The rise and rise of Asian property buyers

Our 2014 population forecasts showed that we expect to see something quite different in 2014, that being total population growth in Australia easing back quite significantly this year to closer to 300,000 than the near 400,000 we have seen previously. 

Further, we expect other demographic shifts, including centralisation of our capital cities (recently affirmed by the Reserve Bank and another Grattan Institute report) as well as a growing contingent of Asian settlers.

The Overseas Arrivals and Departures data is a significant feeder into the population growth data, and today’s figures further confirmed our expectations. 

1 – Short-term arrivals and departures

Over the past half decade we have have had more short-term departures from Australia than short-term arrivals, a trend which continues:

Short-term arrivals and departures

The short term arrivals data is interesting to the extent that it potentially gives us a sneak peak of the decade ahead.

In this context, the massive boom in visitors from China is important.

On a rolling annual basis the number of Chinese short-term arrivals simply keeps on increasing breaking a new record high of more than 780,000 in the year to July 2014.

Rolling 12m stas by country

2 – Long term arrivals and departures

More interestingly, what is happening to long-term arrivals?

Well, July was a very strong month with more than 70,000 long-term arrivals, but the rolling annual trend is down in line with our forecasts (recall that we are expecting considerably weaker population growth in 2014 – we expect massive population growth into Sydney and New South Wales, but figures easing back elsewhere).

 Long term arrivals and departures

When viewed on a net basis set off against long term departures, a similar trend on a rolling annual basis with rolling annual net long term migration also easing back despite a strong month of long-term arrivals in July.

Rolling 12m - net long-term migration

3 – Settlers

As for where the settlers are coming from?

In July we saw something of a landmark, that being for the first time we have more Indian settlers than Kiwis on a rolling annual basis.

Poms are also following the UK economic recovery and fewer are arriving in Australia now as the British employment rate booms.

Chinese and Indian immigration into Australia, on the other hand, is looking very strong.


Finally, a chart which helps to explain the rising prominence of so-termed “Asian buyers” of Australian property.

Simply, since 2000 there has been a tremendous boom in the number of Asian immigrants, so it can hardly be a surprise to see more folk of an Asian appearance at property viewings and auctions – most of the so-called “Asian buyers” are actually Australian buyers of Asian heritage, a point which appears to be lost on the popular media.

Rolling 12m settlers by region


Overall the data is consistent with expectations.

We still see population growth easing back to nearer 300,000 than 400,000 in 2014, with Sydney to be a major beneficiary of the population growth this year.

The mining states of Queensland and Western Australia have dimming prospects for population growth in 2014 as mining capex and interstate migration drops off, while South Australia’s population growth will likely just be just weak, full stop.

Victoria’s population growth will be softer in 2014 than in the prior year, but still should remain very strong in absolute terms. As a quick primer, here are our 2014 best estimates:

Natural population increase 2014 (f)

New South Wales – 50,000

Victoria – 37,500

Queensland – 35,000

Western Australia – 20,000

South Australia – 7,500

Other – 10,000

Total – 160,000

Total population growth 2014 (f)

New South Wales – 105,000

Victoria – 87,500

Queensland – 60,000

Western Australia – 40,000

South Australia – 10,000

Other – 7,500

Total – 310,000



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is a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Secretary and has a Financial Planning Diploma. Using a long term approach to building businesses, investing in equities, & owning a portfolio he achieved financial independence at the age of 33. Visit his blog

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