One-quarter of all inbound major metro moving inquiries during May were targeted at the Victorian capital, marking its 15th consecutive month Melbourne has remained the most popular capital city for internal movement.
A large portion of Melbourne’s newest residents hail from Sydney, followed by Brisbane and Perth.
However, despite this growth, James Morrell, Muval chief executive officer, revealed the city’s net migration remains negative. “It’s currently at -15 per cent and was last in positive territory before the pandemic when it sat at 3 per cent in January 2020,” he said.
A primary contributor to this negative net migration is Melbourne accounting for the second-most outbound traffic across Australia (26 per cent), ranking only behind Sydney. However, in positive news, this is the lowest the portion of outbounds has been since February 2020.
Trailing Melbourne as the most popular destination for internal Australian movers is Brisbane, with the Queensland capital accounting for 22 per cent of all inbound movement. But Mr Morrell revealed rising inbounds have been counteracted by a record number of residents escaping the city — with 19 per cent of all national outbound movement enquiries coming from Brisbane.
“[Brisbane] is also losing residents to Melbourne [and] Perth,” he said, adding the removalist booking platform “is seeing growth in regional outbound requests to towns such as the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Rockhampton, and Toowoomba.”
He speculates one such reason for this could be the rental crisis gripping the state, with the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) indicating a healthy rental market is “worlds away”.
Casting a wider net to other pockets of Queensland, the Gold Coast is experiencing declining interest, with inbound inquiries down 16 per cent between January and May 2023 when compared to the same time last year.
On the golden Sunshine Coast, net migration is hovering above 100 per cent, with interest in the region exceeding the push for departure.
Mr Morrell explained an interesting trend has begun whereby residents from Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart, and Geelong are showing increased interest in the area. This interest adds to that of Brisbane and Melbourne, which has remained constant over some time.
Further north, Cairns is haemorrhaging residents, with outbound moving inquiries up 50 per cent in the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Many of those hunting an escape from Cairns desire a metropolitan move to either Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, or Adelaide.
“Looking into our removalist’s crystal ball, there is an unusually high churn coming out of Townsville as waves of people move in and out,” Mr Morrell said.
“Residents from Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane are moving in, and those leaving Townsville are heading to Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, and Launceston. Meanwhile, Toowoomba, Bundaberg, and Rockhampton have all been experiencing sustained positive net migration, with traffic flowing from Brisbane into regional towns.”
According to Muval, Sydney’s stance as the nation’s most liveable city took a major hit in May, with just 17 per cent of all national inbound inquiries directed at the harbour city as the cost of living and housing crises divert prospective residents into cheaper corners of Australia.
Further ratifying this is the 32 per cent of all national outflows departing Sydney, with most heading towards typically cheaper markets such as Melbourne, Perth, and Brisbane.
Bucking the trend unfolding in the national capital is Byron Bay, with moving inquiries for the popular tourist hotspot up 46 per cent to start this year when compared to the same period last year. More residents arriving in the shire might spell bad news for the region, which is battling a severe shortage of long-term accommodation at present.
Similarly, Mr Morrell said Muval’s data points to another regional NSW city attracting increased interest.
“We might be seeing signs that Newcastle is on the cusp of becoming a hot property market, with interest to move into the city up 90 per cent in the first half (January to May) of the year compared to the same time last year,” he said.
“It has been a market on the move for several years but of late there has been major interest from Sydneysiders wanting to move in, as well as increased activity from Hobart,” he added.
Elsewhere in the country, Perth’s positive net migration is the strongest in the country, even if this figure slipped to +86 per cent in May, as the portion of new Perth residents arriving to the West Australian capital to escape rising living costs on the eastern seaboard increases.
“While Perth remains in third place behind Melbourne and Brisbane as the most popular city to move to, the Western Australian capital’s outbound percentage was only 8 per cent in May, hammering home that more people are moving in than out, which may lead to a tightening of the housing market,” Mr Morrell.
On the opposite end of the movement spectrum, Muval’s data indicates Adelaide is in its 10th month of negative net migration.