During the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdowns, we saw mass migration from major cities to the regions, and from New South Wales and Victoria to Queensland and Tasmania. We also saw Byron Bay become a haven for Hollywood A-listers, perhaps hinting at Australia’s emergence as a lifestyle capital for the working wealthy. Hotspots like the Sunshine Coast, Byron Bay and broader Richmond, Launceston and Hobart all began to see record growth, and have all added over 40 per cent on median house sales prices since the pandemic began.
The ability for working households to work remotely has enabled this trend to manifest in international migration, especially among those that can afford to buy a slice of the Australian coast. High net wealth individuals (HNWIs), defined as individuals with 1 million USD or greater, have moved to Australia en-masse. As a result, Australia has found itself among the leading countries in HNWI net migration, beating out the likes of corporate havens Switzerland, and Singapore, falling behind only the United Arab Emirates.
Political and economic stability appears to be a key driver in this type of migration, with Hong Kong, Russia and Ukraine losing large proportions of its wealthy demographic. The UK, with high levels of lockdowns and Brexit, has also seen large losses in wealthy individuals. While the pandemic may have slowed these trends in the past, it is clear that the digitalisation of the workplace has enabled households to migrate to a country of choice, and despite its relatively remote location, Australia appears very much to be one of those countries.
Data from Henley & Partners.
A surge in the luxury property market
We can see this inflow of HNWIs has led to a surge in luxury property sales. While Sydney has taken up the lion’s share of these luxury sales, with Mosman the most frequent suburb amongst these sales, recording 222 sales in the last 12 months. Units, while recording more subdued numbers, have seen extraordinary growth in this price bracket, with frequent sales from Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.