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Home News Sydney exodus as property prices approach record high
The majority of Australians leaving a capital city for a region are coming from Sydney, with the cost of living still growing and property prices almost back at the record high levels of January ’22.
By Harry O’Sullivan
on 02 Nov 2023
Fact Checked
According to the Regional Movers Index, 80% of the Aussies who left a capital for regional Australia in the past year came from Sydney.
This is up from the year to September ’22, when the index, powered by CommBank and the Regional Australia Institute, found 60% of capital to region migrants were coming from the NSW capital.
The CPI index showed goods and service prices in Sydney rose another 1.3% from July to September, 5.6% over the year, with housing inflation up 3.3% over the quarter, the biggest increase in the country.
Earlier this year, Muval removalists revealed nearly a third of all outbound enquiries they received were from Sydney, with CEO James Morell saying the cost of living exodus “could be on par with Covid”.
With much of the record recent overseas migration concentrated around Sydney, property prices have been driven back up, and more Aussies are just simply being priced out of living there.
Since bottoming out in January, Sydney property prices have risen 11.6% according to CoreLogic, with the median price for houses and units now at $1,121,196 and $832,222 respectively.
Two Red Shoes mortgage broker Rebecca Jarrett-Dalton says for first home buyers, Sydney is virtually out of reach.
“Even with a healthy budget of $800,000, the price cap for buyers taking advantage of the government’s first home loan deposit scheme, buyers are priced out of most of Sydney’s suburbs,” she said.
“To stay within budget, first home buyers would need to search for properties on the city’s fringes on the west, south-west and as far as the Blue Mountains.”

In the past year, capital city property prices have mostly appreciated faster than regional areas, with demand returning to the big cities after a regional surge during the pandemic.
Lots of this however is due to international migration, and with demand pushing up prices, there’s still a sustained trend of Aussies leaving the city for regional areas, with affordability likely a big factor.
This is one of the factors that could in turn help mitigate price growth in the big cities, with more buyers priced out looking elsewhere, easing demand.
Regional Australia Institute (RAI) CEO Liz Ritchie says capital to regional migration levels are up 11.7% on the pre Covid average, and there’s growing opportunity away from the likes of Sydney and Melbourne.
“In September there were 91,400 jobs advertised in regional Australia, which is partly why we’re seeing such strong migration to our country communities,” she said.
The Index found 39% of Aussies leaving the capital cities moved to regional NSW, up from 26% in the 12 months to September ’22.
The Snowy Valleys Local Government Area (LGA) in southern NSW seems particularly attractive, with net internal migration increasing over 200% over the past quarter.
However, the most popular destination for internal migration was Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, which attracted 16.7% of the total in the year to the September quarter.
Image by Belle Co via Pexels

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Harry joined Savings in November 2022. With a degree in economics from the University of Queensland, Harry is interested in topics such as inflation and GDP, and is passionate about keeping Australians informed on the external factors that impact their personal finances.
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Over the September quarter, high interest rates and the elevated cost of living meant Aussie households were able to save just 1.1% of their disposable income.
The RBA decided against moving rates up once again in the final monetary policy decision of the year, but the tightening cycle might not be over yet.
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