Where are Interstate Migrants Actually Going?


Australians leaving major cities are seemingly staying loyal to state borders in their search for more affordable housing.

Sydneysiders tend to leave the capital for nearby regional centres like Newcastle and Illawarra while former Melbourne residents preference regional areas within Victoria like Gippsland and Geelong.

According to the latest regional population and migration data for 2016-17 released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, six of the top 10 regions migrated to by former Sydney residents were within New South Wales, seven of the top 10 regions chosen by former Melbourne residents were in Victoria and seven of the top 10 regions preferred by former Brisbane residents were located within Queensland.

“Overall, a significant number of those people that moved away from a capital city over the past financial year moved to an area adjacent to the capital city,” CoreLogic research analyst Cameron Kusher said.

“Some of these are coastal and lifestyle markets while also being locations where housing is more affordable.

“There are multiple reasons why we’re seeing more people move to new locations, however, it’s generally for more affordable housing or because they’re looking for a sea change or tree change.”

Related reading: Incentives for Developers Could Help Create More Affordable Housing

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For people migrating from Sydney, the most popular destinations were those directly adjacent to the city such as Newcastle and Lake Macquarie and Illawarra which represented 5,502 and 5,301 arrivals respectively. The Australian Capital Territory and Gold Coast also recorded more than 5,000 new residents arriving from Sydney over the past year.

In Victoria, Latrobe-Gippsland at 7,259 and Geelong at 6,894 arrivals attracted the greatest number of former Melbourne residents over the past year.

Queensland’s migration data revealed the Gold and Sunshine Coasts recorded a much greater number of arrivals from Brisbane than any of the other regions on the list.

The data also suggested that those migrating away from Brisbane to other areas of Queensland tend to remain in the southern areas of the state. The three regions of top migration from Brisbane that weren’t within the state are Melbourne-Inner, Richmond-Tweed and the ACT.

Of Australia’s capital cities, Canberra residents showed the most willingness to venture further than ACT.

“Residents of Canberra that leave don’t have the option to move elsewhere within the territory however, a substantial number of them move to the Capital Region located adjacent in NSW,” Kusher said.

“Seven of the 10 most popular regions for people from Canberra to migrate to areas in NSW and six of them are in Sydney. Elsewhere in the top 10 Canberrans have migrated to two regions of Melbourne and the Gold Coast.”

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