Australian Property’s Secret Weapon

With talk about our property boom being over what’s going to drive our property markets in the future?

Firstly let me make it clear..

Sure our property markets have slowed down, and sure the world is going through some economic turmoil – but we’re not heading for a property crash.

Of course the double digit property growth rates we enjoyed, especially in the Sydney and Melbourne property markets over the last few years were unsustainable over the long term.

But according to a report by leading demographer Bernard Salt, Australia has a secret weapon up it’s sleeve  and it’s…

Population growth

And even though our population growth is slowing, Australia is growing three times faster than China.

Now that’s good for the economy.

And it’s good for property – Australia’s elevated and internationally significant rate of population growth will drive the demand for housing all these people have to live somewhere.

Here’s what Salt said in his KPMG article:

The Australian economy may well be suffering from cut-backs in mining and manufacturing activity but this nation has a secret weapon. Our building and construction sector is underpinned by close to record rates of growth in population.

The rise in numbers is depicted in our latest demographics infographic.

It shows growth of close to 390,000 people per annum, up from around 220,000 per annum about a decade earlier.Australia's projected population and Australia's projected householdsBased on these rates, Australia’s population is estimated to increase by 4.2 million people over the next decade.

That means we are growing even faster than India and the United States, and three times faster than China.

People = jobs

Australia’s elevated and internationally significant rate of population growth will drive the demand for housing, for household formation and for housing finance.

That translates into more jobs.

The capital cities are particularly well placed in this regard.

Melbourne, Sydney and Perth have been all experiencing rapid expansion, their growth running at close to record rates.

In the year 2012-2013, Melbourne’s population jumped up by 95,000, with Sydney close behind at 81,000.

Perth also saw a dramatic increase of 67,000 – although more recent data suggests that growth rates are slowing in the West.

Fastest growing large cities 2012-2013

It is not surprising then that Sydney remains this nation’s biggest city with 4.8 million residents.

It is followed closely by the faster-growing Melbourne at 4.3 million then Brisbane at 2.2 million.

Looking beyond our capitals

Yet our capital cities aren’t the whole story.

In fact the biggest single market on the Australian continent is what might be termed the ‘Koala Conurbation’ with 5.5 million people connecting Sydney with Newcastle and Wollongong.

Melbourne-Geelong is also a heavy weight with 4.5 million people while South East Queensland – linking Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba – packs some punch at 3.2 million. Perth tops out at barely 2 million.

The city vs suburbia

Our building and construction picture is more nuanced too.

Building hotspots tell the two stories of Australia’s housing preferences: the inner city and

Our figures show the top five spots for new residential housing unit approvals are relatively balanced between the city centres and inner city – such as the City of Melbourne and Sydney’s Mascot-Eastlakes – and the edge of suburbia in places like Perth’s Baldivis and Yanchep.

This may reflect the fact that families continue to dominate Australia’s households.

While singles make up about a quarter of all households, families still lead at one in three.

Relying on our immigrants


Ultimately, Australia’s economic prospects could well depend on immigration trends however – that is, if our tremendous growth rates are indeed our secret weapon.

In 2014, the first three quarters showed almost two-thirds of the country’s population growth came from net overseas migration.

This shift is particularly significant when compared to around half over the previous four decades.

As long as immigration levels remain elevated, it may be that Australia has at least one sure-fire driver of demand for jobs.

Read more at KPMG

Want more of this type of information?


Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who create wealth for their clients through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

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