John McGrath identifies shifting demographics

Families are increasingly opting for regional locations to combat Sydney’s rising lack of affordability, according to a new report by John McGrath.

The annual McGrath Report said that regional NSW, as well as Melbourne and Brisbane, will become increasingly attractive to Gen X middle-income earners who are tired of Sydney’s high cost of living.

“The next wave of sea-changers will be young families leaving Sydney or adopting a telecommuting or fly-in-fly-out lifestyle from another capital city or coastal centre,” the report said.

“We’re observing more young Sydney families buying on the Central Coast and in Newcastle and the Southern Highlands, as well as Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.”

The report also noted that many Sydney buyers are relocating to Melbourne where apartments are $170,000 cheaper and stock levels are much higher.

“Melbourne’s population has been growing faster than Sydney’s since 2000, and in two out of three models used by the ABS to project future populations, Melbourne will overtake Sydney in either 2030 or 2053,” it said.

Mr McGrath’s report also revealed that more empty-nesters are shunning a sea change for CBD living.

“This is reflected in forecasts that retirement age residents will be the fastest growing group in the City of Sydney local government area by 2026, up 72 per cent on 2011 compared to an increase of 34 per cent in working age residents, according to population analysts,” the report continued.

One reason for this trend is that older Australians have been delaying their retirement since the GFC, according to the report.

Other reasons include wanting to live closer to work and wanting to be able to provide childcare for their grandchildren.

At the same time, an inner-city construction boom has provided an abundance of high-quality living options, according to the report.

[Related: How the market will look in 2020]

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