Unpacking Sydney’s Moving Trends

From economic drivers and property prices through to demo- graphics, education, infrastructure and more, join us as we take a look at the moving trends we seein Sydney and NSW.


Sydney is the oldest, largest, and most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. From its world-class beaches and scenic coastline walks, the city extends all the way from its bustling CBD out to the bushland and magnificent national parks.

As one of the most popular cities in the world with a high happiness index, rich job market and constant development, many people move to Sydney – but a significant number are also moving out to start new lives elsewhere.

Join us as we take a look at the moving trends around Sydney and its various characteristics that affect the comings and goings of both Australians and foreign residents.

Sydney’s Housing Market

One of the first things that has a push or pull effect on a person’s decision to move to Sydney is of course, what the housing market looks like.

Whether someone is looking to rent or buy, they will want to go somewhere that’s stable, affordable and with plenty of choices.

The Sydney property market has been one of the strongest and most consistent performers over the last four decades, providing rich ground for investors and new residents alike – even despite some small drops most likely due to the aftereffects of the pandemic.

Source: propertyupdate.com.au/the-latest-median-property-prices-in-Australia’s-major-cities/#sydneysmedian-property-price

However, according to the graph below from CoreLogic, Sydney house values have increased 507% over thirty years to $1.34 million, while unit values have increased 340.1% over the same period to $806,310.

Sydney House and Unit Values

Thirty years to July 2022

Sydney House and Unit values

Top 10 Suburbs by Price

One of the main draws of Sydney for movers is just how much variety there is in terms of suburb variety.

Each has its own flavour, offering everything from multicultural markets and events to nature, walks, beaches, ports and more. But, just like with any big city, it’s all about what budget the person has.

Most Expensive Sydney Suburbs

SuburbsMedian House PriceMedian House Unit
Tamarama$9.2 million$2.5 million
Vaucluse$9.1 million$1.35 million
Darling Point$8.88 million$2.75 million
Bellevue Hill$8.51 million$1.58 million
Centennial Park$7.46 million$780000
Woolwich$6.82 millionN/A
Double Bay$6.32 million$2.17 million
Dover Heights$6.08 million$982500
Mosman$4.75 million$1.68 million
Rose Bay$5.81 million$1.45 million

Sources : domain.com.au/sale/sydney-nsw-2000 , realestate.com.au/nsw/sydney-2000

Most Affordable Suburbs in Sydney

SuburbsMedian House PriceMedian House Unit
Emerton$695,000Data unavailable
Ashcroft$812,000Data unavailable
Blackett$680,000Data unavailable
Bidwill$680,000Data unavailable

Source: www.openagent.com.au

Schools in Sydney

Those with families will be keeping a close eye on the proximity of schools in Sydney, and many move into better catchment areas for this reason.

The city is home to several excellent schools, and Australia’s educational standards are among the highest in the world.

Sydney provides a ton of excellent options whether someone is searching for a nearby or out-of-town school, a private or public school, and specialist facilities such as single-sex or co-educational classrooms.

Statistics on schools in Sydney

Source : australianschoolsdirectory.com.au/greater-Sydney-NSW-schools

Where People Are Working in Sydney

Another primary factor that affects the moving trends to and from Sydney is centred around employment.

Sydney is well-known across the world for its prowess in the core fields of professional and financial services, information technology, healthcare, education, and research.

Source : Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2016 and 2021

Local Sydney Worker Occupations, 2021

All industries – resident

Sydney worker occupations in 2021

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2021 Compiled and presented in economy.id by .id (informed decisions). Source: economy.id.com.au/sydney/occupations

Who’s living in Sydney?

There has been a trend for many years now of international communities settling into Sydney and calling it home. Here’s a snapshot of how it looks:

Source : profile.id.com.au/sydney/population

Religious Makeup

No religion26.6%
Religious affiliation not stated22.6%
Presbyterian and Reformed1.8%
Uniting Church1.8%

Source : population.net.au/sydney-population

More about Sydneysiders

With so many people moving to the country from different countries, cultures and economic backgrounds, there’s a lot of data that can be examined. Here’s a look at the latest numbers from various areas of life.

Source : profile.id.com.au/sydney/highlights

Where People Move To In Sydney

The metropolitan region has around 650 suburbs that extend 70 kilometres to the west, 40 kilometres to the north, and 60 kilometres to the south.

Greater Sydney encompasses the area around its well-known harbour and stretches from the coast in the east back to the Blue Mountains’ foothills.

The fashionable inner suburbs and crowded beaches, such as Bondi Beach, are located south of the harbour.

A busy business centre and some of Sydney’s wealthiest districts, including the Upper and Lower North Shores, can be found in North Sydney, which connects to the CBD by the Sydney Harbour Bridge and tunnel.

There is a motorway link being planned to connect the pricey eastern suburbs and the western district, which makes up most of metropolitan Sydney.

When people are moving to in Sydney

How people get around

Transport is a huge factor that someone will consider when moving to Sydney.

For some, the sheer amount of traffic is reason enough to think about moving out of the city, but for others, the overall availability of other options is a draw.

What The Economy Looks Like

Unless there’s no other choice, most people typically don’t move to a city with a bad or falling economy. For them, the move is often economically driven.

Originally an industrial centre, Sydney has transformed into a metropolis of high-end, knowledge-based jobs in the business and financial services sectors, becoming the hub of Asia- Pacific’s economic hub.

Arrivals and Departures

Updated budget figures show 57,300 residents have left New South Wales for another state since the first half of 2020. In NSW alone, 460 people a day left the state through the final six months compared to 303 who moved in.

However, overall, the population has still seen growth as more people move to the city.

YearPopulationGrowth Rate
20175.37 million2.29%
20185.48 million2.05%
20195.73 million4.56%
20205.90 million2.97%
20216.13 million3.90%

Source : population.net.au/sydney-population

Where People Come From, and Where They Go

Sydney arrival and departure statistics

Source : smh.com.au/interactive/2018/the-world-loves-Sydney-australians-arent-that-fussed

Why people are moving

The latest Census data showed Aussies move house more often than ever before and a new national survey in May 2021 revealed 72% of Aussies believe the trend will continue.

Top three reasons for moving to regional Australia :

  1. More space (77%)
  2. Nature preference (77%)
  3. Better wellbeing (75%)

Top three reasons people are leaving busy cities :

  1. Traffic congestion (70%)
  2. Less stress and anxiety (69%)
  3. Reducing the cost of living (68%)

More Stats

Source : Regional Australia Institute, The Big Movers Report, 2020

Why do people move to Sydney?

  • Multiculturalism
  • Diverse foodscape
  • Entertainment
  • Beaches and surf culture
  • Numerous local attractions
  • Outstanding weather
  • Low unemployment
  • Low crime rates
  • wide selection of educational institutions
  • Thriving transport hub

Why do people leave Sydney?

  • High-cost living
  • Noise and disruption
  • Too many people
  • Lake of parking
  • Desire to own a home instead of renting
  • Prevalence of remote working opportunities
  • High commute times
  • Better family life outside of a major city
  • Pace of life and stress
  • Retirement

Looking ahead

The pandemic put the world in a tailspin, and Sydney was no different.

The past few years have been unusual and therefore do not fully reflect moving trends, as so many people were unable to travel, and global economies were in a fragile state.

Now that things are returning to normal, so will the number of people moving to this highly dynamic, prosperous and culturally rich city.

Source : planning.nsw.gov.au/Research-and-Demography/Population-projections

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