Where will all our new migrants live?
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Where will all our new migrants live?

New data shows overseas interest in Australian property has never been higher

By Bronwyn Allen
Tue, Oct 17, 2023 10:40amGrey Clock 2 min

Australia is in the midst of a migration surge with 715,000 net arrivals expected over the next two years alone, according to government forecasts.

While it is clear that Australia’s labour market is tight and many industries are in desperate need of more skilled workers, the challenge is how are we going to house all these new people?

Migrants’ typical path in terms of housing is to rent first, either close to their employment or in areas where there is an established community of fellow countrymen or family already living there. Property data house CoreLogic estimates it takes about five years for most migrants to buy a home. However, Australia is in the midst of a rental housing crisis, and this may be leading to more migrants buying a home immediately, thereby adding to demand and contributing to the somewhat surprising rate of home price rises this year, despite significantly higher interest rates.

“A significant lift in net overseas migration has run headlong into a lack of housing supply,” says CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless. Given the extraordinarily low rental vacancy rates across Australia today, Mr Lawless said “it’s reasonable to assume more people are fast tracking a purchasing decision simply because they can’t find rental accommodation.”

So, where will all our new migrants go?

New data from property advertising portal realestate.com.au (REA) provides some insight into where migrants are looking for their first home. By analysing page views among overseas site visitors over the past six-month period, REA can reveal which suburbs are capturing the most interest.

It’s worth noting that ‘overseas buyers’ is a broad category representing many different types of property purchasers, and the data does not distinguish between them. Some may be impending new arrivals such as families or international students. Some may be the parents of international students seeking to purchase a home for their child while studying here, and some may be expats researching the market ahead of their return home. The rest may be foreign investors seeking to invest capital. There has been a resurgence in foreign investment in 2023, particularly from China where the local property market is cooling as the economy enters a deflationary period.

REA senior data analyst Karen Dellow says interest in Australian property from overseas has never been higher. According to the data, Melbourne is the most searched location in Australia among overseas visitors to the REA site, followed by the Gold Coast, Brisbane CBD, and Sydney CBD. Also within the top 20 locations are Perth CBD and its inner suburbs, the Queensland Sunshine Coast, Adelaide CBD, and the premium Melbourne suburbs of Brighton, South Yarra, and Camberwell.

Historically, the top two locations for new arrivals have long been Melbourne and Sydney, but the data implies that Queensland is gaining more attention. Half the locations in the top 20 suburbs are in Melbourne and 25% are in Queensland.

The data also shows the suburbs gaining increasing interest from overseas buyers. Ms Dellow said searches for properties in Brunswick East, in inner Melbourne, have increased by 60%, closely followed by Carlton North. “Both suburbs have seen significant development in the past few years and are close to the University of Melbourne and the CBD,” Ms Dellow said. “Searches for Ashgrove in inner Brisbane have increased by 45%, and the Sunshine Coast’s Mooloolaba; and Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast, have also become more popular.”


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Wild cities and concrete corridors: How AI is reimagining the landscape

A new AI-driven account by leading landscape architect Jon Hazelwood pushes the boundaries on the role of ‘complex nature’ in the future of our cities

By Robyn Willis
Wed, Dec 6, 2023 2 min

Drifts of ground cover plants and wildflowers along the steps of the Sydney Opera House, traffic obscured by meadow-like planting and kangaroos pausing on city streets.

This is the way our cities could be, as imagined by landscape architect Jon Hazelwood, principal at multi-disciplinary architectural firm Hassell. He has been exploring the possibilities of rewilding urban spaces using AI for his Instagram account, Naturopolis_ai with visually arresting outcomes.

“It took me a few weeks to get interesting results,” he said. “I really like the ephemeral nature of the images — you will never see it again and none of those plants are real. 

“The AI engine makes an approximation of a grevillea.”

Hazelwood chose some of the most iconic locations in Australia, including the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, as well as international cities such as Paris and London, to demonstrate the impact of untamed green spaces on streetscapes, plazas and public space.

He said he hopes to provoke a conversation about the artificial separation between our cities and the broader environment, exploring ways to break down the barriers and promote biodiversity.

“A lot of the planning (for public spaces) is very limited,” Hazelwood said. “There are 110,000 species of plants in Australia and we probably use about 12 in our (public) planting schemes. 

“Often it’s for practical reasons because they’re tough and drought tolerant — but it’s not the whole story.”

Hazelwood pointed to the work of UK landscape architect Prof Nigel Dunnett, who has championed wild garden design in urban spaces. He has drawn interest in recent years for his work transforming the brutalist apartment block at the Barbican in London into a meadow-like environment with diverse plantings of grasses and perennials.

Hazelwood said it is this kind of ‘complex nature’ that is required for cities to thrive into the future, but it can be hard to convince planners and developers of the benefits.

“We have been doing a lot of work on how we get complex nature because complexity of species drives biodiversity,” he said. 

“But when we try to propose the space the questions are: how are we going to maintain it? Where is the lawn?

“A lot of our work is demonstrating you can get those things and still provide a complex environment.” 

At the moment, Hassell together with the University of Melbourne is trialling options at the Hills Showground Metro Station in Sydney, where the remaining ground level planting has been replaced with more than 100 different species of plants and flowers to encourage diversity without the need for regular maintenance. But more needs to be done, Hazelwood said.

“It needs bottom-up change,” he said. ““There is work being done at government level around nature positive cities, but equally there needs to be changes in the range of plants that nurseries grow, and in the way our city landscapes are maintained and managed.”

And there’s no AI option for that. 


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