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  • Writer's pictureTracie Harrington

Net migration to the regions has more than doubled

Elevated levels of regional migration have continued throughout the pandemic, according to a new report.

Net migration to the regions has more than doubled compared to the two years prior, while the influx of people from the capital cities to the regions has jumped 15 per cent. The findings from the Regional Movers Index published by the Commonwealth Bank and Regional Australia Institute (RAI) confirmed that regional areas continued to attract Aussies throughout the pandemic despite a slight decline in migration during the December quarter.

“City siders have really embraced Australia’s regions over the past two years and as we see flexible working arrangements continue and Australia’s domestic and international borders opening up, it’s likely we will continue to see this movement as people recognise the benefits of a regional lifestyle,” said CBA executive general manager for regional and agribusiness banking Paul Fowler.

The number of Aussies relocating to regional areas was down 10 per cent compared to the previous quarter due to seasonal effects and high migration seen in earlier quarters. CBA and RAI also pointed to growth in regional prices as having an impact on migration during the latter part of the year.

CoreLogic reported that the median property price in regional Australia soared 26.1 per cent in the year to January 2022 versus the 21.3 per cent growth recorded for the capitals.

For the full year, the Gold Coast was the most popular area for capital city relocators with an 11 per cent share of total regional migration, followed by the Sunshine Coast (5 per cent), Greater Geelong (4 per cent), Wollongong (3 per cent) and Lake Macquarie (2 per cent).

Sydney and Melbourne accounted for a collective 99 per cent of net outflows from capital cities, while the majority of regional net inflows went to regional NSW (50 per cent) and regional Victoria (46 per cent).

“With two years of the index we can now clearly see the impact that COVID has had on people seeking a regional lifestyle. It is particularly exciting that many of the smaller regions showing high rates of growth are inland towns,” said RAI chief economist and acting chief executive Dr Kim Houghton.

“It looks like the pandemic is changing some long-established movement paths, which is a good sign for more balanced population growth across Australia in the future.”


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