Back to Research Insights >> Migration: Where Did All The Good People Go?

As a research analyst it can be easy to get bogged down in daily data analysis, so it is important to continue paying attention to what’s happening in the real world. However, after noticing my local friend-group shrinking since the most recent Sydney property boom that began in 2012, I was prompted to revisit the trends we were anticipating in years past related to lifestyle and affordability in our major east coast capitals.

So what has happened over the past half decade?

Four prime ministers

Since 2012, Australia has had Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull in our top office. Talk about political volatility!

Sydney prices

The median house price of Greater Sydney went from $533,000 to $1 million. Houses were therefore earning more in growth each year than the average Sydneysider was in their nine-to-five jobs. Actually, a lot more!

So where is everyone going?

Since the upturn of Sydney property prices there has been a noticeable shift in net interstate migration to Victoria, that is the net number of Australians moving to Victoria each year versus those leaving. In fact, a whopping eleven thousand more people moved to Victoria in 2015 than they did in 2012. That’s more than thirty extra people each day!

Queensland is also following a similar trend, reporting record numbers of net interstate migration since the sunshine state’s slowing of population growth at the end of the resources boom.

Who is moving?


Thirty to thirty-four year olds are recording a strong increase in movement: there were over 22 per cent more of them in Greater Melbourne between the 2011 and 2016 censuses. In Brisbane, that figure was close to 17 per cent.

Why are they moving?

An apartment in the trendy inner-city suburbs of Melbourne is priced similarly (per square metre) to that of Parramatta, 45 minutes from the Sydney CBD. Brisbane is even more affordable than that. Additionally, highly sought-after suburbs in Brisbane are typically half the cost of their Sydney equivalents in the rental market.

With strong employment opportunities in both Melbourne and Brisbane, as well as a boom in urban culture, the wannabe homeowners and inner-city renters of Gen Y are seeking out Sydney alternatives in droves. Sydney is losing some of its best talent!

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