Move over Sydney — Melbourne is coming through

Australia’s population increased by one person every 86 seconds over the last year, growing by 1.6 per in the 12 months to the end of September 2017.

86 SecFigures released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirm that Melbourne is closing the population gap with Sydney.

For the first time on record, Sydney’s population grew by more than 100,000 people in one year.

Sydney’s population hit 5.1 million at June 2017, an increase of 101,600 people (2 per cent) since June 2016.

But it was Melbourne that recorded the largest — and fastest growth — of Australia’s capital cities in 2016-17, increasing by 125,400 (2.7 per cent) to reach 4.9 million.

Together, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane accounted for over 70 per cent of Australia’s population growth in 2016-17.

Darwin, Adelaide and Perth on the other hand experienced relatively low rates of population growth, each at 1 per cent or less.


Source: The Australian

MigrationMigration makes a big difference

The total number of migrants to Australia grew at the fastest rate in eight years, but is still below the peak intake of 316,000 in the 12 months to December 2008.

In Melbourne, net overseas migration was the major contributor to population growth, adding 80,000 people in 2016-17 (64 per cent of total population change).

Natural increase contributed 29 per cent, while net internal migration accounted for 7.3 per cent of population growth.

property investors
Net overseas migration was also the major contributor to Sydney’s population growth (84,700 people) although, unlike Melbourne, the Harbour City experienced a net internal migration loss (-18,100 people) in 2016-17, meaning more people left Sydney for other parts of Australia than arrived.

Sydney lost most people to other parts of New South Wales (40,000 people) and Melbourne (14,400).

In Brisbane and Hobart, the relative contribution of each component of population change was more even, while in Perth and the Australian Capital Territory, natural increase was the major contributor to growth.

In Adelaide and Darwin, population gains from natural increase were offset by net internal migration losses, so growth in both cities corresponded closely to the gains from net overseas migration.

Population Natural increase Net internal migration Net overseas migration Population change
June 2017 2016-17 2016-17 2016-17 2016-17
Capital City no. no. no. no. no.
Sydney 5 131 326 34 994 -18 120 84 684 101 558
Melbourne 4 850 740 36 284 9 166 79 974 125 424
Brisbane 2 408 223 17 961 12 023 17 998 47 982
Adelaide 1 333 927 5 507 -5 469 9 610 9 648
Perth 2 043 138 16 326 -6 885 11 653 21 094
Hobart 226 884 703 875 844 2 422
Darwin 146 612 1 877 -1 879 698 696
Australian Capital Territory 410 301 3 369 663 2 801 6 833

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

As always, demographics — how many of us there are, where we live and how we want to live — will be a major driver of our property markets moving forward.


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Kate Forbes


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).

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