Back to Research Insights >> Queensland’s Net Interstate Migration a Key for the Property Market


Capital growth can be simply understood by first understanding supply and demand. Demand coming from population growth and supply coming from the amount of properties available. When demand outweighs supply, buyers become more willing to purchase a property for a higher price – leading to the capital growth of an asset.

This is partly why Sydney has performed so strongly over the last cycle. Since the 2011 census the harbor city’s population has grown rapidly.  The city added a net figure of over 300,000 residents since the beginning of the boom period. With an average dwelling size of 2.6 people per household, the city required over 115,000 new dwellings to keep up with the need for housing.

But of course, what goes up must come down and the natural recourse for growth is a period of correction and stagnation. While this is true for capital growth, it can also be true for the flow of populations. Queensland has historically been a regular benefactor of Sydney’s correctional periods. As Sydney begins to slow down, Brisbane is regularly the first in line to profit. Depicted in the below, not only does this occur in property growth but in population growth as well.

Net Interstate Migration (Source: ABS)

The striking element of this chart is the negative correlation between NSW and QLD population movements, the two mirror each other almost perfectly. What this depicts is when the NSW market has residents leaving the state, they are migrating immediately north to Queensland who absorb the them as new inhabitants.

This is a concept that we call “Moving Day”, and it is the result of Sydney siders selling their principle place of residence after the property market experiences a growth cycle. They cash in their properties, move north and live a more appealing lifestyle without a mortgage hanging over their heads. Obviously, this effect has a significant impact on the Brisbane Property market. With the higher level of population growth, comes stronger demand for property – leading to growth.

Sydney vs Brisbane Capital Growth (Source: ABS)

This is a predictable cycle that we aim to help our clients leverage off. We are excited about Brisbane’s future over the medium term as it shapes up to benefit again from Sydney’s slowdown. Over the last 12-month period, Sydney’s median house prices has receded 2.6%, which will likely cause many home owners to opt for selling their home and head to the Sunshine state. With an infrastructure pipeline of $21 billion and low levels of oncoming supply, the immediate future for the Brisbane market looks promising.

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