Population shift to regional areas

The Millennial Migration to Regional Areas

The housing market in regional areas is really on its way up. More and more young and location-independent people are spreading out into smaller towns and regional areas. Such as in Orange in central-western New South Wales, they do great coffee there and there are certainly good restaurants, spectacular views and lots of orchards. 

Here’s an image that I have in mind: A millennial in a small town sitting in a hammock, a computer in one hand and a coffee in the other. 

The pandemic has led to an increasing number of people embracing the working from home lifestyle. Technically, they can work from anywhere as long as there is internet so why stay in crowded and expensive cities? People now desire room to roam more than ever and they have more resources to do so than before. They also want to be connected to nature. Even for the conventional workers who don’t have the privilege to move towards digital set-ups, as soon as a job opportunity comes up, they pack their bags and go seek a better life out bush.  

A population shift to the regions

There’s never been more interest in moving to regional areas. In 2020, there’s a net gain of 43,000 people for the regions which is double the figure from the year before (18,900 in 2019). In 2020, regional Queensland had an increase of 17,000 people, regional Victoria grew by 13,400 people and regional NSW by 12,700. 

We genuinely believe that even after the pandemic, many people will continue to move to regional areas where they will work from beach cottages, forest cabins and far less pricey suburban houses outside expensive city centres. 

Is this an overblown prediction? Possibly not. According to a survey of 1000 city dwellers by the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) back in February, one in five Australians is now actively considering moving to a region. Half the respondents will actually take the jump in the next 12 months if afforded the opportunity. 

The demographic that is making this shift are of working age from 25 to 40. And a third of those people are considering lesser-known small towns, not the flash coastal towns with entertainment and great beaches. 

The idea doesn’t seem so far-fetched now, does it?

Big impact on property prices

That could only mean one thing, we will see population scattering across all the regions and stronger performance in the regional markets. 

According to the June 2021 Domain House Price Report, regional Australia had a 12.5% price growth over the past year. In particular, the demand for relocation from cities to country had created a 51% price surge in Byron Bay, a 44.1% leap in Kiama on the NSW South Coast and a 42.7% price lift in the Hepburn area of Victoria. 

“The fact that prices have risen 4.5 per cent in a single quarter shows there’s still a lot of steam left in the regional markets.” said Domain chief of research and economics Nicola Powell. 

In regional Victoria, Hepburn was the area where prices had risen most in the state over the past year to a record median of $760,000. Benalla in the north east saw a 34% year-on-year price rise, Alpine with a 33.7% increase, South Gippsland 32.6% and the Surf Coast 31.6%.

Meanwhile, in regional Queensland, Noosa prices rose 24.4% Gympie was up 20.6%, Douglas 19.5% and the Fraser Coast 19.3%. 

In South Australia, Victor Harbor stands out with a price rise of 22.3%, followed by the Barossa at 15.1%, Adelaide Hills at 12.2% and Alexandrina at 10.1%.

In Western Australia, Broome on the Kimberley coast tops the chart with a 33.6% price rise – a median of $581,000, while Port Hedland rose 25%, Denmark 21% and Mundaring 19.8%.