Byron Bay is back as regional prices recover

The pandemic led to the greatest movement of people to regional Australia ever recorded.

Now that people are being called back into the office, and living close to cities is desirable again, that level of migration has declined significantly.

Almost all states saw migration out of regional areas in 2023 but there were two exceptions.

Both regional Queensland and Western Australia are experiencing very high levels of migration inwards.

So much so, that it’s now even higher than it was prior to the pandemic in 2019.

These changing migration levels have had a minimal impact on pricing.

All parts of regional Australia are now seeing price growth.

Regional Western Australia is leading the way, partly from population growth, but also because of investment in mining, strong agricultural conditions, as well as wealth impacts.

A similar dynamic appears to be taking place in regional South Australia.

The growth in regional Queensland appears to be being driven primarily by population growth, particularly to places like the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

When it comes to suburb level price growth, beachside holiday destinations have well and truly recovered from the post-pandemic downturn.

Leading the charge is Byron Bay.

Changes to Airbnb legislation and much higher mortgage repayments are no match for the number of people wanting to live there or have a holiday home.

The median house price in Byron Bay, at $2.2 million, is now the same as Hamilton in Brisbane, Summer Hill in Sydney and Elwood in Melbourne.

In the past 12 months, it has increased by more than $160,000.

With heavy restrictions on building homes in this part of Australia, this growth will continue.

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Nerida Conisbee

Nerida Conisbee is the Chief Economist at Ray White.