Population growth and property

Australia’s growing population is one of the key drivers of property price growth.

You can see how many of us there are  at the Australian population clock –  there are currently over 23.8 million Australians.

ABS Demographic Statistics show that in the 2013-14 financial year, Australia’s population grew by 1.6% (365,000 people)

Now it takes more than population growth to fuel our markets that is one of the drivers I study, and demographers iD.com broke down the statistics and gave some interesting details:

Are we building enough?

Here is a chart of Australia’s population vs building approvals for the last 17 years.

Population growth and building apps 2014

According to iD.com it shows that building approvals in Australia have actually responded to population growth, and 2014 hit nearly 200,000 new dwellings, the most in 20 years.

Population growth overall was down slightly, at 364,900 people.

But this is still strong in historic terms.

Last financial year net overseas migration was down slightly, to 212,000.

This comprises about 492,000 arrivals and 270,000 departures.

So it’s not all one way migration! But overseas migration makes up 58% of Australia’s population growth, the remaining 42% being natural increase (more births than deaths).

What’s happening at a State level?

State absolute growth 2014

Last financial year Western Australia was still the fastest growing state, but the growth is rapidly coming back to the national average.

In 2013/14, WA grew by 2.2%, to a national growth rate of 1.6%.

Victoria continues to grow strongly, at 1.9%, but the real story here is NSW.

Its growth rate is up to 1.5%, almost the national average, after years of low growth. And for the first time in 5 years, NSW added more people than Victoria.

Maybe Sydney will be Australia’s largest city for a while yet?

This is mainly driven by a big drop-off in NSW interstate migration, coupled with an increase in overseas migration.

NSW added a net 73,000 migrants in 2013-14, up from around 50,000 just 3 years ago.

And while it’s still losing people interstate, that figure fell to a loss of -6,857 people, the lowest level since 1981.

NSW in recent years has typically lost 20-30,000 people per year interstate.

The main change seems to be less people leaving for Queensland and Western Australia, and more arriving from Queensland and Western Australia.

At its peak loss in 2004, 122,000 New South Wales people moved to Queensland, now it’s down to 82,000 with more moving in as well.

And Western Australia’s mining boom led population boom seems to be tapering off.

International migration is down from 51,000 to 32,000 in a year – still relatively high in historic terms though – while net interstate migration only just stays in positive territory, about 1,000 in 2013-14 down from 8,000 a year ago, and 11,000 the year before that.

In fact in the last quarter, WA recorded a very small net interstate migration loss.

So it seems the end of the mining boom really is having an effect on Australia’s population, while NSW is doing a lot better economically, growing population and building again, after years of low growth.

Read more: iD.com

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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 Metropole.com.au

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