A new study from Muval analysed the changes in internal migration trends as rate hikes start to impact the housing market.

Here are some of the major trends highlighted in the report:

Melbourne remains the go-to city for movers

The study found that around a quarter of all inbound major metro moving enquiries in May are bound to Melbourne, which remains the number one city to move to for the 15th month in a row.

Muval CEO James Morell said Melbourne appears to be the place to be amid the cost-of-living crisis, in stark contrast to during the height of the pandemic.

“Mostly buoyed by Sydney residents, as well as people moving from Brisbane and Perth, the city is hovering near positive net migration based on moving enquiries,” he said.

Net migration in Melbourne is currently at -15% and was last in positive territory before the pandemic when it sat at +3% in January 2020.

During the pandemic it hit a negative net migration low of -61% in August 2020.

Meanwhile, Melbourne’s outbound traffic is also easing, accounting for 26% of all outbound metro moving enquiries in May. The last time this metric was at this level was in February 2020.

“Looking into our removalist’s crystal ball, we can see ever growing interest to move in to Ballarat, particularly from interstate, which will likely keep growing as Melbourne continues to fill back up,” Mr Muval said.

Brisbane is losing residents to other Queensland regions

Brisbane is the second most popular city for movers, with around a fifth (22%) of all metro moves to the river city.

However, the city is losing residents to Melbourne, Perth, and to regional markets such as Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Rockhampton and Toowoomba.

In fact, the city has hit a record high for outbound moving enquiries, accounting for 19% of all outbound metro moves, up from 18% for the first four months of the year and third behind Sydney and Melbourne.

“With so many residents abandoning the city, Brisbane is hovering near negative net migration based on moving enquiries at +5% in May, a sharp six month slide from the +32% in December last year when the city was still a sizzling hot spot off the back of the pandemic,” Mr Muval said.

Looking at the numbers from Gold Coast, it appears interest to move in the region is starting to wane. Inbound moving enquiries to the region were down for the first five months of the years compared to last year.

“Gold Coast residents are looking to move to a mixture of cities and smaller towns, with some appearing to move back to the big smoke now the pandemic is over and others in search of more affordable housing that’s still in a desirable waterfront location such as Newcastle, Port Macquarie, the Central Coast or Hobart,” Mr Muval said.

Interest in Cairns is also cooling, with movers heading to Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, and Adelaide. Still, there is still traffic coming in from these cities, mostly Brisbane, as cashed up city buyers snap up what may be some of the last bargains, helping to keep net migration positive.

Perth shows signs of slowing

Perth appears to be showing signs of slowing — while its positive net migration is the strongest in Australia, it recorded a substantial dip from peak last year.

Still, Mr Muval said Perth is still a hotspot among residents fleeing higher cost of living pressures in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane

“In May, 18% of all major metro moves were to Perth – the fourth month in a row more people wanted to move to Perth than Sydney,” he said.

It is interesting to note as well that the Perth’s outbound percentage was only 8% in May, which means that more people are moving in than out of the city.

Sydney is not as desirable as it used to be

Sydney ranks fourth in the popularity rankings among state capitals — it reported 17% of all major metro inbound inquiries and 32% of all outbound enquiries.

“It has now been 18 straight months where one in three outbound metro moving enquiries is from the city, suggesting that the cost-of-living exodus could be on par with COVID,” Mr Muval said.

Outside Sydney, however, Newcastle seems to be on the cusp of becoming a hot property market, with interest to move into the city up 90% in the first half of the year.

Photo by vadimguzhva on Canva.