Sea or tree change in vogue again?

by John Maguire15 Apr 2016
Recently released figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) suggest that the sea or tree change phenomenon may be returning to popularity among Australians.

The new migration data appears to show a resurgence in people relocating to coastal towns and lifestyle markets, where some of the biggest increases in migration were recorded over 2014/15.

Responding to the figures, research analyst Cameron Kusher of CoreLogic RP Data Property Pulse said, “Sea and tree change appear to be the long forgotten buzzwords for the migration of people to coastal and lifestyle markets. This trend was particularly strong before the financial crisis hit in 2008, however, since the end of this occurrence, we saw interstate migration slow and many lifestyle markets underperform when compared to the capital city housing markets.

“The latest migration statistics from the ABS are now suggesting that migration to coastal and lifestyle markets is increasing and is being led by families rather that retirees.”

The greatest level of internal migration (as opposed to those moving from overseas) was found to be in the Melbourne-West region, where 5,038 moved over 2014/15. Kusher puts this down to particularly affordable housing in the area.

Other popular areas are the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast and the Richmond-Tweed area of New South Wales. Julian Packshaw, a mortgage broker based in the latter region, near Byron Bay, has noticed an increased number of clients making the move to the area from the big conurbations.

“City prices are getting so high, that what you can get for your money in regional Australia and Byron specifically is good value,” he says. “I definitely write business for people moving from Melbourne and Sydney, as well as locals.”

Any increase in migration towards regions like Richmond-Tweed could have a range of consequences for the property markets in those places, including increased demand and competition between buyers.
Packshaw adds, “This week I’ve negotiated on two properties with clients who have paid over and above the asking price. There is definitely a demand for good real estate, and discerning buyers, if push comes to shove, will pay above the asking price if there is another buyer interested. Both of these properties came on the market on the Saturday and were both sold by the Tuesday.”

Kusher points out that given the ABS data is nearly a year old, it is likely this trend has progressed further during the current financial year.