New South Welshmen leaving the state in droves, heading to Queensland and Western Australia

Population growth is an important determinant of housing demand – to put it simply, more people generally equates to a larger requirement for new homes.  This week’s RP Data Property Pulse focusses on the broad national population growth figures which were released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics last week. Our blog this week looks at the September quarter population change data in more detail, focusing on the state by state results.

At a national level, population growth is fuelled by two factors: the rate of natural increase (births minus deaths) and overseas migration.  At a state level interstate migration is also a factor in population growth.

On a state-by-state basis population growth has been strongest in absolute terms within Victoria (94,837), Queensland (91,389), New South Wales (86,033) and Western Australia (81,694).  These four states have accounted for 92.5% of total population growth over the 12 months to September 2012.

Interstate migration by state

Across the individual states, only Queensland (12,104), Western Australia (11,091), Victoria (1,296) and the Australian Capital Territory (755) have seen a net gain in population from interstate migrants (ie more residents arrived over the state/terriroty border than left for other states/territories).  Over the year to September 20123, the net number of interstate migrants arriving in Queensland  was at its highest level since the 12 months to December 2009 and Western Australia’s net interstate migration figure was its highest level on record since the time series began in June 1982.  On the other hand, 18,448 more residents left New South Wales than arrived over the year followed by 2,748 net residents leaving Tasmania, 2,541 net residents left South Australia and 1,509 net residents left the Northern Territory

Interste migration Qld, WA, Others

As the above chart shows, the resource states are currently the largest beneficiaries of interstate migrants from other states.  Queensland has always been a significant beneficiary of population growth from other states, particularly New South Wales and Victoria, however, the rise in prominence of Western Australia is a relatively new feature.  This is likely to be a result of the resources sector boom which has occurred in that state over recent years.

Overseas migration

The other side of the equation of course is overseas migration and which states reap the benefits of these new arrivals.   Over the past 12 months, 91.8% of all overseas migrants or 209,403 persons have settled in one of New South Wales (59,432), Victoria (53,996), Western Australia (50,613) and Queensland (45,362).

Overseas migration major state

As the above graph shows, most overseas migrants to Australia have initially settled in either New South Wales or Victoria and based on this you can assume they tend to settle in Sydney or Melbourne.  Given this, the benefits (and costs) of overseas migration are not being felt right across the country but are mainly concentrated in the major population centres of New South Wales, Victoria , Queensland and Western Australia.

Based on all these figures, outside of New South Wales, those states which tend to lose residents to other states (or see a low inflow) also fail to attract a significant proportion of new arrivals to the country.  This has repercussions for the overall economic performance of these states as they lose many of their young and educated to the larger states which arguably have more abundant education and job opportunities.  On the other hand, a number of these states and territories are also failing to attract overseas migrants.  The reason being that these migrants also tend to be more attracted to the areas with better educational facilities and job prospects.  Perhaps some of the smaller states should be looking at ways that they can better attract new migrants to their state, surely factors such as cheaper housing in states like South Australia and Tasmania could be an attractive lure but there must also be the jobs and wages available to both attract and then keep these new settlers.  It may also help to stem the flow of residents that leave these smaller states.

About Cameron Kusher

Cameron Kusher is Head of Research at CoreLogic, specialising in primary and secondary data analysis, property market commentary and consultancy. Cameron has a thorough understanding of the fundamentals such as demographics, trends, economics and spacial analysis and is a regular keynote speaker for property-related groups, regulated industry bodies, corporations and the government sectors. Follow Cameron on Twitter @cmkusher

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5 Responses to New South Welshmen leaving the state in droves, heading to Queensland and Western Australia

  1. Demografix April 5, 2013 at 11:22 am #

    Mmmm…. No, not just natural growth and net migration as the only factors. Perhaps you should mention the 1/3 due to our demographic momentum.

  2. John B. April 7, 2013 at 2:25 am #

    It does not surprise me that the number of coming immigrants is surging in Australia. It has been spelled lately as the best place to currently live in the whole world. Your situation is similar to theCanadian one, where people (and especially immigrants) used to move only to BC and Ontario provinces. Nowadays, we have also Alberta province which attracts new people who come in search of jobs for the mining industry of the tar sands. This is the main pressure, and the rest of the country continues to stay more less the same. This centralization has very negative impact on the housing markets, which are overpriced both in Vancouver and Toronto, with Vancouver housing affordability being 9.5 times higher than average week income (market is considered affordable when affordability is not more than three times higher than the income). I hope you guys will settle this situation without having to pass through the housing bubble.

  3. philip May 2, 2013 at 11:29 am #

    Immigration is good for Australia, but I have found that quite large portion of the immigrants do not improve Australia, Many of them are iliterate or can only write in Arabic, Why the Labour Party of Australia is allowing this to happen is beyond my mind. Why can’t they learn from Singapore where only educated or skilled people are allowed. Do you invite just anybody to enter your home? NO!, Australia is our home.

    • karen May 3, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

      Agree! It’s also cruel to allow the influx of immigrants by illegal means, when Australia is struggling with the present political situation….residents and long term taxpayers are unemployed, homeless and despairing! Uninvited economic refugees mostly are seemingly unable to speak or communicate the English language, cannot find jobs and therefore have idle time on their hands…their beliefs and traditions are unaligned with Australia’s on the whole, they become restless and despairing as well. It’s all too much!

  4. Emanuele May 9, 2013 at 2:31 am #

    We all know the reality … population growth is damaging / has damaged our quality of life… as well as being patently obviously unsustainable.

    Our challenge is maintaining wealth creation in the housing related industries without population growth and even in the face of a reducing populations.

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