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Monday, 06 Jul 2020

Migration is underway in Australia from big cities to regional areas during the Covid-19 pandemic

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Migration is underway in Australia from big cities to regional areas during the Covid-19 pandemicMigration is underway in Australia from big cities to regional areas during the Covid-19 pandemic

News24xx.com - A new migration is underway in Australia from big cities to regional areas as the Covid-19 pandemic enables people to work from home and seek cheaper properties away from bustling central business districts.

In regional areas, such as in the Southern Highlands region near Sydney, real estate agents have already reported a dramatic increase in the number of people looking to find properties. Many are being lured away from big cities such as Sydney and Melbourne, where housing unaffordability and congestion are growing problems.

A former Sydney resident, Ms. Nancia Guivarra, said she had moved with her 12-year-old daughter from their one-bedroom apartment to a temporary residence outside Adelaide. 

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Ms. Guivarra, who runs a marketing and communications business from home, told ABC News that Covid-19 prompted their move and they may buy a property in their current location if her home in Sydney sells.

A new report, released this week by the Regional Australia Institute, showed that the trend had already begun before the pandemic. It found that 139,471 people moved from Sydney to regions between 2011 and 2016 and 74,715 moved the other way. A further 112,728 people moved from Melbourne to regional areas, while Melbourne received 91,119 people.

The chief executive of the Regional Australia Institute, Ms. Liz Ritchie, said the exodus was expected to accelerate due to Covid-19 as people adapt to a post-pandemic existence in which working from home is the norm.

More than 72 percent of Australians were living in major cities last year. About 52 percent of Australia's 25.5 million residents live in the three largest cities - Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

But younger families, in particular, have increasingly been moving to regional areas, attracted by the cheaper property prices, lack of congestion, and the lifestyle. Improved broadband access has made it easier to work outside cities. Local economies have also been boosted by cheaper flights to popular tourist areas, which have led to an increase in domestic and Asian visitors.

The exodus is expected to increase as the Covid-19 restrictions end. But the long-term challenge will be for smaller towns to hold on to younger residents, who often move to cities to study or work and never return.

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Australian governments have long tried to encourage population flows to regional areas, including by offering relocation grants and by basing government offices outside major cities.

Analysts say regional centers will need to boost local jobs and improve schooling and access to higher education.





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