Homebuyers are relocating in a ‘race for space’

The trend towards working remotely is set to continue, and the number of Aussies taking advantage of this and snapping up properties in lifestyle locations is heating up.

2020 saw an interesting shift in interstate migration trends in Australia

In recent years the strength in Melbourne’s jobs market had been attracting Australians from interstate and overseas, and in record numbers. But as the protracted lockdowns began to take hold, this internal migration trend went sharply into reverse, with south-east Queensland and Australia’s coastal regions among the primary beneficiaries. 

Remote working is here to stay in Australia, and that homebuyers are relocating accordingly in a ‘race for space’. 

While most permanent migrants to Australia typically head for Sydney and Melbourne, as these cities have the most significant employment opportunities. Australian’s looking to relocate often choose south-east Queensland because of the state’s relative housing affordability, climate, and lifestyle. 

Following a lull through the financial crisis and beyond, interstate migration into Queensland has recently been running at the highest level in a decade-and-a-half, at the most robust pace since the early days of the resources boom.  

The net population inflow into Queensland was more than 30,000 for interstate moves, for the first time since 2005, with coastal lifestyle markets such as the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast becoming increasingly popular.  

Interstate migration in Australia 
Figure 1 – Interstate migration in Australia 

Remote working is here to stay

During 2021 there has been a marked shift towards ‘tree-change’ and coastal or ‘sea change’ markets, with a rush of city buyers moving outwards to compete for a limited supply on in-demand stock.

Surveys conducted via the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate that while many Australians will ultimately return to the capital cities, the trend towards working remotely will likely continue for many more businesses than in the pre-pandemic period.

We’re finding that, for example, tech businesses are now having to offer flexible working arrangements due to the border closures and skills shortages, which is only serving to accelerate the trend.

Figure 2 – Working from home trends (Reserve Bank of Australia)

As buyers get a taste for living in lifestyle locations, many will doubtless choose to stay for the long term.

2021 restrictions and border closures

While life in Australia was close to normal in the first half of 2021, the third quarter of the calendar year brought about lockdowns for more than half of the resident population, making interstate movements impossible for many residents of the two most populous states.

Furthermore, there have been strict rules around the inspection of properties for sale in some states, which have impacted housing market turnover, and transactions have declined sharply, especially in Victoria.

Despite the restrictions, buyers continue to make relocation plans, leading to an upturn in demand for ‘on the ground’ assistance from buyers agents.

Australia has different real estate legislation and terminology across the states and territories, while each market has its nuances and conventions.

To buy successfully in such tight conditions, with so little stock available for sale on the market – about 30 per cent fewer listings than average – buyers need to be well-informed and decisive, with an ability to move quickly when the right opportunity presents itself.

A specialist professional buyers agent can save buyers time, cost, and stress with their search, due diligence, and negotiation skills.

How buyers use an agent for interstate purchases

There are several key steps involved in purchasing a property interstate.

First and foremost, you need to know your likely purchase price and consider the financing accordingly. How much do you want to spend? And how much can you reasonably afford to spend?

Once you have a purchase price in mind, we can assist with market research regarding what type of property you should look to buy and in which suburb.

Only at this stage would we look to engage an expert buyers agent to commence the property search to prepare a shortlist of candidate properties for your consideration.

Given that housing markets have their own legislation and regulation, demographic trends, preferred dwelling types, and infinite nuances, engaging a buyers agent ‘on the ground’ with local knowledge is an advantage in the current market.

Are you looking to move interstate? Then, talk to us to find out how one of our buyers agents can help make the process smoother.