Grow regions to help capital cities: RAI study

A new study by the Regional Australia Institute recommends a national awareness campaign to encourage migration to regional areas for cheaper housing and to reduce growing pains in the outer suburbs of major capitals.

The Regional Population Growth: Are We Ready? report says there are rapidly diminishing returns for agglomeration benefits as the major capitals – especially Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane – become larger.

“This is because the costs of being big – congestion and high cost of living – undermine the benefits of having additional people,” it said.

The report’s authors said many workers living in the outer suburbs of Australia’s largest cities would be financially better off if they moved to the regions.

Many home owners in our state capitals were paying double the mortgage of their regional city counterparts, but on a similar average wage, said Institute co-CEO, Dr Kim Houghton.

His co-CEO, Liz Ritchie, said the difference between the average wages of residents in outer suburbs compared to those in regional cities was about 10 percent across the country.

“However, the stark contrast emerges when house prices are compared,” she said.

“In Melbourne, the average home in the suburbs costs $776,276, while in Victoria’s regional centres, the figure is less than half, at $344,365,” Ms Ritchie said.

The institute has also released a new program which lets potential home owners find out which Local Government Areas give them the best chance of paying off a mortgage faster.

The site combines average wages in a particular LGA with average house prices.