Analysis of recent ABS data has shown that the decline in overseas migration eased over the recent quarter, which is important for property.
ABS data showed that Australia’s annualised population growth rose by 0.01 of a percentage point to 1.6 per cent in the September 2018 quarter, which has been falling for the last 18 months, according to the Housing Industry Association and its chief economist, Tim Reardon.
“Changes to visas for skilled workers at the beginning of 2017 had an immediate impact on overseas migration and saw Australia’s population growth slow considerably throughout 2017 and early 2018,” Mr Reardon said.
“Australia’s overseas migration fell [by] 7.5 per cent in the year to September 2018 compared with the previous year.
“The rate of decline in overseas migration, which had reached 9.9 per cent earlier in 2018, appears to be easing.”
The stability seen in population growth was welcomed by Mr Reardon, as further declines would increase the risk in the property market.
“It is prudent for governments to maintain a stable, well-rounded migration intake as part of an overall population policy. This must [include] a strong level of skilled migration as part of the intake,” he said.
“Dramatic changes in migration intake can create shocks in demand for private sector businesses, including those in the residential building industry. Changes to migration policies that slow population growth risk adversely impacting Australia’s potential for economic growth.”
In response, Ken Morrison, CEO of the Property Council of Australia, said that rather than focusing on migration, new infrastructure needs to be built to support the population growth already occurring within Australia.
“We need better planning, smarter policy and city-shaping and nation-building investment to ensure that we continue to grow while providing Australians with the level of amenity and access to services they need,” Mr Morrison said previously.
“However, the most important numbers to focus on are the real dollar commitments being made to the critical infrastructure projects which will support our growing cities.”