The spike of Covid-19 cases in Melbourne in mid 2020 has seen residents exiting the city like Americans exited Dodge City in the late 1800s when the town was getting shot up by restless cowboys. Hence the phrase “Let’s get the hell out of Dodge”. Whilst Melbourne might usually see around 1,000 people leave the city each quarter, almost 8,000 people (net) left Greater Melbourne in the June Quarter of 2020, and a further 7,445 people left in September 2020.
Whilst Melbourne has seen the greatest exodus, Sydney has also seen a jump in residents exiting from its usual 6,200 persons to around 7,800 persons departing the city in the September Quarter 2020.
The beneficiaries of these mass exits have been the safe havens of regional Queensland (+2,239 persons), regional New South Wales (+2,066), and Greater Perth(+1,223), all experiencing notable jumps in their usual internal migration figures.
Insights from the Queensland development industry indicate that the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, and Townsville have all been benefiting from the exodus of people from Melbourne and Sydney. This situation is likely to continue to be very fluid over the next six to 12 months as the health and economic situations in Australia’s cities and regions begin to settle down.
Substantial fluctuations in population growth from the massive reduction in overseas migration will continue to flow impact overall population growth, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne. We are also likely to continue to see the flight to safe havens like Queensland and Perth continue.
2020 was a year that brought many twists and turns, and while there are still many challenges ahead for our economy and our property markets, despite periodic virus outbreaks around the country continuing early this year, confidence is rebounding and economic activity is starting to rise. A rapid and widespread vaccine roll out will be crucial to maintaining this momentum in 2021, and everything will flow from here.
For more economic insight into Australia’s housing and property market, please contact our specialist directly.