By: Valerie Johnston

In September 2016, Australia reported a four-year high in population, with a count of nearly 24.22 million people across the country. Just 12 months prior, the population was 1.5% lower, which accounts for the fastest boom in population since 2014 for the country.

The large majority of this population growth is attributed to immigration, with more than 55% of the total growth being immigrant families, according to the ABS. While this has reportedly led to several billion dollars being invested into the economy thanks to Australia’s investment visas for wealthy immigrants, it has not been a total boon for the entire country.

The population growth seen by Australia in 2016 is the equivalent of one new person coming to the country (whether by birth or by immigration) each minute and a half, roughly. And one way in which this has caused strain on the economy is in the housing market. Australia’s property market is largely dependent on the net increase of immigrants, called NOM (net overseas migration). With one of the highest population growth rates in the entire developed world, there are vastly more buyers flooding the Australian market looking for property. This drives prices up, makes it harder for people to find properties, and can change the demographics of an area so quickly that the market may not settle again for many years.

However, despite having the highest population growth in four years, 2016 did not top 2009’s record of more than 300,000 new immigrants. During both years, Victoria registered the fastest increases in population, with Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory following after. Due to interstate migration, certain parts of Australia did see losses in population, including New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory.