A record number of Australians are fleeing capital cities as state governments keep resorting to strict Covid lockdowns.
During the first three months of 2021, 28,439 moved out of Sydney as 28,540 people left Melbourne for good, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed.
Across all capital cities, 66,254 residents packed up and left.
When new arrivals were factored in, the population in Australia's capital cities fell by a record 11,845 in the March quarter.
A record number of Australians are fleeing capital cities as state governments keep resorting to Covid lockdowns. During the first three months of 2021, 28,439 moved out of Sydney (pictured is Fairfield in the city's south-west on August 3) as 28,540 people left Melbourne for good, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed
On a net basis, when people moving in were subtracted from those moving out, Melbourne had the highest exodus of 8,273, after the Victorian capital last year endured a 112-day lockdown.
By comparison, 8,169 more people moved out of Sydney than moved in.
Brisbane, conversely, had 3,274 more arrivals than departures.
The start of 2021 saw 23,573 people move into the Queensland capital, a higher number than the 20,270 people who relocated to Sydney and the 20,267 who made Melbourne their new home.
While Sydney's median house prices hit a new record high in July, rising by 2.1 per cent in one month to $1.258million, regional areas along the east coast had even faster annual growth, CoreLogic data showed.
The New South Wales Mid-North Coast, covering Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour, had an even better monthly increase of 3 per cent.
During the past year, Sydney property prices have surged 18.2 per cent, compared with 10.4 per cent in Melbourne and 15.9 per cent in Brisbane.
Regional NSW had an even bigger increase of 22.9 per cent with coastal areas particularly popular.
While Sydney property prices have surged by 18.2 per cent during the past year, in regional New South Wales (pictured is Wategos Beach at Byron Bay) home values soared by 22.9 per cent
Regional Queensland had a 19 per cent increase, with regional Tasmania enjoying a 22.6 per cent rise.
Australia-wide, the 18.4 per cent annual increase in house prices, to $695,800, was the fastest in 17 years.
Price records were also set in 70 of Australia's 88 sub-markets, based on a grouping of suburbs and postcodes.
But Australia's housing boom is running out of puff with the value of new home loans in June falling by 1.6 per cent, marking the first monthly fall in 2021, new ABS data showed.
This is occurring despite the Reserve Bank of Australia cash rate being at a record low of 0.1 per cent and the banks still offering 2 per cent mortgage rates.
Australia's housing boom is running out of puff with the value of new home loans in June falling by 1.6 per cent, marking the first monthly fall in 2021, new ABS data showed. Canstar's group executive of financial services Steve Mickenbecker said lockdowns (pictured is a vaccination queue at Sydney Olympic Park) were starting to bite
Canstar's group executive of financial services Steve Mickenbecker said lockdowns were starting to bite.
'For the first time in eight months new housing lending has retreated in June, coinciding with the start of Sydney’s recent Covid-19 outbreak,' he said.
'With the lockdown extending, you would have to expect a softer July coming next, as already foreshadowed by lower auction prices.'
CommSec senior economist Ryan Felsman said lockdowns in Australia's biggest cities were likely to dampen housing demand for the rest of this year.
'Prolonged lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne and virus flare-ups elsewhere are likely to slow the rapid pace of home price growth in the second half of 2021,' he said.
What are the four phases of opening up?
A. Vaccinate, prepare and pilot (from July 14)
Arrival caps cut in half to 3,035 a week; early, stringent and short lockdowns if outbreaks occur; trials of seven-day home quarantine for vaccinated arrivals in South Australia; medicare vaccination certificates available on apps like apple wallet
B. Post vaccination phase (when 70 per cent are jabbed, expected late this year)
Lockdowns less likely but possible'; vaccinated people face reduced restrictions; caps for unvaccinated arrivals increased; a larger cap for vaccinated arrivals with 'reduced quarantine requirements'; capped entry for students and economic visa holders
C. Consolidation phase (when 80 per cent are jabbed, time not announced)
Lifting all restrictions for outbound travel for vaccinated travellers; no caps for vaccinated arrivals; increased caps for students and visa holders; more travel bubbles being set up with countries such as Singapore; booster shots rolled out
D. Final phase (percentage or time not announced)
Uncapped arrivals for vaccinated people without any quarantine and uncapped arrivals for unvaccinated people with testing before departure and on arrival