What property investors need to know about overseas migration | Michael Matusik


Australia holds 23 million permanent residents, of which 17 million were born in Australia & about a quarter or six million-odd are migrants.immigration arrival stamp australia

Last year, Australia’s population grew by 365,000 new residents, of which 213,000 came from overseas.

Nearly 60% of our annual population growth comes from other countries these days.

There are some interesting patterns emerging from this relatively high overseas population intake.

These include:

The trend is expected to continue & to increase, in fact, in coming years. See chart 1 below.

The Department of Immigration & Border Protection (don’t you just love how we label government branches these days) estimates that net overseas migration will lift from 213,000 last year to about 257,000 per annum towards the end of the decade.

Whilst migrants from the Old Dart (UK) account for just over one million of Australia’s permanent inhabitants & about 550,000 Kiwis live now across the ditch on a more or less full-time basis, most of the overseas migrant growth in recent years has come from India & China.  See chart 2.

For the record, the top ten sources of overseas migration in Australia today include:

  • United Kingdom       1.2 million    20% overseas born population
  • New Zealand                545k               9%
  • China                               387k               6% (was just 153k ten years ago)
  • India                                337k               6% (was just 98k ten years ago)
  • Vietnam                         208k               3%
  • Italy                                  202k               3% (was 230k ten years ago)
  • Philippines                     193k               3%
  • South Africa                  162k               3%
  • Malaysia                         134k               2%
  • Germany                        126k               2%


Just 265,000 people, or 1.6% of the Australian total population, were born in either North Africa or the Middle East – many of whom were born in Lebanon.

chart 1

Most overseas migrants settle in either New South Wales & Victoria (really Sydney or Melbourne), with just over a third (35%) living in NSW & 28% settling in the Garden State (I am now showing my age).

One in seven (15%) resides in either Queensland (read south east Queensland, largely Brisbane or the Gold Coast) or in Western Australia (mostly Perth).


As the maths suggests, few settle elsewhere.

Some readers took exception to our recent Missive about Australia’s ageing demographic profile, suggesting that our large overseas intake will help alleviate a collective rush to the grave.

But this assumes that our overseas migration intake has a more youthful bent than the Australian- born resident.

Chart 3 shows that this assumption is wrong.

The average overseas migrant coming to Australia is almost ten years older than the locally bred Aussie.

There are some exceptions to this trend – i.e. the age profile of current migrants from both China & India, as shown, again, in Chart 3 – but in general we are exacerbating our aging issues with the nature of our overseas migration intake.

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We are – without wishing to be disrespectful – importing holes in our bucket, so to speak.

We need a younger migration profile to help grow our economy, buy houses, man our factories & farms plus, of course, pay tax.

Again, as suggested in our last Missive, we potentially face a market place where there are more dyers than buyers.

Think Japan, Italy, Greece, Spain & Germany, to name a few.

The USA, Canada, the UK & China – yes China – will all face this issue in coming years too.

Chart 4 outlines the age profile of both overseas migrants & locally born residents.

It shows a much older overseas age profile.  We need to have more people – explicitly, more females – aged between 25 & 34 years migrating to Australia.  Babies require mothers.

chart 2


Things work the same way in China as they do elsewhere i.e. you need mothers of child bearing age to have babies.china economy

Despite the recent relaxation of the One Child Policy, China is more likely to have a baby bust not a baby boom, as many China watchers predict.


They, too, are about to experience a dramatic drop in the number of women aged between 25 & 34 years of age.

Plus, breaking the established norm will be difficult & expensive to do.

Small families are the norm in China & the cost of living is rising.

Plus, most of their new housing stock– being tiny high-rise apartments – is not big enough to accommodate larger families.

End note

Australia people

These population trends are potentially a major problem for China (especially as it attempts to re-engineer its economy from export-heavy to more consumer based), and for other countries facing similar demographics.

That includes Australia & really, most of the old world.

Children are the future.

We need them to help pay our taxes, man the factories & buy our houses.

Maybe it is time to put Valentine’s Day to some better use – one for mum, another for dad & a third child for the country.

Well, it’s just a thought.

From Michael Matusik –

We write 100 ‘posts’ each year. It’s called the Matusik Missive; it has been going for years & took over from our hard copy regular called Snapshot. A Missive subscription costs just $150 per annum. Subscribers get discounts on our reports & ‘master class’ sessions too.


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Michael is director of independent property advisory Matusik Property Insights. He is independent, perceptive and to the point; has helped over 550 new residential developments come to fruition and writes his insightful Matusik Missive

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