26 Nov 2017

Home for a lifetime: The Brisbane suburbs where no one leaves

If you live in Highgate Hill, Wilston or even Carindale, you’re probably not moving anywhere anytime soon.

That’s because residents in those, and other, Brisbane suburbs generally don’t like to move out of their patch – sometimes ever.

And they’re not alone. There are dozens of other suburbs where people stay put for decades, perhaps moving from one street to another, but never out of the postcode.

New Domain Group data has identified the most tightly-held 20 suburbs by distance to the CBD in Brisbane, which showed that lifestyle and school zone matters.

Real Estate Institute of Queensland chairman Rob Honeycombe said the inner-enclave within five kilometres of the city was not only family-friendly but was in desirable school catchment areas.

“They move to an area because it has the things that they need – like schools, access to transport and shopping,” he said.

“In the family-forming stage, they will seek out the area that suits, and if has all of those things that they need, they have to have a very good reason to leave it.”

Honeycombe said the results showed that lifestyle also mattered and once you found what you desired you generally shut up shop, which put upward pressure on prices.

Some people preferred peace and quiet, he said, while others opted for the hustle and bustle of the inner-city.

“We’ve each got things that are hot buttons in terms of lifestyle so for those that want peace and quiet and a bit of open space, they’re the ones who go to Robertson, Chandler and Brookfield,” Honeycombe said.

“But people who want to walk to cafes, galleries and theatres, they’ll the ones who go to Highgate Hill, Wilston and even Chermside West, where you find that people are drawn to an easy walk to cafes, bars and shops. They’re going to seek that out because lifestyle is important to them.”

Top five tightly-held Brisbane suburbs by distance from CBD


Highgate Hill       $983,500

Newmarket        $753,500

The Gap               $665,000

Wilston               $1,550,000

Grange                $905,000




Nathan         NA

Carindale                           $820,000

Stafford Heights               $594,750

Chermside West               $562,500

Keperra                              $543,000


Robertson                           $731,000

Chandler                               NA

Brookfield                           $985,000

Durack                                 $425,000

Middle Park                        $576,250


Camp Mountain                 NA

Wights Mountain               NA

Upper Brookfield               NA

Inala                                      $357,500

Sandgate                              $603,500

Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson said if homebuyers could find a suburb that ticked all the right boxes most would stay for the long-term. Brisbane’s northern suburbs were particular popular with long-haulers, he said.

“Everyone wants to live in the suburb that has the most liveability, the most amenity, and the most infrastructure and facilities close to everything – and has a quality profile in terms of the types of houses in the area,” he said.

“There’s no doubt that the inner north/north-east of Brisbane is a very, very popular area. Those areas are very family-friendly as well, which means you stay there for the long haul.”

But there could be a less auspicious reason for residents living in one place for decades. Both Honeycombe and Wilson believe stamp duty puts people off going anywhere at all, which was not a good thing for supply or for prices. Honeycombe said the removal or reduction of stamp duty would encourage more empty-nesters to move to homes more suited to their current circumstances, which would free up supply for younger families. And Wilson said transaction costs often meant renovating was more popular than selling in these tightly-held suburbs.

“That’s why we see people renovate in these areas as well because it’s better for them to extend or improve their existing property rather than trying to find something in the area – which might be difficult to find and there might not be many properties available because they are so tightly held,” he said.

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