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Fewer migrants could mean less housing

01 July 2014 Staff Reporter

Australia is attracting fewer migrants than in previous years, a trend which may lead to a drop in housing demand.

New information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows 396,000 new residents came to Australia in 2013, down by 9,300 from the year prior.

Population growth reached its peak in 2008, hitting 2.2 per cent.

Growth subsequently fell to 1.8 per cent by 2012 and dropped to 1.7 per cent last year.

According to RP Data analyst Tim Lawless, demographic growth is a key indicator for demand in the housing market.

“More residents imply more people who require accommodation,” he said.

As a result, slower population growth, particularly a lower emigration rate, may stymie demand in the market.

“With population growth winding down we can expect some further easing of housing demand, both from a sales and a rental perspective,” he said.

According to Mr Lawless, states driven by resources investment are seeing the greatest falls, particularly when it comes to interstate migration.

“The slowdown seems to be most pronounced in the mining states of Western Australia and Queensland, where population growth conditions have previously been the strongest,” he said.

While net migration into Western Australia is the third highest of any state, ABS data shows migrant numbers are down 19.8 per cent over the year.

Queensland, the fourth most popular destination, has seen migration drop by 19.1 per cent.

On the other hand, Mr Lawless believes the situation looks positive for New South Wales and Victoria.

Net arrival numbers reached 71,446 in New South Wales and 62,337 in Victoria over 2013.

Fewer migrants could mean less housing
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