New data has found that more young people are moving from Australia’s cities to its regions, almost literally in search of greener pastures. So what support is available for Australians looking for a tree change?
Regional migration hits five-year high
The new data from the Commonwealth Bank and the Regional Australia Institute’s Regional Movers Index shows that the number of people moving to regional areas rose by 16.6 per cent to reach a new five-year high in the March quarter, almost doubling pre-pandemic levels.
Millennials and Gen-Xers reportedly accounted for the largest proportion of movers to the highest growth regional areas.
Regional Australia Institute (RAI) CEO, Liz Ritchie, said that “regional living is attracting more young people and particularly younger families who are looking for bigger living spaces at a cheaper cost.”
Commonwealth Bank regional and agribusiness banking executive general manager, Paul Fowler, added that regional areas are providing attractive local employment opportunities:
“There are labour shortages in many parts of regional Australia and local businesses are attracting skilled and unskilled workers to increase capacity and serve growing demand for products and services.”
Where are young people moving?
Overall, the most popular migration destination proved to be the Gold Coast in Queensland, attracting 11 per cent of people from major capitals in the 12 months to March 2022. The next most popular destinations were Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Greater Geelong in Victoria, and Wollongong and Newcastle in New South Wales.
South Australia also proved to be a popular destination for regional migration, with the top three local government areas with the biggest growth rates in the 12 months to March 2022 being Ceduna (114 per cent), Mount Gambier (85 per cent) and Port Augusta (74 per cent). Millennials accounted for the highest proportion of regional movers, making up 76 per cent of movers to Port Augusta, 70 per cent of movers to Mount Gambier and 66 per cent of movers to Ceduna.
Elsewhere, Moorabool in Victoria and Western Downs in Queensland experienced growth rates of 56 per cent each. While Millennials made up the biggest proportion of people moving to Moorabool (52 per cent), it also attracted a relatively high proportion of Gen-Xers at 24 per cent. Western Downs attracted a relatively large share of Gen Alpha and Z, comprising 19 per cent, as well as Baby Boomers, who made up 12 per cent of total movers.
Where can you buy, and what support can you get when purchasing?
The general trend of Australians moving from the capital cities to the regions has been apparent for the past few years. Earlier this year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found that Australians seeking sea and tree changes during the peak of the pandemic in 2020-21 resulted in regional populations growing more than capital cities for the first time since 1981. CoreLogic also found that regional property values grew almost 40 per cent since March 2020, reflecting the greater demand for regional property.
It's important to do your research when considering purchasing any property, especially if you’re considering moving to a new area. For example, you may not only want to look at the area’s average property values, but also its potential for future growth and development when you’re looking for regions offering affordable house prices. And of course, you’ll also want to consider your own financial situation, including your income and expenses, and compare home loans.
Depending on your financial situation, you may be able to qualify for additional support when relocating to the regions. For example, the First Home Guarantee (FHBG) and the Family Home Guarantee (FHG) allow eligible borrowers to purchase property with a low deposit and pay no Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI).
Additionally, the Labor government promised during its election campaign to introduce an expanded Help To Buy scheme, as well as a Regional First Home Buyer Support Scheme, set to start in January 2023.