Pete Wargent blogspot

CEO AllenWargent Property Buyers, & WargentAdvisory (institutional). 6 x finance author.

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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Greatest share of overseas born Aussies since the gold rush!

Overseas born Aussies at 120 year peak

The ABS released its Migration data today which confirmed that since 2006 most of Australia's burgeoning population growth has consistently been accounted for by net overseas migration.

The figures showed that a massive 6.6 million Australians - including a fair few Poms such as myself - were born overseas.

This takes the proportion of Australians born overseas to an amazingly high 28.8  percent. That's the highest proportion of overseas born Aussies we have seen in 120 years since the gold rush of the late 1800s!

Unsurprisingly the greatest number of those born overseas continue to hail from the Old Dart (the British Isles) and New Zealand, at a combined 1.8 million. 

Incredibly some 10.9 percent of the entire state of Western Australia was born in the United Kingdom, while 4.8 percent of Queenslanders were some-time Kiwis having been born in "the land of the long white cloud"!

However, the proportion of the Aussie population born in those countries is now in decline, a trend reported here previously - the UK falling from 5.,6 percent share to 5.2 percent, and New Zealand from
 2.6 percent to 2.1 percent.

The real story here is the rise, rise and further rise of Aussies born in China (447,400) and India (397,200).

Asia dominates 

The figures show that Asian countries are playing an increasingly important role in Australia's demographic make-up.

For example, the number of Australians born in India all but tripled over the past decade, while the number of Aussies born in China soared, more than doubling from 205,200 to 447,400. 

The data shows that Australians who hail from China and India overwhelmingly are stationed in Sydney and Melbourne, and not a week passes without news of how these shifting demographics are impacting market trends in Australia.

Analysis that I carried out here also showed that Australia is playing host to record numbers of Chinese visitors by the year, suggesting that the net overseas migration from Asia is a trend which is likely to continue. 

Migration driving population flows

The implication of this for property investors is that they need to understand net overseas migration and how this is going to impact property markets.

Natural population growth does what it does and will continue to do so, but the net overseas migration figure showed that in particular the state of New South Wales benefited from an enormous volume of overseas arrivals in 2013/14 at an astonishing 166,267!

Clearly a huge volume of immigrants remain attracted to the harbour city of Sydney, making balderdash of the notion that the property market may be "oversupplied" with dwellings.

However, a fair number of Aussies depart from those shores too leaving net overseas migration of an almighty 73,300 bolstering the New South Wales population, some 34.5 percent of Australia's total for that financial year.

The other states which benefited from net overseas migration were Victoria (+59,000), Queensland (+30,270), Western Australia (+32,270) and, to a lesser extent South Australia (+11,166). 

The figures for other states and territories were negligible. 

Of course, population flows need to be understood by property investors in a more nuanced fashion than simply this.

The net interstate migration figures showed that those leaving New South Wales for other states has declined to its lowest level on record as Sydneysiders stay put for greater employment opportunities.

The biggest beneficiary of interstate migration over the past decade by a huge margin has been Queensland at well over +15,000 per annum. 

However, this trend of population inflows to mining states such as Queensland and Western Australia has clearly been slowing in recent times as fewer mining construction projects remain underway and the mining boom shifts into its production phase.

The wrap

The number of Australians born overseas has hit levels not seen for 120 years since the gold rush.

When one includes the offspring of those born overseas, the proportion of Australia's population with close ties to other countries is very high indeed.

The key trend to watch for property markets is the increasing dominance of immigration from Asia - mainly from China and India, but also a range of other countries. In particular, immigration to Australia tends to be heavily focussed on a few of our capital cities. 

I took a look at the settlers by region in Australia in more detail here.