The Queensland Effect

People are crossing the border to Queensland in record numbers as beautiful weather, affordable housing and a laid-back lifestyle make it an appealing place to live in the midst of the pandemic.

Queensland has long had a reputation for its exceptional lifestyle. There’s the sub-tropical climate and sun-drenched winters, glittering beaches among the world’s best, natural wonders galore and famously friendly locals. And now, the pandemic’s put the spotlight on Queensland, as enduring lockdowns in New South Wales and Victoria change life as we knew it. People who once viewed the Sunshine State as nothing more than a holiday destination or somewhere to retire, now see it as a serious place to relocate, build a life and plan a future.  

The numbers don’t lie. According to the net internal migration figures from the 2021 March quarter, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Queensland gained 7000 new residents, the most Australia-wide, with 3300 of those settling in Brisbane. In contrast, Victoria lost the most people (-4,900), closely followed by New South Wales (-4,500). Regional Queensland also saw a surge in popularity. The ABS reports that in the March 2020 quarter, 17,000 people relocated to regional Queensland; the biggest net inflow of all the states. 

It’s no surprise to managing director of The National Property Research Co., Matthew Gross, who says Queensland’s lifestyle plus affordability, make it a smart choice for many. “The majority of people moving interstate at the moment are in that really important age group of 24 – 44. They often have kids, and their demand on schools and everything that goes with raising kids, flows into the economy and creates more jobs,” he says. 

“You can still buy relatively affordable property in Queensland, compared to New South Wales and Victoria. The offer in Queensland is as good as what you're getting in New South Wales and Victoria, and if you want to be in a capital city with good employment, education, climate and lifestyle, then Brisbane's got a lot to offer. Our cafe and food offering now is the equivalent of what you can get in Sydney and Melbourne. It is growing; we don't have the urban sprawl or the distance it takes to go multiple places. And as well as being an incredibly liveable city, you've got the Gold Coast to the south, the Sunshine Coast to the north, and Moreton Island and all the Bay Islands out to the east.”

Visit Elliot Springs, near Townsville, and the benefits of Queensland living are evident. This masterplanned community, surrounded by beautiful bushland, is the embodiment of a nature-rich, nourished life, with large lots and friendly neighbours. Built specifically to support growth, in a location surrounded by natural beauty, and near to shops and services, you can move straight in and have everything you need (or pick a house and land package and build your dream home from scratch). It’s the same in South-East Queensland. Their locations may differ but what they share in common is affordable living in beautiful locations, with the benefits of surrounding towns and suburbs with a strong sense of community spirit; everything you need to live well. 

“They may be a little further out, but masterplanned communities like Shoreline, Yarrabilba and Springfield Rise have everything you need,” says Gross. “Look at Springfield Rise, for example. It’s a little city in its own right. There are healthcare provisions and the Mater Hospital, universities, private schools, primary schools and more. In places like that you get a lot of value for your money. And realistically, on a like-for-like basis, they’re probably 50% cheaper than what you’re paying in Sydney and about 30% lower than what you’d find in Melbourne.”

Paul Riga, director of Urbis and expert on the Brisbane property market agrees that masterplanned communities can be a financially savvy choice. “The research we’ve done shows that masterplans are generally more resilient in volatile cycles and from an investment perspective, since in most cases, they are able to supply their own infrastructure,” he says. “They have the ability to offer a wider diversity of housing options because they often have a longer timeframe of development and multiple stages within that where they can be flexible with their product type and be dynamic. You really see a high demand from a wide variety of demographics that want to have that level of amenity, and community within their own estate.” 

As for the lifestyle, you can’t beat the year-round sunshine, the welcoming locals, or the abundance of natural wonders that the Sunshine State is famous for. Queensland’s slogan, beautiful one day, perfect the next, says it all. “When people are moving from regions which were coined as the most liveable regions to our region, that indicates to me that people are aware of the advantages we have here,” says Riga. “And projects, like the 2032 Olympic Games will leave a rich legacy, with heavy investment in infrastructure and connectivity, which will enable us to grow into the future.”