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Big cities to dominate population growth

By PEXA & Informed Decisions (.id) • 20 Oct 2023

Return to city id and PEXA

New national forecast data finds regional renaissance has ended

.id forecasts 7.4 million more Australians by 2041, requiring 2 million new homes across our four major cities

Melbourne, Australia: The COVID-inspired rush to the regions is over, with two thirds of Australia’s population growth in the next two decades to be concentrated in the big four cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

Exclusive forecasts released today by PEXA’s 100% owned demographic consulting business, Informed Decisions (.id), reveals that the nation’s population is forecast to grow by 7.4 million by 2041, requiring an additional two million dwellings across our four major cities which will account for over 65% of forecast population growth.

Following a five-year period of significant growth in regional areas, in part driven by COVID-19 and work-from-home trends, a re-opening of national borders is seeing a return of urban population growth that is forecast to continue for many years to come.

.id return to city buildings

This return to cities is being driven by the availability of study and work opportunities, and higher concentrations of people at their family-forming stages life in urban areas.

CEO of .id Lailani Burra said: “What we found was that the regional growth we’ve seen over the past few years was caused by an interruption to regular programming. Where these areas typically lose population – predominantly young people, to larger cities – COVID and university lockdowns had put a halt to. So most of the growth was not from people coming, but from people not leaving these regional areas.”

With the growth in the urban population returning and forecast to continue over the next 25 years it is important that there is sufficient capacity in our cities to accommodate this population growth both in terms of housing supply, and infrastructure and services needed to support well-integrated and socially mobile communities.

To help tackle this issue, .id has identified every development site across Australia between now and the next 25 years, organised by location, capacity, and timing and sequence of development. The data set represents the first time a full data set of this nature across all local areas has been made available and has taken approximately 15 years to compile. Covering 15,353 surburbs and broken down by 57,523 SA1 building blocks, custom forecasts areas can be created to fit different catchment areas – local planning areas, school, water, retail trade – anywhere across the country.

Key findings

  • The four largest states will receive 93% of Australia’s forecast population growth to 2041, with the four capitals receiving 67% of that total growth.
  • Victoria’s population is forecast to add 2.0 million with 1.6 million occurring in Greater Melbourne and requiring 723,000 additional dwellings
  • New South Wales population is forecast to add 1.7 million with 1.2 million occurring in Greater Sydney and requiring 582,000 additional dwellings.
  • Queensland is forecast to add 1.6 million with 1.0 million occurring in Greater Brisbane and requiring 381,000 additional dwellings.
  • Western Australia is forecast to 0.9 million with 0.8 million occurring in Greater Perth and requiring 334,000 additional dwellings.
  • Tasmania is forecast to face a demographic imbalance problem with young people once again leaving to the mainland and people in retirement age groups continuing to move to Tasmania.
  • Sunshine Coast is forecast to triple its retirement aged population over the next 25 years caused by a combination of migration from other regions/states and the current population ageing in place.
.id return to city findings

Ms Burra said: “We often talk about population and housing challenges at the national, state or local government area level, but this work quantifies the impacts at the much more detailed suburbs/community/local area level. Overseas migration will continue to have a significant impact on the future of Australia, but it won’t affect every community in the same way. With our data, we can show when key growth areas are forecast to grow over the next 25 years, how many people will be added, how the age groups that live in different places will change and how many houses are forecast to be built.

“Our goal is to help quantify the impact of population dynamics on our cities, identify when and where there will be demand for housing, infrastructure and services and pre-empt what the shape of our future cities will be.”





For further commentary or information, please contact:

Danielle Tricarico – Head of Corporate Affairs, PEXA
M: 0403 688 980


About .id (Informed Decision)
.id is a wholly owned subsidiary of the PEXA Group with more than 25 years’ experience converting national demographic, housing and economic trends into local stories. As Australia’s leading provider of tools and consulting services to support local area decision making, .id works with clients including local and state governments, education providers, housing developers, retailers, health care providers, utilities companies, banks & insurers, sporting organisations and planning consultants, to enable more informed location-based planning decisions.

About PEXA
PEXA is a world-leading ASX-listed digital property exchange platform and property insights solutions business. Since 2014, PEXA has facilitated more than 16 million property settlements through the PEXA Exchange in Australia, with 88% market reach, and in 2022 PEXA launched in the UK.
The PEXA Group of companies, including .id (Informed Decisions), Value Australia and Land Insight, delivers digital insights and property solutions that help government, financial institutions, banks and property practitioners to unlock the future value of property.

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