With Bundaberg house prices having risen 189% since 2003, a report in the Bundaberg News Mail draws attention to the impact of sea changers and retirees on Queensland coastal communities:
Of course, higher house prices would be good for many local residents, especially those who sell to the sea changers, and, as noted in the article, the popularity of Bundaberg as a location for investment properties has restrained rent increases (although some pensioners are struggling with higher rents, unfortunately).
Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch welcomes the impact of sea changers on the region’s economy but is concerned about Bundaberg’s low average wages:
Bundaberg region Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch said one of the biggest positives for the region was a drop in the unemployment rate, from 15% in 2003 to 7.1% this year.
However, Cr Pyefinch said wages in the region needed to improve to come into line with the rest of the country.
“I am concerned this region continues to have a disparity in the number of low-income earners (compared to the state average),” Cr Pyefinch said.
Regrettably for Bundaberg, and other sea change communities, a local economy that relies on sea changers and retirees is probably not going to be a high wage region. The new residents are no longer earning as much as they did in the city, so they’ll be very careful with their money. And the service industry jobs – in cafes and aged care homes, for example – that cater to the new residents are not traditionally high paying ones. So it’s very likely the over-representation of low-income earners in Bundaberg will continue into the future.