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Cost of living drives city-dwellers out to the regions

Densely populated cities with a high cost of living are currently experiencing a mass exodus as Aussies pack up and move to more affordable regional areas.
By · June 14, 2024
Cost of living drives city-dwellers out to the regions

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More and more Aussies are opting to go regional according to new Regional Movers Index data.

Has the big smoke lost its charm? Densely populated cities with a high cost of living are currently experiencing a mass exodus as Aussies pack up and move to more affordable regional areas.

The latest Regional Movers Index (RMI) shows internal migration across Australia surged throughout the first three months of 2024, with city to regional moves leading the charge.

While a move away from city living has previously been attributed to the Pandemic, the growth in the number of Aussies who continue to choose to move regional suggests there’s more to the story.

In this article we’re diving into the who’s moving, why they’re moving, and the most popular regions Aussies are moving to.

Millenials move away from cost of living pressures

The RMI shows millennials (born 1981 - 1995) are the largest demographic choosing to ditch city living across all states and territories.

It’s said the collective desire to move away from the hustle and bustle and towards coastal and country lifestyles comes down to cost of living pressures and a need to access more affordable housing.

In addition to this, regional areas (for the most part) have enjoyed significant growth over recent years with expanded infrastructure and increased employment and career opportunities - making them an appealing option for those seeking work.

Mass migration to regional - more than a COVID fad

According to the RMI, throughout the March 2024 quarter there were 24% more people moving from the cities to the regions compared to the other direction. Metropolitan to regional relocations also reported a 20% increase compared to pre-COVID-19 averages.

While COVID is often credited as the spark for the boost in regional relocations, it's a trend that continues to grow in popularity year on year.

Industry experts say the growth is so significant that the uptake in regional moves is more than a fall out from the pandemic; rather, it marks a change in society itself.

While pandemic lockdowns and restrictions almost certainly accelerated interest in less populated regional locations, they have now permanently shifted living perspectives and priorities.

“While the pandemic supercharged this movement, the regional lifestyle is continuing to prove highly desirable for thousands of people, especially those from cities. This movement in population can no longer be seen as a quirky flow-on effect from the lockdown years. A societal shift is underway.”

Regional Australia Institute CEO, Liz Ritchie

Australia’s most popular regional destination

The Eastern states of Australia accounted for 97% of net capital city outflows into regional areas in the 12 months to March 2024. This marks a 94% increase from just one year ago.

Sunshine Coast 

The Sunshine Coast holds the title as the nation’s most popular moving destination with a 16 per cent share of net internal migration flows over the last 12 months. Roughly three quarters of movers to the Sunshine Coast came from the capital cities.

The Sunshine Coast has held onto its title as the nation’s most popular moving destination for the sixth quarter in a row.

Gold Coast 

Still in Queensland, the Gold Coast is the second most popular location for regional movers. Accounting for a 9.1% share of net internal migration flows over the last 12 months the region sits high on the list for those moving away from the city.

Greater Geelong 

Next on the popularity list is Greater Geelong. Close to two thirds of Australians who moved to the area came from capital cities.

Mooraboo 

Moorabool is named as the fourth most popular location for regional movers for the second quarter in a row with almost all movers coming in from the city.

The Fraser Coast 

The Fraser Coast took out fifth spot with a 4.4% share of net internal migration flows. Roughly half of those who moved to the area did so from a city location.

Ready to leave the city?

If you’re ready to ditch the city and see what all the fuss is about with regional living, you’ll want to ensure your belongings get there quickly and safely. At Upmove we can help you find the best removalists at the best price - so you can focus on settling in.

Need help moving to a regional area?

Budget-friendly removalists across Australia ready to help with your relocation.
9.7 · 1,139 reviews

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