Tasmania’s north-west. Overlooking beaches and parklands, the area is known for its rich agriculture and mining projects. The median house price is $435,000, up 3.6 percent. Despite a rising population, the unemployment rate is falling and is currently 5.6 percent. In 2024, Burnie’s project pipeline is valued at approximately $1.6 billion. A significant portion is commercial development, primarily renewable energy projects.

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