• Written by News Company

Sydney has long been Australia’s most populous city, but growth figures from this decade show that Melbourne could be about to catch up. In fact, Melbourne’s population could surpass Sydney’s by as early as 2031.

In 2001, Sydney had 602,000 more residents than Melbourne. The gap has since been narrowed – as of 2018, Sydney has only 281,000 more residents than its rival city. And whilst Sydney’s population is surging by 100,000 per year, Melbourne’s is exploding at a rate of 125,000 per year.

What’s driving this population boom? Whilst immigration is a contributing factor, many of Melbourne’s new residents are relocating from other Australian cities including Sydney. The biggest pull factor is the lower cost of living, particularly the cheaper cost of home ownership. Whilst property prices in Sydney continue to soar, housing is still affordable on the outskirts of Melbourne where land is relatively cheap. In fact, it’s possible to find houses on the urban fringe of Melbourne that are half the value of those of a similar size and location in Sydney.

It also helps that Melbourne is growing as a business hub. Whilst Sydney is still home to most of the country’s corporate head offices, Melbourne has found itself home to a number of successful startups in recent years. Access to jobs in the centre is also easier for those on the urban fringe of Melbourne as opposed to those on the outskirts of Sydney – better roads and public transport links and a shorter distance make for a more reasonable commute time so that people aren’t wasting as much time going to and from work.

The cost and hassle of moving cities is also improving. It’s now easier to find a car transport company on an affordable budget – the growing number of long-distance moving companies has resulted in more competitive rates. This makes it easier for more families to justify taking the leap.

Of course, whilst moving to Melbourne has become the Australian dream for many, those chasing a new life in this city may want to consider some of the future concerns – namely, will Melbourne be able to handle it’s exploding population?

So far the city has been coping fairly well with the pressures, proposing ambitious projects such as the suburban rail loop to make movement around the city easier. However, there are concerns that the city is neglecting certain needs. Booming areas such as Melton should be building two schools a year to keep up with growth – however none are currently in the works. A number of hospitals will also be need to be built across the city’s suburbs by 2030 to match the growing demand, only a couple of which have been planned out.  If the city is to handle the influx of people in the future, it will need to buckle down with these construction projects.