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How Will Changing Demographics Impact Perth’s Property Market?

Rentwest’s Director, Suzanne Brown, was fortunate enough to recently hear futurist Bernard Salt AM talk about Australia’s changing demographics and how this would impact home ownership.

It made us wonder how changing demographics would also change our local real estate market. After all, as different trends emerge, it’s likely to impact demand for types of living, as well as particular suburbs and styles of homes.

With that in mind, here are three key trends Bernard Salt talked about, and our take on what they mean for Perth.

1. A rise in the number of 20-somethings

Bernard Salt talked about Australia’s growing number of 20-somethings, especially those in their early 20s. This is being driven partly by a growing number of overseas students coming to study in Australia’s capital cities.

Many of these students tend to want to live close to the city centre where the universities are located, so they can experience the cosmopolitan side of university life.

Here in Perth, we’re even building a fantastic new Edith Cowan University campus right in the heart of town. This should open for the first semester of 2026 when it will become the workplace or study place for 10,000 staff and students.

The new campus will be accompanied by new student accommodation, such as the 556-room, 33-storey UniLodge building at 609 Wellington Street.

Only 32,856 people lived in the City of Perth (i.e., the inner city Council area, not Greater Perth), with a population density of 2,387 people per square km. By comparison, the City of Sydney has 218,096 people and a population density of 8,176 people per square kilometre; the City of Melbourne has 177,396 people and a population density of 4,752 people per square km.

We expect this to change rapidly.

As more students move into—or close to—the city centre, it should become more vibrant, with cafes, bars, retail, restaurants, and night-time venues following. That, in turn, will mean even more people want to live in the centre of the city, too – not just students, but families, couples, downsizers and anyone looking to be where the action is.

We’re hopeful that this will finally give the tired parts of Perth’s CBD a new lease of life as new apartment buildings and leisure and commercial developments help rejuvenate them.

We also expect this will represent a real opportunity for property investors who look to apartments in the Perth CBD.

2. An explosion of forty-somethings

Even bigger than the rise of 20-somethings will be the explosion of 40-somethings: the result of the Millennial generation (1983-2001) starting to move into middle age.

Millennials (or Gen Y) took over as Australia’s largest generation in the 2021 Census and, given that many permanent migrants are also part of this generation, we can expect it to become even more dominant over the next decade.

As this happens, Bernard Salt says we’re likely to see a rise in the number of people also wanting a slice of suburban living to raise the family. That might sound like business as usual here in Perth, where 77.8% of people live in detached houses, and another 14.2% in semi-detached or townhouses. However, with Perth now sprawling so far that it is the longest city in the world, it will take some imagination and creative planning to accommodate a growing number of homes, without adding to problems such as traffic congestion.

As we’ve noted in the past, as the Millennials age, we’ll definitely need more infill development, especially medium-density housing in middle-ring suburbs.

3. A moderate rise in the elderly

The oldest Baby Boomers will soon turn 80. That might sound old to some, but it pays to remember that an 80-year-old Australian’s life expectancy is now around 90. That means a growing number of people living well into their 80s, 90s and even beyond.

As Bernard Salt notes, this is likely to put increased pressure on aged care and in-home services. However, it’s also likely to mean more downsizers and more people looking for lifestyle-focused properties.

We expect to see a rise in downsizers moving into the inner-city and to Perth’s popular beaches. This, in turn, should lead to more apartments and developments in these areas—especially boutique and prestige apartments that appeal to downsizers who have just sold the family home.

Want more?

Are you looking to invest in Perth real estate, rent out your Perth property or find your next Perth rental home? We can help. Get in touch with our specialist Perth rental team today.

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