Bernard Salt 2018 REIQ Summit Speaker

Bernard forecasts Brisbane overtaking Melbourne

“Brisbane is elbowing its way into the cosy nexus between Melbourne and Sydney and by 2050 Australia will be defined as Sydney-Brisbane-Melbourne (not as it is currently, Sydney-Melbourne-Brisbane),” so declares Australia’s leading demographics expert and social commentator Bernard Salt.

Mr Salt, whose fame escalated sharply in late 2016 when he opined, in somewhat satirical fashion (which got lost in the rush to go viral online), that if the younger generation would only give up their smashed avo and crumbled feta, at $22 a pop, they could then afford to buy a house.

“When I wrote that column I was making fun of the middle-aged generation,” he told the ‘Journal’. “It was satirical, or it was meant to be. It went global,” he said.

Calls flooded in from the BBC in London, along with news outlets in Stuttgart, Germany, Caracas and Venezuela (a major exporter of avocados).

So looking at things learned from the incident, housing affordability is a hot topic and it seems few have a sense of humour about it.

“It really was a lightning rod moment for that tension between the generations,” he said, something all of us in the residential real estate profession are well aware of.

So, when he takes the Summit stage in March, Mr Salt will share his predictions about Brisbane and our housing market for the next decade.

“Everybody wants to know how they’re special and how they differ from everybody else. And I like to show them, ‘actually you’re not’. You’re actually very predictable. And it’s the same for Brisbane and the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast,” he said.

“Cities can be transformed and that’s then expressed through real estate. There are cultural triggers that express how the demographic is changing.

“For example when museums and art galleries start selling modern art pieces, which is happening in Brisbane, there are young people who have money moving to the area. The city is being transformed and it’s taking its place between Sydney and Melbourne,” he said.

By 2031 the population of Greater Brisbane will grow to 2.95 million, placing pressure on the city’s infrastructure.

“Greater Brisbane is a network of cities as opposed to the dominance of a single metropolis,” he told a conference recently.

“Sydney and Melbourne have a particular culture that is anchored in a different era in history. But Brisbane offers a different model. It’s a 21st century lifestyle.

He predicted migration rates to the Gold Coast, “always a boom and bust city” will pick up with the commencement of the Commonwealth Games.

“Connectivity is an important factor (that determines a city’s future),” he said.

Mr Salt will talk about Brisbane’s transformation as the “apartmentification” of the city continues apace. “Brisbane has been proudly suburban so this is a dramatic transformation,” he told the ‘Journal’.

With multi-storey apartments now accounting for around 30-35 per cent all dwellings within 3km of the CBD, and with CoreLogic’s recent statistic that Queensland has overtaken Victoria for apartment dwellers (NSW – 22% live in an apartment, Qld – 17%, Vic – 15%) the city looks vastly different to 10 years ago.

“It’s going through a really interesting transformation,” Mr Salt agreed. With the completion of Queen’s Wharf due in 2022 Mr Salt said it would be one of the missing pieces that elevated Brisbane to a new level of world city status.

Bernard Salt takes the Summit stage on Day 1. Get your tickets at REIQSummit.com.au