Mount Gambier has experienced an influx of people moving to the Limestone Coast from capital cities as highlighted in statistics from the Regional Movers Index for the March quarter 2022.
The Regional Movers Index report stated Mount Gambier distinguished itself as a key destination, as the number of people from capital cities moving in during the quarter was up by almost 70%.
Regional Australia Institute Chief Economist Dr Kim Houghton believes part of the reason for the influx is due to the number of available jobs across the region.
“Mount Gambier has been in our top five growth areas before in previous reports but it’s certainly right up there this time,” Dr Houghton said.
Mount Gambier has been a hotspot for millennials, with approximately 70% of people moving to the region for this quarter aged between 25 to 40 and just 9% were Gen X.
“They are) very keen to work, prime of working life, prime of family life, so they’re not retirees, they’re actually looking to really engage in the workforce and be part of the community,” Dr Houghton said.
“I think this influx of people over the last six to 12 months will be a pretty positive thing for Mount Gambier in the long run, because a lot of those people will put down roots.
“They’ll join the sporting clubs, they’ll join the social clubs and be really active members of the community, put their kids in schools.
“People perceive the city as a great place to live and work.”
Dr Houghton said there was 85% more people moving from capital cities to Mount Gambier in the year to March 2022 compared with the year to March 2021, almost doubling the inflows from cities.
“When we started tracking this, people were going to the popular coastal areas but property started to get tight there, prices started to grow,” he said.
“So what we have seen over the last few quarters is the growth areas are moving further inland, so Mount Gambier’s very much a part of that pattern.”
However, Dr Houghton said the influx would put pressure on the community with significant house price rises and rental shortages.
“It’s probably going to stretch services in Mount Gambier, because I do not know that many people have actually been planning for this level of growth,” he said.
“The other interesting thing in this quarter for us is in the last couple of years there’s normally a flow two ways from cities to regions and regions back to cities – and in the last two years that flow back to cities has been quite small.
“People have tended to stay in the regions and that’s contributed to the housing tightness because if people are not leaving the regions in the numbers they normally do, then they’re not putting their houses up for sale or rent.”
However, Dr Houghton said it seemed to have turned this quarter as an increase in the share of people moving from regions back to cities was observed, which he said should start to ease some of the housing pressures in many regional areas.
“That will not affect Mount Gambier quickly because (there has been) such strong growth over the last couple of quarters, but there may be a sign that growth might be slowing a bit in the near future,” he said.