The Covid mass exodus  

 

Here we are again

 

Covid lockdowns feel a lot like groundhog-day for Melbournians. Trapped in a time loop forcing them to relive anxiety, frustration and restrictions repeatedly. The lockdowns have however led a lot of Melbournians to consider escaping Melbourne and indeed Victoria.

 

A study conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed several interesting findings, including:

 

  • 15% of all moves between January and June 2020 were forced by the pandemic;
  • 37% of people moving due to COVID moved because they couldn’t afford to live where they were living and
  • the top destination state by the number of overall move-ins was Queensland;

 

The pandemic has clearly had an impact on Melbourne migration as Melbourne had a higher rate of Covid spread and saw the biggest net losses of population. Also, people have realised they can stay at home to work – manifesting in regional migration.

 

According to ABS demographer Andrew Howe, greater Melbourne had a net loss of 26,000 people in 2020. He states that “in 2019, that was basically zero and in 2018 more people moved into Melbourne than moved out. The 26,000 net loss over 2020, is the highest net loss for Melbourne on record.” Further, the demographer said Sydney also lost about 30,000 people in net terms, but that was on par with recent decades. Melbourne was substantially different in 2020, whereas, other capitals, not so different,” he said. He said roughly half of that outflow of people from Melbourne went to other parts of Victoria and the others went interstate. In 2020 Melbourne’s large net loss meant regional Victoria actually gained around 13,000 people over the 2020 calendar year.”

 

Let’s go to Queensland

 

Melbournians have collectively chosen Qld as the state to go to with a net gain of 30,000 people in 2020. The next closest was Western Australia with 1,385. Mr Andrew Howe said it was the highest net gain of internal migrants for Queensland in more than a decade.

 

For real estate, we are yet to see the impact.  However, it fair to say it is unlikely beneficial. Qld property prices have soared because of the newly increased demand. Inversely the reactive decisions in Victoria to Covid have made Melbourne a less desirable destination.

 

Several considerations are made moving state. The weather seems to be top of the list but the price of housing is arguably number two. With great weather and reasonably priced property QLD ticks both boxes. Family and work are also high on the list and ironically covid has facilitated regional migration.

 

Numbers don’t lie

Interstate migration
  December 2019 quarter September 2020 quarter December 2020 quarter
       
Arrivals Departures Net  Arrivals Departures Net Arrivals Departures Net
NSW 25,753 32,536      -6,783   18,971 23,081 -4,110 25,356 30,624 -5,268
Vic. 23,905 21,240 2,665 13,371 17,120 -3,749 18,462 24,998 -6,536
Qld 29,830 22,970 6,860 22,317 15,080 7,237 30,406 20,643 9,763
SA 6,808 7,863 -1,055 5,221 5,144 77 7,083 6,949 134
WA 8,583 9,596 -1,013 6,532 5,901 631 8,947 7,742 1,205
Tas. 3,809 3,419 390 2,635 2,455 180 3,841 3,542 299
NT 3,874 4,987 -1,113 3,031 3,162 -131 4,104 4,400 -296
ACT 6,063 6,014 49 4,127 4,262 -135 6,552 5,853 699
Total 108,625 108,625 76,205 76,205 104,751 104,751

https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/regional-internal-migration-estimates-provisional/latest-release

 

  
 
  December 2019 quarter September 2020 quarter December 2020 quarter
       
Arrivals Departures Net Arrivals  Departures   Net   Arrivals Departures Net
Sydney 19,962 27,994 -8,032 14,634    22,416 -7,782 19,357 28,674 -9,317
Melbourne 24,982 24,621 361 14,405    21,850 -7,445 19,921 28,412 -8,491
Brisbane 25,648 20,912 4,736 18,743    15,528 3,215 25,318 20,548 4,770
Adelaide 8,024 8,823 -799 5,827      6,161 -334 7,869 8,116 -247
Perth 12,067 11,603 464 9,167      7,779 1,388 11,865 10,071 1,794
Hobart 2,174 2,279 -105 1,555      1,717 -162 2,234 2,326 -92
Darwin 3,245 3,766 -521 2,488      2,480 8 3,652 3,393 259
Canberra 6,063 6,014 49 4,127      4,262 -135 6,552 5,853 699
Total 58,255 62,102 -3,847 41,840    53,087 -11,247 55,374 65,999 -10,625

https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/regional-internal-migration-estimates-provisional/latest-release

 

10 benefits of living in Queensland

 

Covid has also highlighted what people consider important in housing. Major considerations are:

  • a stable economy;
  • affordable housing;
  • the world-class education system and advanced health services;
  • the modern infrastructure of roads and public transport;
  • a safe place for you and your family to live;
  • perfect beaches, national parks, and the ‘outback’;
  • a subtropical and tropical climate and
  • a vibrant cosmopolitan, arts and cultural scene that Melbournians are very aligned with.

Time will tell us how this migration will affect Victoria, but Victoria’s loss is seemingly QLD’s gain -for now.