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QUEENSLAND has overtaken Victoria to become the nation’s interstate migration capital, with new-found economic optimism and a resilient housing market luring an influx of southerners north.
The latest population figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal the sunshine state was the most popular destination for people moving from other states in the 12 months to the end of March.
Queensland recorded a net interstate migration gain of 24,000 people during the period, with the population increasing overall by 1.7 per cent or 83,300 to 4.9 million.
Victoria was the next most popular among interstate movers, with a net gain of 15,100.
ABS demography director Anthony Grubb said it was the first time in four years that Queensland had overtaken Victoria in terms of net interstate movement.
“Before that, Queensland was the biggest gainer for 20 years, excepting a brief period in 2011 when Western Australia overtook it,” Mr Grubb said.
“The most common move between states was from New South Wales to Queensland with 52,000 people making the move north.
“The next most common move was in the opposite direction with 36,900 people moving from Queensland to New South Wales.”
Experts say Queensland’s improving economy, standard of living and relatively affordable housing market are driving the surge in interstate migration.
“I think what’s happened is that with house prices in NSW becoming unaffordable for many at a time where southeast Queensland markets haven’t moved much, people are starting to think there’s better value in Queensland,” AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said.
“People in Sydney are saying it’s too crowded, too expensive and they’re looking elsewhere — and Queensland has benefited from that.”
Mr Oliver said employment in the state had increased by 1.9 per cent in the past 12 months, which meant there were more jobs available.
“The Queensland economy had been held back by the end of mining investment boom but that drag is starting to fade,” he said.
SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher agrees.
“There are more southerners moving from Sydney and Melbourne to southeast Queensland to take advantage of the standard of living and better housing affordability — both on the buyer front and the rental front,” Mr Christopher said.
“Why this is happening now, as opposed to five years ago, is because job creation has increased in the Brisbane and the southeast Queensland economy.”
Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said many homeowners in Melbourne and Sydney were recognising the value in the Brisbane property market and seeing it as a good time to buy.
“Brisbane has been fairly flat over the last few years and we know the economy is doing better and there has been a return in mining and engineering roles, so it’s quite different to what we’re seeing in Sydney and Melbourne, where it makes sense for people to hold out until things calm down,” Ms Conisbee said.
“Brisbane is now looking more positive than last year, so if you are looking to get into the market, I think now is a good time.”
Australia’s population grew by 380,700 in the 12 month period to 24.9 million, with 62 per cent of the growth attributed to net overseas migration.
Originally published as Queensland the nation’s biggest drawcard