According to estimates by the ABS, the Australian population is close to hitting 24 million. With the current estimate at 23,995,697, we should be hitting 24 million in the next 4 and a half days! So what does that mean for Australians looking to invest in property?
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has developed three potential series for how the Australian Population will look over a 100 year period. The series are based on the assumption that the fertility rate of the country will be somewhere between 1.6 (low) and 2.0 (high). In 2101, it is expected that the Australian population will be somewhere between 42 million and 70 million. The more likely prediction is in the middle, meaning that in 100 years the population should be around 53 million.
These are long term figures though, so let’s think smaller scale. As of 2026, it is likely the population will hit around 30 million. Or an overall population increase of 600,000 people per year from this year onwards. It’s difficult to picture these kinds of figures into actual, tangible information, so let’s try to break it down a bit.
Sydney is the most populated city in Australia, with a total population of 4.3 million in 2012. Every year from now, 15% of the Sydney population will be added to our current population. Let’s now assume typical market conditions, in which every dwelling contains 2.7 people. That means that for every year, 220,000 new dwellings will need to be made to accommodate all of the new residents of Australia. These are not small figures. Even when spread across the entire continent, 220,000 dwellings is a lot of building to do.
So we know that the population is expanding fairly quickly and that housing is a commodity that will always hold demand. What now are the trends that we should be looking out for, as property investors?
Let’s assume you are building a city. To begin with you have a high concentration of population in one area, being the city, and then smaller concentrations all around the city in every direction. Now let’s double the population. You will need accommodation for everyone, but you can’t just keep expanding outwards, people need to work and most will work in or within close proximity of the main city.
Your solution might begin with building vertically. High rise requires little space on the ground and can house many people, but the closer the high rise is to the city, the greater the real estate price and the smaller your market is, after all most individuals are in the middle income bracket, thus city prices are out of reach. So you need to build more on the outer regions of the city to accommodate the majority of people.
It’s fairly simple logic, but generally speaking, if you want secure, affordable investment then you should not be looking at the city, but around it. Adding to this, if you can find a more rural location with a growing economy, then the costs for building will be significantly lower and the potential for higher return is greater.
So at the end of the day, with a population that is growing rapidly, you would be crazy not to start looking deeply at the property market, determining what you can afford to build and where you should build it.
If you need any help with that process, be sure to get in touch with us here at McCarthy Group.