Nearly one in five people moving to regional Australia in the December quarter landed in the Sunshine Coast, where they appear to have driven property prices higher.

Meanwhile, around one in 12 unpacked their bags in the Gold Coast, where the median house value has officially pushed past the coveted $1 million mark. 

That’s according to data from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) and the Regional Movers Index, the latter being a partnership between CommBank and the Regional Australia Institute (RAI).

Many of those who leave behind capital cities in exchange for regional living do so in a bid to gain more space, time, and affordability, RAI CEO Liz Ritchie said.

But inbound migration also offers notable benefits for the Sunshine State. 

“A skilled and diverse labour supply is one of the most critical inputs for any economy and Sunshine Coast businesses across a wide range of sectors are taking advantage of the growth in people coming to the area, moving at pace to explore new and innovative opportunities,” said Paul Fowler, CommBank executive general manager of regional and agribusiness banking.

Sunshine Coast house prices climbed nearly 2.7% over the three months ending December, with the median sale price reaching $980,000 in that time, REIQ revealed today as per CoreLogic data. 

Gold Coast house prices rose 5% in the same window, with more than 1,800 sales bringing in a median $1.05 million. 

However, Gold Coast’s popularity as a migratory destination has waned in recent times, with the number of people moving there having halved year-on-year.

“While these sale prices are cause for celebration for property owners when it comes time to sell, it can be frustrating and disheartening for buyers trying to enter or transition into the market,” REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said. 

“This is particularly true for first home buyers who are competing with other prospective and established buyers for value buys and deals that aren’t as good as they once were.”

Ms Mercorella notes that in “lifestyle locations”, such as the Gold Coast, the majority of housing stock hitting the market intends to cater to luxury living. 

“There’s been low levels of construction over a long period of time, lagging social housing builds, and add to that accelerated migration to Queensland, and you’ve got a recipe for a housing crisis.”

She's calling for an increase in supply, saying building more affordable dwellings would help to balance the state’s housing market. 

“We’re still in a position where the shortage of supply is driving the market and we’re lacking the housing diversity we need for everyone in our community, the critical gap of course is at the affordable end of the market,” she said.

“For listings that address this gap, real estate agents are reporting that the open homes are overflowing, and second open homes are often unnecessary”

But not all of Queensland’s oft-considered ‘luxury’ housing markets are booming at the moment.

Slightly further north of the Sunshine Coast, Noosa house prices tumbled 9.4% last quarter to a median sale price of $1.25 million.

Property in Noosa also spent an average of 52 days on the market – the longest of any Queensland region. 

Regional WA also ripe for relocation

While Western Australia’s regions don’t make an appearance among the top destinations for movers, the state’s popularity among domestic migrants is increasing. 

“WA’s economy is strengthening beyond traditional resources, with wholesale trade, construction, professional services and agribusiness coming to the fore,” Mr Fowler said.

WA accounts for three of the five fastest growing areas when it comes to net internal migration flows. 

Boddington, located in the state's Peel region, has seen its popularity among those moving to a new region triple over the last year. 

Meanwhile, Bridgetown-Greenbushes’ popularity as a relocating destination increased nearly 200% and that of Greater Geraldton grew by close to 160%.

Image by Nick Sarvari on Unsplash

Ready, Set, Buy!

Learn everything you need to know about buying property – from choosing the right property and home loan, to the purchasing process, tips to save money and more!

With bonus Q&A sheet and Crossword!

By subscribing you agree to our privacy policy