Australian Migrants May Be Encouraged to Move to Regional Areas

  • Government examines ways to ease pressure on house prices
  • Regulator has tightedned lending rules amid property boom

The Australian government is considering measures to encourage more migrants to settle in regional cities to ease pressure on runaway home prices and infrastructure in Sydney and Melbourne.

"There are ways we are looking at that we might be able to provide support to people to choose a regional city, for example, if they can find work there," Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said on Sky News on Sunday. Housing affordability is a “whole of government effort,” and his department is working with the Treasury and finance department, Dutton said.

Housing affordability, especially in the nation’s eastern seaboard cities, will be a major part of Treasurer Scott Morrison’s budget next month after surging housing prices prompted regulators to tighten lending requirements in the past week. House prices rose the most in almost seven years in March, data from CoreLogic released Monday showed. In Sydney, average house values surged 18.9 percent in the previous 12 months, the most since November 2002.

Read more: Australian Regulators Too Late to Tackle Home Boom, Tepper Says

Australia’s migration intake had to be driven by the national interest, Dutton said. Getting migrants to move outside city limits and directing them toward regional centers could bring many benefits, he said.

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