Bernard Salt
Bernard Salt speaking in Canberra last week. Image supplied.
  • The fastest-growing age group in next few years will be the 30s to 40s
  • A surge of these ‘VESPA’s will leave the cities for the regions, argues Bernard Salt
  • VESPA stands for ‘virus escapees seeking provincial Australia’

Demographer Bernard Salt says real estate agents should be optimistic about Australia’s prospects as the country’s economy recovers from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

As a nation of nearly 26 million people in charge of the resources of an entire continent (Asia), he believes that equation alone makes us a fortunate people.

Mr Salt made the comments while addressing some 550 real estate agents attending First National Real Estate’s convention in Canberra last week.

“The coming of coronavirus has presented a great opportunity for many Australians to re-think their lives; are they in the right job, the right relationship, are they in the right city, are they in the right housing?”

Bernard Salt AM

“With the opportunity now to work from home, many people have been encouraged to come out of the fashionable inner-city, hipster apartments and to look at three and four-bedroom, two-bathroom plus a ‘zoom room’ home in the suburbs with a garden, or in fact, to move beyond the capital city to regional cities, within striking distance of the major capital city in each community.”


Mr Salt refers to people who are fleeing the cities as VESPAs – ‘virus escapees seeking provincial Australia’.

“They’re scootering out of our capital cities in search of their very own ’Bonnie Doon escape’ and retreat. You can see it occurring in Victoria and New South Wales, and to some extent in Queensland as well… these are very big trends that are certainly shaping the demand for property going forward’.

Over the next five years, the fastest-growing age group in Australia is people who are in their late thirties and early forties, according to the demographer.

‘These are the children of the baby boomers; the echo of the baby boom. They are coming out of their apartments and buying homes. So, there is a mini-boom being driven by demographics as well as by the coming of the coronavirus.

“This is why I am so confident about the next five years. The property market is not just recovering from the coronavirus, it is being driven by the demographic surge of millennials upgrading their demands for property.”

Mr Salt says that while we do need to focus on issues of security, he trusts that the right people are making those decisions and, assuming the geopolitical settings hold steady, then there is every reason for Australians to be optimistic and confident about the future.

“Because we have navigated the Coronavirus so well, there will be entrepreneurs and businesses, immigrants with skills, and students and visitors who want to be part of Australia. That’s going to drive a lot of energy into the Australian market around the middle of the decade,” he said.

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