New images have captured the stark reality for homeowners who, faced with a worsening cost-of-living crisis, have been priced out of big cities.

The latest Regional Movers Index revealed migration to Australia’s regional centres was up 7.9 per cent in the first three months of the year.

The rate at which people emigrated to regional areas exceeded not only pre-pandemic levels but the Covid average, according to the data.

The impact the years-long exodus has had on the country’s regional hubs has been captured by new aerial imagery produced by Nearmap.

The imaging company’s director, M’Shenda Turner, said the photos captured the “remarkable shift” in regional Australia over the past decade.

“From Western Australia to NSW and Queensland, the growing preference of Australians to live outside major cities is seeing regional cities like Geraldton in WA and Bathurst in NSW continue to gain population growth,” Ms Turner said.

“Location insights and frequently refreshed aerial imagery can provide essential information for local councils and urban planners to understand the impact of urbanisation on the environment and the liveability of these growth areas.”


Sydney remained the biggest shedder of population in the March and June 2023 quarters, according to the RMI.

The city remarkably accounted for about 94 per cent of capital city net outflow in the 12 months to June 2023.

That number is up 66 per cent from this time last year, with regional Queensland, NSW and Victoria being the biggest beneficiaries.

In regional NSW, the city of Dubbo has ballooned with new arrivals – with many more on the way.

The neighbouring mid-western region recorded some of the highest net migration in the June 2023 quarter.

The RMI report cites the emergence of more remote regional job opportunities as being a key motivator for the move.


While Melbourne shed less of its population than Sydney, Victoria still witnessed significant regional emigration.

Popular because of its proximity to Melbourne, Geelong was the recipient of one of the largest net internal migration flows over 12 months.

Geelong recorded an 8.3 per cent in-flow of regional migration in the 12 months to June 2023, about 5.6 per cent of which was from cities.

The Greater Bendigo area meanwhile came in fourth in terms of annual growth in net intra-regional migration between June 2022-2023.


The beachside locals of South East Queensland predictably topped many of the RMI’s lists for migration in June 2023.

The Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast received the largest shares of net capital-to-regions migration in the 12 months to June 2023.

As for intra-regional migration, the Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast, Toowoomba, and Bundaberg all made the top five.

“Regional Queensland again lured a large share of regional movers,” the RMI report stated.

“This followed the trend observed in recent quarters, with regional movers tending to gravitate towards the larger regional centres.

“The Sunshine Coast increased in popularity among regional movers – rising from fourth place to first in the June quarter.

“This result was buoyed by strong year-on-year growth in net regional inflows of 92.1 per cent in the 12 months to June 2023.”

South Australia

South Australia was also represented on the RMI report, with a 61.6 per cent capital-to-regional migration to Alexandria.

“Alexandrina posted the highest quarterly growth across the top five of 32.7 per cent to emerge as a new regional growth hotspot,” RMI said.

Western Australia

As for Western Australia, Greater Geraldton topped the list of total net internal migration for the trailing year.

“The regional LGAs experiencing the greatest growth in net internal migration inflows (over the year to June 2023) saw some more remote LGAs make their way onto the ‘growth list’, with Western Australia in particular emerging as a growth hotspot,” the RMI report stated.

“Greater Geraldton topped the ‘growth list’ with a five-fold annual increase in net internal migration flows – largely on the back of strong net inflows from other regional areas.”


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By Rahul

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