According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia’s population grew by 2.1% to 21.8 million people in the 12 months to 31 March 2009. This growth rate is considered to be unprecedented since the last population boom in Australia in the 1960s.
The Rudd government has forecast recently that Australia’s population is expected to grow to approximately 35 million people, which is about 7 million higher than previously predicted due to fertility rates and current migration policy.
This growth will have significant implications on Australia’s property market. Currently, approximately 72% of Australians live around the major capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, Canberra and Hobart. Sydney and Melbourne alone account for approximately 37% of Australia’s total population. The concentration of the majority of population in these 8 capital cities is due to regional Australia being relatively undeveloped. This uneven population concentration around the major cities is further compounded by the slow down in housing approvals and completions due to a number of factors.
As a result of scarcity of land in and around these major cities in Australia, there will be an increasing upward pressure on housing and property prices as the population grows into the future. The consequent of this is the increasing gap of people in Australia who can afford to live in and around the CBD of the capital cities and those who are forced further away from these areas. It will ultimately depend on the government’s initiatives and policy on how best to accommodate this ballooning growth, that is whether to develop better transport, communication and utility infrastructure both in major cities and regional Australia. On balance, property experts are still advocating investors to consider strategic locations in and around the major cities and in major growth areas approximately 25 – 40km radius of their centres. Due to continued high demand, these areas will continue to convince those already entrenched to stay and entice those who have the means to get in.