It Looks As If Sea Change and Tree Change Is Gathering Pace

It Looks As If Sea Change and Tree Change Is Gathering Pace

The latest internal migration data shows that an increasing number of inter-state and intra-state population movements are to either sea change/tree change regions or the outskirts of the capital cities.

Each year the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) publishes data on internal migration across the regions of Australia. Internal migration data counts the number of residents moving within the state as well as across state borders. The tables provided within this report show the top and bottom 25 SA4 regions for net internal migration nationally over the 2015-16 financial year.

The first table shows that the Gold Coast saw the most net internal arrivals at 6,428 persons over the year.  The data series dates back as far as 2006-07 and the net internal arrivals of 6,428 persons is the highest on record and 39.4% higher over the past year.  It was also the first time since 2006-07 that the Gold Coast had seen the nation’s highest rate of net internal migration.

Top 25 SA4 regions for net internal
migration, 2015-16


Of the top 25 regions for net internal migration over the past year, 13 were located outside of the capital cities; generally in areas either adjacent or close to capital cities.  These regions were a mix of sea change and tree change type locations.  Interestingly, each of these regional markets has recorded an increase in net internal migration over the year. The data supports the strong price rises being recorded across many of Australia’s coastal and hinterland regions, especially those within easy commuting distance of the major capital cities.

None of the 12 capital city regions on the top 25 list were inner city areas in which high rise unit development is at unprecedented levels and density is increasing.  The capital city areas listed are slanted more towards an increase in greenfield development rather higher density new housing.

The second table shows the 25 regions nationally that have recorded the greatest losses from net internal migration over the 2015-16 financial year.  Sydney’s Inner South West recorded the largest migration away from the area over the year, losing a net 8,747 residents.  It was actually the 10th consecutive year that Inner South West has recorded the largest greatest loss from net internal migration. 

Bottom 25 SA4 regions for net internal
migration, 2015-16


17 of the 25 regions listed in the second table were located in a capital city market.  The regions listed are generally established areas closer to the city centre.  These areas are either seeing greater high density new housing development or very little new housing construction.  The non-capital city markets are characterised as regional and linked to either agriculture or the mining and resources sector. 

Looking at the broader capital city and regional markets, net internal migration over the year was strongest into: Regional NSW (11,827), Brisbane (10,149), Regional Vic (8,429) and Melbourne (8,270).  The net losses from internal migration were greatest for: Sydney (-23,176), Adelaide (-6,088), Regional WA (-4,433) and Perth (-3,270).

Net internal migration to Regional NSW, Melbourne, Regional Vi and Brisbane was the greatest it has been in at least 10 years.  Meanwhile, net internal migration to Sydney was the lowest since 2011-12 and it was the lowest in at least 10 years to Regional Qld, Adelaide, Perth and Regional WA.

Overall the data indicates that migration is gathering pace in select regions of the country, a number of which are sea change / tree change areas.  On the other hand, Sydney is increasingly shedding residents to other parts of the country and this is most likely linked to the high cost of housing.  Coastal, regional areas of NSW and Vic along with Melbourne and Brisbane appear to be significant benefactors of the deteriorating housing affordability in Sydney as an increasing number of people leave the city for more affordable locations.

About CoreLogic

CoreLogic Australia is a wholly owned subsidiary of CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX), which is the largest property data and analytics company in the world. CoreLogic provides property information, analytics and services across Australia, New Zealand and Asia, and recently expanded its service offering through the purchase of project activity and building cost information provider Cordell. With Australia’s most comprehensive property databases, the company’s combined data offering is derived from public, contributory and proprietary sources and includes over 4.4 billion decision points spanning over three decades of collection, providing detailed coverage of property and other encumbrances such as tenancy, location, hazard risk and related performance information.

With over 20,000 customers and 150,000 end users, CoreLogic is the leading provider of property data, analytics and related services to consumers, investors, real estate, mortgage, finance, banking, building services, insurance, developers, wealth management and government. CoreLogic delivers value to clients through unique data, analytics, workflow technology, advisory and geo spatial services. Clients rely on CoreLogic to help identify and manage growth opportunities, improve performance and mitigate risk. CoreLogic employs over 650 people across Australia and in New Zealand. For more information call 1300 734 318 or visit

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