By Herron Todd White
From 2017 to 2018, Adelaide recorded a population growth rate of 0.8%. This rate is the second-lowest of all major capitals and below the national average of 1.9%. The major driver of South Australia’s population increase is overseas migration which accounted for 60% of the population growth from 2017 to 2018. South Australia has historically had negative interstate migration, referred to locally as the brain drain. This phrase refers to higher educated millennials leaving the state to seek out increased opportunities. The brain drain has become a prominent talking point with both sides of government actively pursuing ways to retain young talent.
For overseas migrants, Adelaide offers affordability, security and a unique lifestyle with beaches, bushland and wine regions at their doorsteps. Specifically, the CBD has been popular with Chinese migrants with 17.5% of Adelaide’s population being born in China at the 2016 census. The changing demographics of metropolitan Adelaide is best represented in the inner northern suburb of Blair Athol.
Historically a working-class suburb, Blair Athol is now a multi-cultural hub with more than 50% of the residents being born outside of Australia. A drive down the northern section of Prospect Road provides a visual representation of the changing demographics of the area. If you are looking for a bowl of Vietnamese pho or a rich Afghani goat curry, this is the place to go. Blair Athol has a median house price of $465,000.
On a local level, population movement has been most significant in those regions providing affordability or a specific lifestyle. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2016 to 2017, the top five suburbs for population growth in South Australia were the outer northern suburbs of Munno Para West and Angle Vale, the north-eastern pocket of Northgate, Oakden and Gilles Plains, the outer southern suburb of Seaford, the Adelaide CBD and the outer south-eastern suburb of Mount Barker.
The area of Munno Para West and Angle Vale is located approximately 35 kilometres north of the Adelaide CBD. Historically a rural living and agricultural region, this area has undergone significant residential development over the past decade. Munno Para West provides higher density living with allotment sizes typically ranging between 200 and 500 square metres. Angle Vale has been developed to a lower density, providing larger allotments ranging from 1,500 to 2,500 square metres. Recently a number of new subdivisions have popped up surrounding Angle Vale with land offerings of sub-800 square metres. Development within this region has been spurred on by the approaching completion of the North-South Corridor, making the region far more accessible. Affordability has historically been a driver of growth in Munno Para West whilst Angle Vale has been a mixture of both lifestyle and affordability. These suburbs have a median house price of $257,500 and $465,000 respectively.
Located approximately 11 kilometres north-east of the Adelaide CBD are the suburbs of Northgate, Oakden and Gilles Plains. These suburbs each provide differing property types being developed in 2000, 1993 and 1950 respectively. Gilles Plains is going through a period of urban renewal with many of the original homes being demolished making way for newer infill development. The population driver in Northgate has been the lifestyle offering of the Lightsview development which encompasses 103 hectares and is due for completion in 2020. Price levels for detached dwellings within Gilles Plains and Oakden range between $300,000 and $600,000 whilst Lightsview and Northgate range between $300,000 and $1 million.
The suburb of Seaford is located 35 kilometres south of the Adelaide CBD. Developed in the 1960s, this suburb is popular with those looking for a sea change with all the comforts of a typical suburban location. The suburb shares its western boundary with the coastline and is serviced by the Seaford Railway Line and the Southern Expressway. The suburb is situated on the doorstep of the McLaren Vale wine region and Fleurieu Peninsula. The establishment of Seaford Rise and Seaford Meadows in the 1990s and Seaford Heights in 2014 has helped ease the pressure of the popularity of the area. Seaford has a current median house price of $373,500.
The rise in population of the Adelaide CBD can be attributed to the continually expanding apartment market. From May 2014 to May 2019, there were 2,305 unit transactions in the CBD which is an increase of 557 transactions from the previous five-year period. Many of these transactions can be attributed to the settlements of off the plan apartments. With a multitude of offerings, the apartment market appeals to purchasers with all types of motivation. The median sale price within the CBD is $552,000 and more specifically, the median unit price is $440,000.
Originally established in the mid 1800s as an agricultural hub, Mount Barker has become one of the fastest growing suburbs in Australia. Located 35 kilometres south-east of the Adelaide CBD and accessed via the South Eastern Freeway, this suburb has all the creature comforts of the inner metro area. Spurred on by the favourable re zoning of agricultural land, the population rose 17.2% from 2011 to 2016 with the predominant age group being 0-9 years, indicating its popularity with young families. The suburb offers a range of differing property types from terrace houses to rural lifestyle properties. Mount Barker has a current median house price of $370,000.
Changing populations play a significant role in the broader property market. A change in population size can cause price level fluctuations whilst a change in population demographic visibly alters a suburb’s taste, smell and appearance. With an aim to halt the brain drain and increase international migration, South Australia has high hopes of becoming a creative multicultural hub.
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