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Data says the Sunshine Coast is still the most popular place for Australians making a move

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The Sunshine Coast continues to surge ahead as Australia’s most popular region for those looking to move, capturing a record share of net internal migration over the last year.

The data comes from the Regional Movers Index and is put together by the Regional Australia Institute in partnership with the Commonwealth Bank. It analyses quarterly and annual trends in people movement to and from regional areas.

Data from the just-released December 2023 quarter shows the regional net internal migration index increased by 4.6 per cent over the last three months – its highest level since the September 2022 quarter and 13.8 per cent above the pre-COVID average.

The Sunshine Coast was the hottest place to move in 2023, attracting a 17.5 per cent share of all internal migration, up from 12.5 per cent the previous year.

It was well ahead of the Gold Coast, which in second place had an 8.1 per cent share of internal migration.

Other regions at the top included Geelong and Moorabool in Victoria and the Fraser Coast.

Graphic supplied by Regional Australia Institute.

Regional Australia Institute CEO Liz Ritchie said the lure of regional living remained strong, with 24.9 per cent more people moving from the city to the regions than back in the opposite direction.

“Regional Australia offers something more for many people, especially those from big cities – more space, more time, more affordability,” she said.

“This shift, away from capital city living, has been underway now for a decade.

“It was definitely super-charged by COVID, but this data proves the regions are still very desirable for a significant proportion of the population.”

Related story: City dwellers make Coast their top migration destination

Sydney was again the capital that shed the most people in the last 12 months, accounting for 65 per cent of all capital city outflows, followed by Melbourne at 35 per cent.

Regional NSW also accounted for the largest share of net inflows from capitals, capturing 36 per cent of all city dwellers leaving the big smoke, followed by regional Queensland at 32 per cent and regional Victoria at 30 per cent.

Paul Fowler from the Commonwealth Bank says he’s not surprised by the surging popularity of the Sunshine Coast.

Commonwealth Bank regional and agribusiness general manager Paul Fowler said he was not surprised to see the Sunshine Coast surging ahead.

He said the region offered a wonderful lifestyle experience and was one of Queensland’s fastest-growing economies.

“A skilled and diverse labour supply is one of the most critical inputs for any economy and Sunshine Coast businesses across a wide range of sectors are taking advantage of the growth in people coming to the area, moving at pace to explore new and innovative opportunities,” Mr Fowler said.

After historically high levels of movement across Australia in the last year, this quarter saw the number of people relocating decrease, both regionally and city-based.

This was attributed to the typical seasonal trend of reduced mobility in the last three months of the year, and the uncertainty that 2023 delivered through repeated interest rate rises and high property prices.

Despite this, capital-to-regional migration remains 2.1 per cent above the pre-COVID average.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

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