Murray River in NSW saw a change in growth. Image – Canva
  • New data shows an 11% rise in Australians moving regional
  • With WOFH options more common, and rising house prices in capital cities, moving regional is more realistic
  • Local leaders and business owners in regional areas should prepare for population growth

New data shows a continued surge in Australians moving from capital cities to regional centres.

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) and Regional Australia Institute’s data, released a few days ago, shows an 11% rise in the movement compared with the June 2020 quarter.

According to the Regional Movers Index, “COVID-era migration patterns are underscored by an increasing preference for regional areas.”

Capital-city dwellers are moving to the regions in greater numbers, while regional people are electing to stay in place in greater numbers,” states the report.

Commonwealth Bank’s executive general manager for regional and agribusiness banking, Grant Cairns, said “with house prices rising across the capital cities and flexible work options now more commonplace, the decision to make a lifestyle shift and move to a regional area has become a realistic option.”

RAI’s chief economist, Dr Kim Houghton, added “the Index identifies regional areas which are emerging as desirable destinations for capital city residents, enabling local leaders and business owners to prepare for a burst of population growth.”


With Melbourne having faced more than a total of 200 days in lockdown since the Covid pandemic, it is regional Victorian areas which have seen the biggest spike in population growth.

Victorian local government areas Moorabool, Mansfield, Carangamite, and Alpine topped the index as they experienced the strongest annual growth in inward migration from capitals.

The Index also showed Melbourne’s share of net capital city outflows increase to 47%, up from 39% last year.

New South Wales

Sydney had the highest share of net capital city outflows at 49%, however the rate is lower than the previous year at 56%.

New South Wale’s LGA Murray River also topped the index with a 48% change in growth.

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