Soaring Sydney house prices to spark mass migration north: Macquarie

Soaring Sydney house prices to spark mass migration north: Macquarie

Soaring Sydney house prices to spark mass migration north: Macquarie

Updated 6 October 2017, 21:20 AEDT

A flood of cashed-up Sydneysiders could inject more than $8 billion into Queensland's economy in coming years as they flee soaring property prices.

Soaring property prices in Sydney are likely to spark a fresh wave of migration into south-east Queensland, according to Macquarie Bank researchers.

Macquarie's equity strategy team said the economic fundamentals had aligned, "for another great wave of interstate migration into Queensland".

"Sydney house prices are nearly double those in the other capital cities and job creation in Queensland is on the rise," the Macquarie team wrote in a note to clients.

If history was any guide, Macquarie argued, then about 130,000 people would make the trek north over the next three years, bringing with them a large transfer of wealth.

While an average of 134,000 left New South Wales in similar circumstances in the mid-1980s and mid-2000s, that didn't translate into a loss of population in Sydney as overseas immigration and natural growth led to an average net gain of 330,000 over those periods.

"However, probably the most important aspect of this is not the number of people moving, but the fact that they are asset-rich," Macquarie noted, with the wealth being built by Sydney property prices over the past decade.

"We estimate the housing equity transfer could be around A$8.1 billion into the region, with the bulk coming from NSW [$7.3b billion]."

Estimated wealth transfer to Queensland

Housing market Median house price (2017) Population movement Wealth transfer
Sydney $1,111,124 133,833 (net loss) $7.3bn (net loss)
Melbourne $847,432 11,583 (net gain) $600m (net gain)
Brisbane & SE Qld $517,539 167,444 (net gain) $8.1bn (net gain)
Adelaide $463,712 14,251 (net loss) $500m (net loss)
Perth $491,525 4,197 (net loss) $100m (net loss)
Canberra $621,804 6,152 (net loss) $500m (net loss)
Hobart $447,604 11,242 (net loss) $200m (net loss)
Darwin $549,523 9,059 (net loss) $100m (net loss)

Source: ABS, Macquarie Private Wealth

While $8 billion represents about a quarter of current annual real estate turnover in and around Brisbane, it would be a relatively small drain on the Sydney market — about 10 per cent of annual turnover.

Macquarie noted a migration on this scale would not only go a long way to absorb the current over-supply in the Brisbane apartment market, but would also be likely to drive real estate prices higher.

Melbourne also gaining, west is losing

It could also help take some of the risk out of the broader housing market which has become elevated due to surging prices in Sydney and Melbourne, which in turn has led to worrying levels of household debt.

Growth in house prices in those markets outstripped household incomes by about 20 per cent over the past decade.

"Provided there is no global economic shock, the migration wave will help leave the broader Australian economy in better shape by spreading housing equity around the country," Macquarie said.

The other big interstate migration currently going on at the moment is back across the Nullarbor.

Migration to Western Australia peaked in 2012, when about 3,000 people a quarter moved to take advantage of work available in the mining construction boom.

That trend has now largely fully reversed.

Queensland, with a more diversified economy, has not seen the same outflow of workers as the mining boom rolled over.

Victoria — currently receiving about 4,000 people a quarter from interstate, its highest rate of internal migration since the 1980s — was unlikely to see a net drift north according to Macquarie, as long as job prospects there remained healthy.

Queensland retailers were also likely to benefit from the demographic shift across the Tweed.

"Rather than being a direct transfer of housing wealth, it could also boost consumer spending as highly leveraged households in Sydney move pasture to become cash cows in Queensland."

"A 10 per cent transfer of the equity — or around $810 million — into retail trade would be equivalent to 18 per cent of Queensland's monthly retail trade.

The Queensland Government would also be likely to pick up a handy cash injection of about $600 million in transfer duty revenue — about 20 per cent of the duty generated last year.