As written in the Herald a few weeks ago, sometimes people move. Sometimes they move to Auckland. Sometimes they move out of Auckland. Sometimes they even move country. But paragraphs like this can be a bit misleading:
As house prices in the country’s biggest city spiral out of control, Auckland homeowners are cashing in their chips and buying mansions in the regions.
Thousands of property owners are now sitting on million-dollar goldmines thanks to rampant capital gain. The lure of a traffic-free, laid-back lifestyle with outdoor space for the children is proving tempting for many, and one-in-10 Hawkes Bay sales are now to ex-pat Aucklanders. The Bay of Islands and Marlborough are also drawing “Jafa” homeowners keen to escape the rat race.
I did a writeup on internal migration last year – long story short, of course people move for all sorts of reasons, and for that matter Auckland has had a net loss of people to other regions for some time. But it’s tiny in the context of Auckland’s overall population growth.
Even the largest internal migration loss – between 2001-2006 – was still pretty small compared to those other bars on the graph. The 1996-2001 and 2008-2013 figures are negligibly small.
Incidentally, I expect a larger internal migration loss in the next five years – after all, we’ve got massive international immigration, with many of these new Kiwis heading to Auckland. That has put pressure on our housing supply, and no doubt it is a factor prompting more Aucklanders to sell up and move elsewhere, for retirement or a quieter lifestyle. We did lose more people to other regions over 2001-2006, when we were also seeing major international immigration. That’s probably not a coincidence. We could very well see something similar this time around, especially with many baby boomers at around retirement age. Check back in 2019 to see if I’m right!
Articles like the recent Herald one, though, aren’t very useful for informing the issue, since they only look at people going one way, and rely on anecdotal stories rather than statistics. Here are the actual stats for movements in and out of Auckland in 2008-2013:
We lost a few thousand people to each of the nearby regions, gained a few from Wellington and Canterbury (with the earthquakes probably an influence), and had very little “net” movement to or from other regions. How about the places mentioned by the Herald? We lost a net 132 people to the Hawkes Bay, and gained 12 from Marlborough. The Bay of Islands is part of Northland of course, but looking just at the Far North district we lost 585 people.
Each of these thousands of people have their lives and stories to tell about why they’ve moved, but taking a macro view, the diaspora from Auckland to other parts of New Zealand is more of a trickle than a flood.