The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data shows that during the year to March 2023, New South Wales and Victoria both had net internal migration deficits (more Australians left those states than moved to them), while Queensland had a net internal migration surplus:

  • New South Wales had a net internal migration deficit of 30,213 people (with 87,279 Australians arriving and 117,492 departing)
  • Victoria had a net internal migration deficit of 5,644 people (with 74,094 Australians arriving and 79,738 departing)
  • Queensland had a net internal migration surplus of 31,070 people (with 108,664 Australians arriving and 77,594 departing)

Queensland’s population grew by 124,200 during the same period, which meant net internal migration – some of which would have come from New South Wales and Victoria – was responsible for 25% of that growth.

I’m getting several calls per week from people based in Sydney and Melbourne who are thinking of moving to Brisbane. When I ask why, the biggest reason is affordability because Brisbane’s median property price is 31% cheaper than Sydney’s.

Affordability and lifestyle

I’m getting several calls per week from people based in Sydney and Melbourne who are thinking of moving to Brisbane. When I ask why, the biggest reason is affordability because Brisbane’s median property price is 31% cheaper than Sydney’s.

These days, Brisbane is only 1.9% cheaper than Melbourne, but you can get significantly closer to the city centre for the same budget.

Given that their budget allows them to buy a house and land, people relocating from the southern states are favouring pre-renovated, larger houses over strata – especially with one eye on long-term capital growth.

Interestingly, unrenovated properties are taking a lot longer to sell, and I suspect people aren’t renovating because they think they can’t get tradies in to do the work.

The other big reasons Sydney and Melbourne buyers give for wanting to move to Brisbane are weather and lifestyle – they love the fact they can have more space and spend more time outdoors.

The rise of work-from-home is also a factor because some of these relocators are able to keep their Sydney and Melbourne jobs – and salaries – when moving to Brisbane.

Property prices up – vacancy rates tighten

Overall, Queensland’s population grew by a strong 2.3% in the year to March.

Given that a quarter of that growth was due to interstate migration, we know relocators are injecting a lot of demand into the Brisbane property market.

Brisbane’s median property price recorded a 3.9% jump in the September quarter, which is enormous growth for a three-month period. The city’s rental market is also feeling the pressure, with the vacancy rate at just 1.1% and annual rental growth at 8.1%.

While interstate migration isn’t responsible for everything that’s currently happening with Brisbane prices and rents, it’s certainly a significant contributor.

Unsurprisingly, with landlords jacking up rents, sometimes by as much as $200/week, a growing number of renters are also deciding to put their money into a mortgage instead of into rent.

I’m seeing a lot of single first-home buyers moving into the unit market which is still running pretty hot right now.

Stock is tight

Overall, we’re witnessing no increase in listings and if anything they’re decreasing.

People tend to be waiting for their properties to be worth more (than they were pre-boom) before putting them on the market. Then there are those who don’t want to sell while they’re still on a fixed rate (mortgage) only to move to a variable rate.

People are also reluctant to sell for fear of not being able to buy another (suitable) property within the same tight market.

However, we are witnessing a lot more investment properties come to market right now.

Stock remains extremely tight and at an initial home open over the weekend we saw over 40 groups – resulting in over 10 offers.

Other agents in the same area are also getting 15 to 20 offers on those kinds of properties.