Australians are known for their love of travel and transient tendencies – so much so that the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed nearly 40 per cent of Australians changed addresses in the five years leading up to the 2016 Census, nearly twice the global average.
In line with being one of the most mobile societies in the world, it was also found Australia ranked in the top one fifth of countries for rates of internal migration.
As a keen traveller himself, Mark Hay Realty Group Principal Mark Hay attributed the high rate of internal migration to our love for adventure, though he believed extenuating circumstances, outside of COVID-19, were slowing this movement down.
According to Mr Hay, it was once common for households to relocate every seven years, but now as kids looked to stay home for longer, parents weren’t so ready to sell the family home.
“Basically, the demographic that shifts the most is the younger population,” he said.
“If anything, I’m under the belief that kids staying home for longer has slowed down that demographic.”
For those who do move, the desire for a four-by-two with a white picket fence has changed, according to Mr Hay, with apartments on the rise.
“With changing lifestyles over the years comes the idea of apartment living, which is something we haven’t had before,” he said. “Now there’s a big shift for apartments to be built in areas you wouldn’t have thought, such as City Beach or Swanbourne.”
Prior to COVID-19, Mr Hay said rental relocation was causing the biggest spike in internal migration.
“I’d say 75 per cent of properties on the rental market would change occupants every year,” he said.
“COVID-19 has once again locked people down to a degree, and the tight rental market could do that as well.”
Marron Real Estate Licensee and Principal Rhett Marron attributed Australia’s transient nature to interstate and foreign residents, yet he found the statistics surprising due to the deterrent represented by transfer duty.
“I would suggest the statistics showing that Australians move on average every five years is largely due to the transient nature of interstate and foreign residents moving and living in Western Australia for a few years before relocating back home or elsewhere,” he said.
“This appears especially true with employees of large mining companies when every four to five years there is a downturn in the market resulting in a significant amount of redundancies.”
Mr Marron added that the people who lost their jobs during these times were then forced to sell their homes because their right to live in Australia was often dependent on having a job.
“It results in a number of homes having to be sold, and this alone would influence the average rate that homeowners move,” he said.
As for those moving for lifestyle reasons, Mr Marron said self-employed business owners and young families were the most common.
“We are seeing a lot of people wanting to upgrade to larger homes in better suburbs compared to where they are now,” he said.
“A lot of sales are from people wanting to school their children in a particular school zone and this has played a huge part in where and when people have purchased.”