Get out of town: Aussies vote with their feet and dump city living

A wave of migration from Australia’s cities is underway sea as data shows stronger rental markets in near-city locations and in regional centres.

Jul 30, 2020, updated Jul 30, 2020
 (Photo: ABC)

(Photo: ABC)

SQM Research chief executive Louis Christopher said there had been an unprecedented and sudden shift towards regional living.

“No doubt this has been triggered by the coronavirus and the discovery that working remotely is now very achievable for many businesses, especially white-collar services,” he said.

While he expected a slight reversal the trend appeared to be permanent.

SQM is predicting a 30 per cent house price decline in Sydney and Melbourne markets, but less in Brisbane. Auction rates have also plummeted. SQM data showed that on the weekend of July 26 there were 78 auctions in Brisbane, five were sold at auction, two before auction and one afterwards. The rest were readvertised.

He said vacancy rates in the Beenleigh Corridor, between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, had fallen from 3.2 per cent in December to 1.4 per cent in June. There had been a bigger fall in the vacancy rates of Queensland’s central coast and north of Brisbane.

Similar rates were occurring in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula and the Central Coast region and Blue Mountains in NSW.

“I cannot find one (area0 in regional Australia that isn’t recording the same pattern,” Christopher said.

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“I think for employees and businesses alike there have been benefits unlocked that will encourage many to keep the current state of working affairs going well after coronavirus.”

He said the main reasons for this was the affordability of regional housing while business had the immediate benefit of lower rental costs.

“If there is a more permanent shift to regional living, there will be employment opportunities, especially in regional centres.

“Australia has long suffered from its economy being anchored to its largest capital cities. Any diversification to the regional centres could very well be a good thing, long term, for this country.”

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