City-dwellers have been moving regionally in their droves since the pandemic began, with the South Australian regions of Ceduna, Mount Gambier and Port Augusta seeing the highest levels of migration in the country over the past year.
In the 12 months to March, Ceduna saw a 114 per cent increase in migration, while Mt Gambier saw an 85 per cent increase in the same time, according to a new report by the Commonwealth Bank and the Regional Australia Institute (RAI).
Port Augusta enjoyed a 74 per cent rise.
Western Downs in Queensland also experienced high levels of migration, seeing a 56 per cent rise between March 2021 and March 2022.
The local government area of Moorabool in Victoria increased by 56 per cent in the same period.
The shift to regional living shows no signs of slowing, with the number of people moving to regional areas rising by 16.6 per cent to reach a new five-year high in the March quarter.
This is almost double pre-pandemic levels.
People are mostly leaving Sydney and Melbourne to live in regional NSW, Queensland and Victoria.
Seaside towns are attracting the most people, with the Gold Coast in Queensland remaining the most popular destination overall, enticing 11 per cent of people from major capitals in the 12 months to March 2022.
The next most popular destinations were the Sunshine Coast, Greater Geelong in Victoria, and Wollongong and Newcastle in NSW.
Young folk heading for the bush
Young people accounted for the bulk of tree changers fleeing the urban centres, with Millennials making up 76 per cent of movers arriving in Port Augusta.
This cohort made up 70 per cent of movers to Mount Gambier, and 66 per cent of movers to Ceduna.
“Regional living is attracting more young people and particularly younger families who are looking for bigger living spaces at a cheaper cost,” RAI chief executive officer Liz Ritchie said.
High levels of migration to the regions have put housing markets under strain, with some regions facing drastically low vacancy rates for private rentals.