Cities squeezed as we move toward CBD living

The latest regional population figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal an increasing trend toward inner city living, as Gen Y leads the surge of people choosing to move closer to our major CBD’s.

As they leave the sanctuary of their parents’ homes and realise true independence, most Gen Y’s are opting to live closer to employment opportunities, established infrastructure and lifestyle amenities, including public transport, shopping, restaurants and entertainment facilities.

According to the ABS, approximately half of all people living in the heart of key capital cities are young, entry level workers between 20 to 29 years of age. Gen Y is clearly dominant in Melbourne city, with 20 to 29 year olds accounting for 60% of the working population, while this demographic makes up around half of Brisbane and Sydney’s inner city populace.

The ABS reports that the overall Australian population grew by around 9% over the past five years. During the same period, Perth’s inner city population swelled by 80% and parts of Brisbane city by close to 60%, while the popular Southbank/Docklands area of Melbourne grew by almost 6,500 people and other parts of Melbourne gained 15,000 new residents.

This exodus from outlying areas by younger Australians is in direct contrast to the living preferences of previous generations, who felt the inner city areas were undesirable, industrial districts. In fact not too long ago, it was quite apparent that we showed a distinct cultural preference for the McMansions and big backyards afforded by outer suburbia.

The implication for Australian housing borne from this latest ABS data is clear; times are changing and so too must future development if it is to keep up with increasing demand for inner city accommodation.

Already, state and local governments are reviewing development policies, encouraging the construction of higher density unit and apartment style dwellings close to key transportation hubs and existing major infrastructure.

More is required though; with an already critical housing shortage causing increasing affordability issues in the highly sought after inner city rings of our major CBD’s, it’s essential that more land is re-zoned to allow for apartment living, rather than new suburbs on the periphery. Only by taking such a pro-active approach will we ensure that our rapidly increasing population can be accommodated effectively.


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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 his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

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