In today’s show demographer Mark McCrindle takes us through some of the lifestyle trends and their impact on where and how we live and the obvious impact on property.
Kevin: You might recall a couple of weeks ago, I chatted to Mark McCrindle and we were talking about the Urban Living Index. Mark joins me once again.
Good morning, Mark.
Mark: Good morning, Kevin. Great to be with you.
Kevin: Thanks again for your time. Mark, a very interesting conversation we had a couple of weeks ago on the show about the Urban Living Index. I wanted to come back and discuss that with you again. By the way, we’ll give you the web address for that a little bit later in this chat with Mark.
Just a bit of fun now, Mark. Let’s have a look at some of the lifestyle trends that we’re expecting to see this year, 2016.
Mark: Probably one of those is just how we work. We’re continually seeing changes in our lifestyles. We’ve seen teleworking. People work a bit more from home. People work through technology. We see even the new developments now where you have mixed planning. You have residential nearby to business parks or offices, and of course, retail in the mix of that. People want to work and live and play and connect in a community, in an environment where they don’t separate each of those.
One of the trends we’re predicting for 2016, we call it power working, which is the work equivalent of power napping. Power napping is where you sleep in non-traditional times and places. You just have a quick zap. Power working’s a bit like that. We get people now working more on their commute. They’re working in cafes. They’re working before or after work, sometimes in front of another screen, even unwinding at night. Work is not just a nine to five, you’re at the desk, in the workplace phenomena anymore; it’s changed. With apps and devices and technologies and the expectation of quicker response times from clients, we’re going to see continual changes in what work looks like and where it’s done from.
Kevin: Mark, of course, with so many people concentrated, living on the eastern seaboard in our major capital cities, I guess that type of lifestyle change is going to encourage more people to move into some of those regional areas, which will probably have an impact on prices there, do you think?
Mark: That’s right. We’re certainly seeing growth in the regional market because they’re being priced out of the cities, and the price rises in our capitals have been pretty crazy. People are saying, look, the regions are not isolated anymore. You have great lifestyle. You have excellent affordability. Of course, the technology, the infrastructure out there is fantastic.
You can get out of the rat race of the city, take a bit of a breather on the mortgage, get some pretty nice lifestyle for what you get out of that house from the city, and of course, the kids have some good schools. Again, the cafe lifestyle and the technology, even running a small business working from home, all of that is possible pretty much anywhere in Australia now, not just in the cities alone.
Kevin: Mark is one of the authors of the Urban Living Index, which we mentioned. I might just touch on that if I may. By the way, the website for that is UrbanLivingIndex.com. A great report. Mark, it pretty much focused on Sydney, but one of the interesting points I noticed is that the high density living in Sydney seems to be increasing. If you look at detached housing around Australia, I think the percentages are lower in Sydney. Are more people preferring to live in more high-density areas?
Mark: Yes, that’s correct. There’s this little demographic measure called the center of population of a city, which is the point in the city where in the whole catchment of the city where you have as many people west as east, as many people north as south. Now, in our eastern capitals, that center of population was continually heading west because the urban sprawls were heading further and further west. Interestingly, in Sydney – and we’re going to see the same thing in the Brisbane market – it stopped; it’s not heading further west. That’s because for each new housing development that is taking place in the urban sprawl further out, you have an infield development, a densification development to the east of that center.
It’s interesting that it seems as if the center of population, the sprawl is slowing because people are now opting for those densified living options. That is because of the location. They don’t want to travel further and further into the city or into the lifestyle areas on those motorways or public transport. At some point, it’s so far out that they say, “You know what? I think I’ll opt for a different style of living, a vertical option rather than just that house with the block out the back.”
Kevin: Yes, if you look at the map that’s on the UrbanLivingIndex.com website, if you look at the spread of the population, I wonder what sort of story it tells between that northern part of Sydney up to Newcastle and the southern part going down to Wollongong as to whether we’re going to see in-fill there. You’re right. You can see it looks almost out of proportion moving out toward the west.
Mark: That’s right. In Sydney’s market, we are now seeing growth in the northwest corridor and the southwest corridor. In other words, where they’re putting in some infrastructure, now we have some metro, some rail lines going, both of those arteries, which really had been devoid of some rail, that is creating some great opportunities and some densification there.
Now in Sydney, we have not just the built-up areas within ten or 15 kilometers of the CBD itself, but now 20 or 30 kilometers away from the CBD, you have these hot spots of densification. You have these 10-, 15-, and now on the plans 20-story residential towers that are around these transport hubs, these interchanges, that are obviously a fair way from the city, but because the shopping centers, the transport hubs, the availability of accommodation, and of course, café lifestyle that goes with that, we’re getting a lot more people opting for that sort of living. In a sense, Sydney becomes a city of cities, and we’re going to see that with all of our 2,000,000+ capitals across Australia.
Kevin: I’ll get you back to talk more about that in some future shows, too, Mark, but I want to thank you for making your time available today. The two websites for Mark are, of course, the UrbanLivingIndex.com website we just mentioned, and there is another one, too, that’s simply called McCrindle.com.au.
Mark, thank you so much for your time.
Mark: You’re very welcome. Thanks, Kevin.