John McGrath – Hunter Valley, Gold Coast and Launceston among top growth regions | McGrath
Ballooning over Hunter Valley

John McGrath – Hunter Valley, Gold Coast and Launceston among top growth regions

John McGrath
John McGrath
11/07/2022 | 3 MIN READ

Once upon a time the cities and regions were two markets. But COVID-19 saw the regional and rural markets catch up to the cities. Now they are moving as one, which I haven’t seen in 40 years in real estate.

During the pandemic, the regions saw a huge influx of both downsizers and millennial families seeking a more affordable, laidback lifestyle.

The desire to get away from the cities and the ability to work from home led to a pronounced shift in East Coast metropolitan populations over the past two years.

According to the latest regional population data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the people movement between capital cities and regional areas within the same state or territory was strongest in NSW.

Almost 65,000 people left Sydney for regional NSW in FY21. That’s up 16% on FY19 before the pandemic. The most popular destinations were the Central Coast and Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.

About 48,000 people left Melbourne for regional Victoria. That’s up 20% on FY19. The most popular regional destinations were Latrobe-Gippsland and Geelong.

About 43,000 people left Brisbane for regional Queensland. That’s up 5% on FY19. The most popular regional destinations were the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

On top of this, loads of southern city dwellers moved to regional Queensland, too. About 13,000 from Sydney and 12,000 from Melbourne. Their No 1 destination was the Gold Coast, followed by the Sunshine Coast.

This all led to a surge in demand and a complete re-rating of local home values in many regional areas. In CoreLogic’s national Regional Market Update for the 12 months to April 2022, all 25 areas canvassed recorded house price gains above 10% and 18 were 20%-plus.

The top performing regions for house price growth along the Eastern Seaboard.

  • Hunter Valley (ex-Newcastle) up 34.3% - NSW
  • Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven up 33.3% - NSW
  • Gold Coast up 33.1% - Queensland
  • Central West up 31.5% - NSW
  • Wide Bay up 30.6% - Queensland
  • Sunshine Coast up 30.1% - Queensland
  • Launceston and North East up 29.5% - Tasmania
  • Mid North Coast up 28.3% - NSW
  • Riverina up 27.6% - NSW
  • Capital Region up 26.9% - NSW

Source: CoreLogic

Regional relocations are continuing but at a slower pace. I think the strongest channel of people movement over the next few years will be from the southern cities to Queensland.

Queensland represents value for money relative to Sydney and Melbourne. The climate and lifestyle is world class and a lot of people from the southern states will move to Queensland because of this.

Let’s take a look at the No. 1 regional growth markets in the three states represented in the top 10. Those states are NSW, Queensland and Tasmania. This will give us a picture of the lifestyle options city dwellers are choosing. And it’s worth noting only one is coastal.

  • No. 1 regional hot spot: Hunter Valley (ex-Newcastle)
  • The stats: Median house price up 34.3%
  • Why? The Hunter Valley is among the most beautiful wine country in Australia. It’s a very popular treechange destination and offers a gourmet food and wine scene. The Hunter Expressway and NorthConnex have made travelling to Sydney easier and faster.

  • No. 1 regional hot spot: Gold Coast
  • The stats: Median house price up 33.1%
  • Why? The Gold Coast is a buzzing, exciting hive of activity. It offers every possible recreational pursuit you could ask for, including theme parks, plenty of fantastic dining and nightlife, and vast world-famous beaches. It’s also got a thriving economy. There are many beachside suburbs all at varying price points, which makes a great coastal lifestyle affordable and accessible to a larger demographic of home owners.

  • No. 1 regional hot spot: Launceston and North East
  • The stats: Median house price up 29.5%

Why? We have seen that safe lifestyle destinations have become paramount in our choice of where and how we want to live, and Tasmania will continue to be in the world spotlight as a cultural and desirable lifestyle option for many seeking to relocate. Launceston is the second biggest city after Hobart. It’s popular with mainland city relocators because it offers lifestyle, affordability and has its own airport with direct flights to major cities. Significant capital investments including the City Heart project and Hydrogen Hub are growing the city.