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Residents say ‘goodbye’ to capital city suburbs

Long-time residents are moving away from capital city suburbs, with many shifting to regional Australia, according to analysis by buyers’ agency, Propertyology.

A deep dive by the firm into ABS data revealed tens-of-thousands of big city residents are deciding it’s time to move on to areas such as Bendigo, Cairns, Tamworth and Wodonga.

The numbers uncovered 33 regional locations where population growth was outstripping the capitals.

A run from expensive real estate to affordable property is one of the primary reasons for the social shift.

“There’s a pull-and-push force that will see the trend continue,” said Propertyology’s head of research, Simon Pressley.

“Expensive housing, resistance towards overseas migration by some people, and congestion appear to be pushing around 20,000 people per year away from Sydney while a lack of jobs appears to be pushing others away from Perth, Adelaide and Darwin.

“At the same time, greater appreciation for regional lifestyles is pulling others towards wonderful inland and coastal locations outside of capital cities. Housing is very affordable and, contrary to what many think, job  prospects are available.

“Regional Australia’s population increased by 77,740 people over the 2017 financial year. That’s comparable to a city the size of Port Macquarie – Australia’s 29th largest city – in just one year.

“Propertyology has seen first-hand that affordable housing, job growth, and desirable regional lifestyles are a  good combination for property markets. Many regional locations are  performing very well.

“Obviously, it’s a big  decision for one to pack up the household and move but tens of thousands of people did that.”


Capital city internal migration (existing Australian residents relocating away from one jurisdiction to another). In excess of 1,000 residents moved from these city councils in 2016/17:

  • Sydney – Canterbury-Bankstown (3,404), Cumberland (3,281), Randwick (2,984), Georges River-Kogarah (1,969), Inner-west / Leichardt (1,918), Fairfield  (1,814), Parramatta (1,625), Northern Beaches (1,444), Sutherland Shire (1,298), Waverley-Bondi (1,225), Sydney city (1,129), Ryde (1,090),
  • Melbourne – Monash (3,424), Brimbank (2,312), Dandenong (2,311), Whitehorse (1,648), Port Phillip (1,261), Glen Eira (1,203), Kingston (1,005)
  • Adelaide – Port Adelaide Enfield (1,125), Salisbury (1,016)
  • Perth – Stirling (3,148), Canning (2,227), Joondalup (2,183), Gosnells (1,230), Bayswater (1,158)
  • Darwin –  Darwin city council (1,597)

About 37,900 people have migrated away from Sydney over the past two years. Similarly, 10,899 left Perth, 12,669 moved away from Adelaide, and 2,988 departed Darwin according to the data.


2016/17 population growth data: Darwin (0.5 per cent), Adelaide (0.7 per cent), Perth (1 per cent) and Hobart (1.1 per cent) were below the national average of 1.6 per cent.

In alphabetical order, these 33 regional locations had population growth rates that were comparable (or superior) to the four aforementioned capital cities:

Albury, Armidale, Augusta-Margaret River, Ballarat, Ballina, Bass Coast, Bathurst, Baw Baw, Bendigo, Byron, Cairns, East Gippsland, Fraser Coast, Gold Coast, Gold Plains, Griffith, Huon Valley, Lockyer Valley, Lower Eyre Peninsula, Macedon Ranges, Maitland, Mildura, Mount Barker, Port Macquarie, Queanbeyan, Scenic Rim, Shepparton, Sunshine Coast, Surf Coast, Tamworth, Warrnambool, West Tamar, and Wodonga.

As a proportion of total population growth over the 2016/17, the biggest beneficiaries of interstate migration were Tasmania (22.5 per cent) and Queensland (21.9 per cent).

Again, highlighting that the biggest metropolis’ are out of vogue, only 846 of the 17,246 internal migrations to Queensland in 2016/17 chose to relocate to Brisbane (Australia’s largest city council). The lion’s share went to the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay, Cairns, Ipswich and the Scenic Rim, according to the research

In 2016/17, overseas migration contributed 84,684 (out of 101,754 total population growth) to Sydney and 79,747 (out of 123,362 people) to Melbourne.

Findings from this granular analysis of ABS’s latest data is consistent with Propertyology’s own selection criteria for investment locations in major regional locations across Australia.

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