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Northern Migration: will the tide turn?

Brisbane and other parts of Queensland experienced an influx of new residents during the pandemic but will the pendulum swing people back ‘down south’?

Did you know Melbourne and Sydney’s populations dropped during the pandemic? 

It’s easy to understand why… it’s crowded in the southern states and we know all too well Melbourne was the most locked down city in the world at the height of COVID. 

The appeal of the Victorian capital and its sister city in NSW have generally been around jobs. However, with people having the luxury of switching to remote work over the last two years, the need to live in these urban hubs dropped away… and the Sunshine State beckoned. 

Over the last two years, annual net interstate migration for the Sunshine State reached its highest level in almost 20 years. While many people relocated to regional areas, Brisbane was also a very popular destination. As a result, house prices jumped by 32% during 2021 alone. The average price is now $856,371. 

While Sydney and Melbourne prices settled during the early part of 2022, Brisbane is holding strong, with the average cost of a dwelling rising by 7.2% for the quarter to March.1

Will the tide turn? 

Life is returning to normal now, so how likely is it those Sydney and Melbourne migrants will return to their previous home base? While it’s impossible to predict the future, our instinct says they won’t. Here’s why: 

  • It’s so liveable here

Brisbane is the 10th most liveable city in the world (sitting ahead of Sydney on the list) thanks to its stability, healthcare, culture and environment, infrastructure and education services. 

Being close to the water and the Gold Coast, and having a thriving culture makes this city the ideal place to live. Anyone who relocated from Melbourne or Sydney and is able to work from home is no doubt appreciating being saved a long commute and using the time to enjoy what Brisbane has to offer. 

Those who don’t work remotely for companies in other states or countries can keep in mind that Brisbane claims the second-highest share of full-time jobs among Australian capital cities (behind Perth). Our beautiful town can boast about full-time employment accounting for 65% of total employment. 

  • Upcoming major events and city upgrades

The next Australian Olympics/Paralympics are only ten years away. It sounds like a while but Sydney’s games in 2000 saw a population explosion and a dramatic increase in house prices. There is also the Airbnb factor, which allows almost any homeowner to welcome paying guests and presents the opportunity to earn some decent cash during the event. 

Anyone who has been in a city during an Olympic event will tell you the atmosphere is second to none. The games are definitely worth hanging around for, particularly if you live somewhere convenient to the action. 

To accommodate the crowds, rail infrastructure is a priority, with nine new train stations and a $450 million interchange next to the Gabba being signed off on. There are also a number of highway upgrades and residential growth areas in the works. The benefits of all these initiatives will outlast the games themselves. 

  •  The forecast is for growth

Even prior to COVID, South East Queensland was earmarked as one of the fastest growing parts of the country. Instead of people leaving, it’s expected that the population of Greater Brisbane will grow from around 2.20 to 3.18 million by 2031.  

Property prices are predicted to keep surging, with the banks saying they will probably grow by between 5 and 10% this year. 

As you can see, Brisbane is the place to be. The good news for property sellers is the high level of interest in quality family dwellings and newer homes. If you’re thinking of relocating, downsizing or rightsizing, now is an excellent time to list your property and take advantage of still-high levels of interest from buyers. 

I hope you enjoy the read.

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