Queensland’s status as Australia’s favourite downsizing destination is being threatened by ongoing border closures, according to new research by Downsizing.com.au.

Analysis by Downsizing.com.au shows that, in recent years, Queensland regions have strengthened their position as the areas most likely to attract downsizers from other parts of Australia. This trend is now under threat because of border closures.

In 2018-19, Queensland’s Sunshine Coast had a net internal migration of 901 over 65s, more than any other region in Australia. The Sunshine Coast includes suburbs such as Noosa, Maroochydore and Caloundra.

The next four most popular Australian downsizing magnets in 2018-19 were all in Queensland.

The Gold Coast saw its number of over 65s grow by 783 due to internal migration, followed by  Inner Brisbane (701), Moreton Bay North (664) and Bundaberg’s Wide Bay (664).

At the same time, suburban areas of Sydney and Melbourne have been losing greater numbers of over 65s, including to Queensland.

In 2018-19, Melbourne’s Outer East had a net loss of 800 over 65s to other parts of Australia. Next in line was Sydney’s Inner South West (losing 632 over 65s), followed by Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs (which lost 437 over 65s).

However, the migration shift towards Queensland is being damaged by the State Government’s COVID-19 related border closures, which have been in place since 11 April. Queensland’s border remains closed to Victorian and Sydney residents.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on 2 November show that Queensland recorded 24,141 arrivals from other parts of Australia in the three months to June 2020. 

This represents a nine per cent drop from the same period last year, when Queensland had 26,596 arrivals.

The number of NSW residents departing to Queensland dropped from 13,110 in the June 2020 quarter to 12,278 in the June 2020 quarter, while the number of Victorian departees to Queensland fell from 8,284 to 6,096 over the same period.

Queensland’s internal migration remained high during June 2020, only because less people were leaving the State.

Border closure "holding back a significant wave"

The Property Council of Australia’s Queensland executive director Chris Mountford told Downsizing.com.au that he expected the migration slowdown would only be temporary.

“While the border closure has obviously slowed migration to Queensland through this challenging period, our members are reporting strong interest from people in southern states who are seriously considering moving up to Queensland when they can,” Mr Mountford said.

“There does appear to be many people reconsidering where and how they want to live following the pandemic. And Queensland is very well positioned to be a beneficiary of this.

“While some people are prepared to endure quarantine, or buy sight unseen, the reality is that the ongoing closure of the border is holding back a significant wave of potential interstate migration and investment into the State.
“So we certainly see the potential for stronger than average interstate migration when the border issue is resolved.”

Downsizing.com.au in August reported an increase in consumer search activity for Queensland, when the State had record low rates of COVID-19 compared to NSW and Victoria.