20/06/2019 - 13:10

WA population growth slowly lifting

20/06/2019 - 13:10


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Australia’s annual population growth rate increased to 1.63 per cent in 2018, and while WA’s growth rate has improved, it continues to be one of the slowest growing states.

WA population growth slowly lifting
HIA's Cath Hart says today’s data is great news for WA.

Australia’s annual population growth rate increased to 1.63 per cent in 2018, and while Western Australia’s growth rate has improved, it continues to be one of the slowest growing states.

WA’s population grew by 24,000 people (0.93 per cent) in the year to December 2018, putting it just ahead of South Australia with 0.84 per cent growth, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

However, in both cases, this was the strongest growth since March 2015, analysis of the data by CommSec found.

The recovery in WA's population growth rate has been from a low of 0.60 per cent in 2015-16.

Housing Industry Association regional executive director Cath Hart said today’s data was great news for WA.

“This means we should very soon be witnessing the end of the five-year decline in home prices Perth has experienced," she said.

“Population growth is recovering faster than construction activity. Once these new residents absorb the excess housing capacity that emerged after the mining and resources boom, we are likely to see a swift recovery in house prices.

“This will incentivise new home construction and finally generate the housing market recovery for which the state has waited so long.”

The ABS data out today showed the fast-growing states were led once again by Victoria with 2.18 per cent, followed by the ACT (1.82 per cent), Queensland (1.81 per cent), NSW (1.56 per cent) and Tasmania (1.24 per cent).

The rapid growth in Queensland and Victoria was helped by big gains from net interstate migration.

The Northern Territory recorded the biggest percentage fall in annual population since records began in 1982, with a drop of -0.4 per cent.

In the December quarter, WA’s population grew by 4,399 people to a total of 2,606,338. The positives were 4,001 from natural increase and 2,940 from overseas migration, offset by a net loss of 2,542 from interstate migration.

WA has been losing people via net interstate migration in every quarter since September 2013.

That’s a big change from the peak of the mining construction boom in 2011 and 2012, when WA was attracting more than 2,000 people (net) per quarter from other states.

While overseas migration is still adding to WA’s population, the numbers have fallen sharply from the circa 12,000 people coming here per quarter in 2011 and 2012.

Australia’s population expanded by 404,783 people over the year to December 2018 to 25,180,200 people.

The growth rate rose from 1.60 to 1.63 per cent.

Queensland’s annual population growth rate of 1.81 per cent is at 5.5-year highs.

A total of 248,400 people migrated to Australia over year to December, up from 240,000 people in the year to September. Migration is down from the peak of 315,700 in the year to December 2008.

A record 314,900 babies were born in the year to December 2018 - 161,900 boys and 153,000 girls.

Natural increase (births less deaths) for the year to December was 156,300, the most in four years, up by 8.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, another piece of good news for the housing construction sector comes from the state government’s Keystart loans scheme.

After announcing on May 1 that it would temporarily relax Keystart criteria, the government said the number of first home owner grant (FHOG) applications through Keystart jumped 17 per cent in May to 501 applications for new dwellings.


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