Melbourne will soon be Australia’s largest city again


Melbourne will soon be Australia’s largest city.

Melbourne SuburbsIn fact, Melbourne’s population is arguably already larger than Sydney’s, depending on where the boundaries are set.

You see…the Australian Bureau of Statistics includes the Central Coast in its definition of Greater Sydney but leaves Geelong out of its definition of Greater Melbourne.

But if you remove the Central Coast, then Melbourne already has 75,000 more people than Sydney, according to the 2018 ABS figures.

But let’s not argue with the ABS and instead look at the figures…

A decade ago, Sydney had 450,000 more people than Melbourne and the whole of the state of Queensland had 300,000 more residents than Melbourne.

Fast forward and this year Melbourne will house more people than all of Queensland, and if it follows its current growth trajectory, it will have a larger population than Sydney around 2026.

Melbourne is growing at a faster rate than any capital or regional city in the country and in fact it’s one of the fastest growing developed cities in the world, growing at around 2.4% per annum.

In fact Melbourne is adding 327 people a day as it draws residents from around Australia and around the globe.

In fact 65 per cent of its growth is due to overseas migration

Greater Melbourne grew by one million people in the decade between 2008 and 2018, pushing its total population past 5 million.

Over the same period Sydney added just over 800,000 people to reach a population of 5.2 million, while Brisbane’s population increased by 450,000 to 2.5 million.

Why this significant growth?

For one, housing in Melbourne is significantly cheaper than Sydney and Melbourne can more easily add new suburbs to its metropolitan fringe than the landlocked Sydney.

Then there are the great job opportunities created by Victoria’s economic growth which are attracting a fair share of our overseas migrants.

But here’s another important reason…

Melbourne LiveableIs Melbourne the world’s most liveable city?

Melbourne is consistently rated amongst the most liveable cities in the world.

While its record seven consecutive years run in the #1 spot in the Economist’s Global Liveability Index is now at an end – being now ranked number 2 isn’t really that bad.

But there will be some challenges

There is no doubt that Melbourne’s surging population growth will lead to some social and political challenges including supplying infrastructure to support this growth.

Australian PopulationMelbourne is fast becoming an economically and socially polarised city.

While the wealthy don’t like to commute and tend to live in the inner and middle more established suburbs, cheaper housing is attracting more people to outer suburban living, but this comes at a price.

These outer suburbs have less infrastructure, less amenity and fewer jobs, meaning many workers have to make long commuting trips to work in the inner and middle ring suburbs.

While lower interest rates made it easy for young families to afford houses in these outer suburbs over the last few years, lack of wages growth is likely to stall future property price growth and the gap between property values in the inner more affluent suburbs and Melbourne’s outer suburbs is only going to increase.


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Kate Forbes is a National Director Property Strategy at Metropole. She has 15 years of investment experience in financial markets in two continents, is qualified in multiple disciplines and is also a chartered financial analyst (CFA).
Visit Metropole Melbourne

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