Top 10 most popular suburbs for immigrants

23rd May 2018By: John McGrath

New population stats give a fascinating insight into the most popular suburbs with our newest arrivals from overseas.

They show that immigrants continue to favour areas where there is a strong established community of fellow countrymen, affordable accommodation and/or proximity to jobs and universities.

Along the East Coast states, it was the CBDs that were most popular, followed by suburban areas with big immigrant communities, according to recently released ABS Regional Population Growth figures for 2016-17.

It’s somewhat surprising to see that Brisbane CBD attracted the highest number of new international residents in 2016-17, with 12,847 net arrivals compared to 9,316 in Melbourne CBD and 8,505 in Sydney CBD.

Melbourne and Sydney are well known cities overseas and as such attract large numbers of new settlers. However, immigrants are increasingly discovering the other capitals, with Brisbane certainly offering more affordable housing, not to mention great weather all year round and reasonable job prospects.

While the data didn’t specify where immigrants came from, we can draw some conclusions based on where they settled, especially in NSW and Victoria.  Take a look at the tables below.

We know it’s typical for those wanting to start new lives to do so in suburbs popular with fellow immigrants.  We also know that immigration from Asia and India is rapidly rising – in fact, it’s more than doubled over the past 10 years alone.  We also know that Sydney and Melbourne have received the lion’s share of Asian immigration in recent years.

It’s therefore not surprising to see suburbs with a high proportion of Asian and Indian-born residents being the most popular neighborhoods among new arrivals last year.

In NSW, Parramatta council area in Sydney’s west was the No 1 suburban hot spot for new arrivals, with 7,682 immigrants settling there. More than 20% of Parramatta’s residents were born in India and China, according to the 2016 Census.

Victoria’s No 1 suburban hotspot was Monash council area in Melbourne, with 6,734 new immigrant settlers. Monash has large Chinese and Indian communities representing a collective 18% of the residential population.

In Queensland, the Gold Coast council area attracted 5,374 new immigrants. The Gold Coast has traditionally been popular with New Zealanders (8% of the current residential population) and English immigrants (5.2%).  However, we’re definitely seeing growing appeal among the Chinese too, partly due to more Chinese development on the coast in recent years.

More than 3,500 Chinese-born residents moved to the Gold Coast between 2011 and 2016, according to the Census. The opening of a dedicated Chinatown in Southport in 2014 and the first direct flights to China in 2015 reflects the Gold Coast’s rising Chinese resident profile.

Immigrant Hot Spots – Top 10 LGAS with new arrivals 2016-17

Net overseas immigration plays a bigger role in our national population growth than natural increase (births minus deaths), so it has a significant impact on our property market.

Prior to the 1970s, Australia attracted mostly European immigrants. Today, we’re attracting mostly Asian immigrants.

Immigrant communities have given great character to their suburbs, with specialty retailers, grocers and restaurants providing traditional foods and goods. Some suburbs have earned special designations due to their large immigrant populations. Sydney examples include ‘Little India’ in Harris Park, ‘Little Vietnam’ in Cabramatta and ‘Little Portugal’ in Petersham.

The 2016 Census revealed that for the first time ever, the majority of Australian residents born overseas are now from Asia, not Europe.

We expect this to remain a growing trend that will influence demand for homes in our most densely populated Asian immigrant communities.