Regional Australia migration trend appears to be slowing down.
Queensland is attracting the most amount of migration. Image: Canva.
  • Queensland is seeing the strongest levels of regional migration.
  • South Australia went from losing people from regional areas to being a net attractor.
  • Many of the attractive regions are rich agricultural and mining regions.

The trend of regional migration appears to have slowed down – except in Queensland and South Australia, according to a Ray White report.

“While regional Victoria and NSW saw fewer people making the move post-pandemic compared to before, the opposite was true in regional Queensland and South Australia,” said Ray White chief economist, Nerida Conisbee.

“Queensland is now seeing particularly strong levels of regional migration, dominating total regional migration across Australia.

“Although a comparatively smaller number, regional South Australia has moved from losing people in regional areas to being a net attractor.”

Migration to regional areas, pre and post pandemic

Regional migration remains a lot higher than pre-pandemic but is driven primarily by growth in regional QLD
Source: ABS, Ray White.

RMI’s findings

The Regional Movers Index June 2023 Quarter Report found a 10.8% dip in people moving from capital cities to regions, which is on par with pre-pandemic levels.

The report similarly found regional Queensland recorded the lion’s share of movers, with the Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast, Toowoomba and Bundaberg among the top five.

Top five LGAs by share of net capital-regional migration in 12 months to June 2023

Top five LGAs
Source: Regional Movers Index

The RMI noted the five pull factors to regional areas that significantly grew in value from 2020 to 2023 were:

  • A sense of space (82% in 2023 compared to 77% in 2020).
  • Overall improved wellbeing (80% in 2023 compared to 75% in 2020).
  • Affordability (78% in 2023 compared to 73% in 2020).
  • Having more time for yourself (74% in 2023 compared to 67% in 2020).
  • Gaining time in the day (72% in 2023 compared to 66% in 2020).

Moreover, the more job flexibility, the more interest there seemed to be in migrating to a regional area, with almost three in four saying that the ability to work from home has increased their interest in moving to the regions.

Not to be discounted are the cost of living concerns, which, according to RMI, rose sharply from 2020 at 64% to 79% in 2023.

Although not commensurate with the rise of that particular concern, net dissatisfaction with city life has incrementally increased over the past three years, from 10% to 14%.

Why Queensland and South Australia?

The regions topping the migration list post-pandemic, many of which are in Queensland and South Australia, are rich agricultural or mining areas and are not regarded as holiday destinations, according to Conisbee.

“This shows that the regional movement that is now occurring is a little bit about people wanting to make a sea or tree change, but more so about strong performing economic growth areas,” she said.

Topping the list is the Darling Downs – Maranoa region, directly west of Brisbane. Coming in second is the Barossa-Yorke-Mid North region, east of Adelaide.

Top regional growth areas, pre and post pandemic

Top regional growth areas, pre and post pandemic
Pre-pandemic is from December 2018 to December 2019. Post Pandemic is from July 2022 to July 2023. Source: Neoval, Ray White.

You May Also Like

Melbourne property market sees mom and dad builders flock to outer suburbs for the best bang for buck

The cost of building a house in these top 20 suburbs started at $272,944 and topped out at $387,688.

Australian rental market clocks in a near-40% price growth, while wages struggle to keep up

Rents soared by almost 40% across the pandemic, while wages barely clocked in 20% growth.

Gender gap closes? Women outpace men in overall property ownership

Challenges persist for younger women in achieving homeownership, highlighting the need for targeted solutions.

Exclusive: Top five regional New South Wales housing markets revealed, the affordable alternatives to Sydney

Hotspotting has exclusively revealed to TPT New South Wales housing market’s five best regional hotspots for homebuyers and investors.

Top Articles

PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Australia) returns for its 7th edition, including several brand new award ...

This year's awards include several brand new categories, with entries closing 2 August 2024.

Housing crisis survival guide: How to buy your first Australian property

Three property experts give the low down on how to nab a home in this tough housing market.

Strata properties as investments: All you need to know about investing in a Perth unit

As the cost of renting approaches the cost of a mortgage, more people are investing in units to escape the rental trap.