City slickers are continuing to migrate to the regions in droves in a bid to escape capitals locked down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Latest domestic migration data from Commonwealth Bank and Regional Australia Institute showed an ongoing influx of Australian living in major cities were moving to regional hubs and rural areas.
During the June quarter, the index conducted by the major bank and RAI found an 11 per cent increase in the number of people moving from capital cities to regional centres.
Net outflows were mainly from Melbourne and Sydney, where most of the major lockdowns have occurred during the last 18 months of the pandemic.
The index also found 12 of the highest growth regional local government areas were less than a three-hour drive from Melbourne, with big migration flows to the Geelong area, Moorabool and Mansfield.
The Murray River area in NSW recorded a 48 per cent increase in net migration, while Victoria's Alpine region saw a jump of 47 per cent.
CBA agribusiness executive Grant Cairns said lower costs of living and the shift to remote working was fuelling the escape from the big city.
"With house prices rising across the capital cities and flexible work options now more commonplace, the decision to make a lifestyle shift and move to a regional area has become a realistic option," Mr Cairns said.
Melbourne witnessed its net capital city outflow share increase to 47 per cent, a rise of 8 percentage points compared to a year ago.
Sydney remained the highest share of net capital city outflows at 49 per cent, while regional NSW took up the largest chunk of net migration to non-capital areas.
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Tasmania and South Australia also experienced a bump in regional migration, while Perth was the only capital city over the quarter to record a migratory rise.
RAI's chief economist Kim Houghton said the move towards the regions was likely to be permanent.
He also noted the boom in regional population growth was also being fuelled by significant job vacancies in regions.
"We've got almost 70,000 jobs going in regional Australia," Dr Houghton said.
"I really don't think there's going to be an enormous flow back to the cities.
"I think there will be this continuation of what we've seen in the last couple of decades, which is a move from the cities to the regions for people that are able to pick up those jobs and take their jobs with them."
Dr Houghton said on a national level, large regional centres such as the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Newcastle and Wollongong were seeing the biggest inflow.
Regional people also deciding to stay in regional centres in combination with the influx from capital cities was driving up property prices in certain areas, Dr Houghton said.
Mr Cairns urged the need for greater infrastructure development to support population growth outside of the major capital cities and also noted large corporates such as banks would play a role in creating regional jobs growth.
"We're ultimately in a very, very tight labour market," he said.
"I think many large corporates are really thinking about how do you attract and retain the very best talent."
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