Australia’s strong population growth is good for property

The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently released the Australian Demographic Statistics for the September quarter of 2012 and it showed our population growth is continuing to accelerate.

According to the ABS, Australia’s population grew by 1.71% in the year to September 2012, which was the highest annual recorded rate of growth since December 2009, and above the 30-year average of 1.4%.

This is good for our general economy and good for property.

If you’ve been following my blogs you’ll know I follow demographic changes closely because they shape our property markets.

Other highlights were:

  • Natural increase contributed 40% of the population rise and net migration 60%.
  • Over the previous year, there were 303, 600 births and 149,000 deaths giving a natural increase of 154.4k
  • Over the year, net overseas migration was 228,000, the highest since 2008. That means one migrant lands here every 2 minutes or so.
  • In annual growth terms, WA leads the way with a 3.43% rise, or 82,000 to 2.451 million and 10.8% of the national total.
  • New dwelling construction at 142,000 is well below population growth of 382,000 and underlying housing demand of 170,000.

State breakdown

The table below shows the influence of strong jobs markets, with population growth highest in the resource rich States. W.A. recorded very strong growth of 3.43%, while Queensland had strong growth of 2.03%.

Population Growth March 2013

 What does all this mean?

The Commonwealth Bank gave the following commentary on these latest figures:

Australia’s strong population growth over the past eight years has been driven mainly by a doubling in net migration, from about 120,000 annually to a peak of 252,000 in 2009, then back to 228,000 in the year to September 2012. Migrants see Australia’s jobs market as a major attraction.

The strong lift in the population has occurred against a backdrop of only modest new dwelling construction. We expect that national new dwelling construction will be close to the 160k level in 2013 but still below our estimate for underlying demand of 170k. It would mean a continual demand for housing which is likely to keep upward pressure on national rents. Rising residential construction is part of the growth transition that the RBA is seeking to foster.

We expect annual population growth will be in the 350k to 400k range over the next few years. The major demographic issue for Australia is its ageing population which will drive an increasing demand for health care and changing the types of residential accommodation required by residents. The relatively firm birth rate is also lifting health and education demand.

The proportion of the Australian population over 65 years of age was 13.5% in 2010 and is expected to be 15.3% in 2015.

By way of comparison, Japan’s will be 26.3% in 2015, Italy 21.7%, US 14.5% and China 9.5%.

population growth_2

My thoughts:

While many factors affect the short term performance of our property markets, in the long term the 2 main influences are:

  1. Population Growth
  2. The wealth of our nation.

Many reports confirm that we are already one of the wealthiest nations in the world and  this is unlikely to change in the immediate future.

Add to this the strong predicted future population growth, plus the fact that most of us want to leaving four big capital cities, and in fact in many of the same suburbs in these cities means the continual capital growth of well located properties in our main capital cities is assured.



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Michael Yardney


Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

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