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City of WhitehorsePopulation forecast

City of Whitehorse

Drivers of population change

Development history

The City of Whitehorse is located in Melbourne’s middle eastern suburbs, between 12 and 22 kilometres east of the Melbourne CBD. The area is predominantly residential in nature but also includes major retail and commercial centres at Box Hill, Nunawading-Mitcham and Forest Hill. The City is also home to major educational institutions such as the Melbourne campus of Deakin University, and Box Hill TAFE.

Box Hill was first settled in the 1850s, but significant development of the area dates from the 1880s after the arrival of the railway. The City contains residential development dating from this early period in the west to areas in the City’s south east where greenfield development continued until the 1980s. Housing development was initially focussed around rail and tram lines, but these ‘gaps’ were filled in during the post-war period as car ownership increased and transport infrastructure improved. The primary housing market role that the City of Whitehorse has played during the post-war period was to provide home owning opportunities for families and prospective families from the inner eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

Migration patterns

The development of the City over many decades means that suburbs tend to be at different periods in the suburban lifecyle. Western areas of the City, which have been established for many decades, are quite diverse in their household structures. In contrast, suburbs such as Burwood East and Vermont South which were still growing in the 1980s are expected to experience some renewal over the next 10-15 years as households mature. Education has become a major attractor of a more youthful, transient population, particularly in areas around tertiary institutions in Burwood and Box Hill. There is pressure for further residential development catering for existing residents of Whitehorse, residents of areas to the west (City of Boroondara) and overseas. Some loss of population to developing areas further east and south east can be expected to continue over the forecast period.

Historical migration flows, City of Whitehorse, 2011-2016

Note: The migration flows depicted above are historical and do not represent future or forecast migration flows or subsequent council boundary changes. The arrows represent migration flows to the area as a whole and do not indicate an origin or destination for any specific localities within the area. Overseas flow shows overseas arrivals based on answers to the census question "where did the person usually live 5-years ago" and .id estimates of international out-migration.

Housing role and function

As described above, different areas within the City of Whitehorse have different functions based on both era of development and proximity to education and employment opportunities. Box Hill, Box Hill North, Box Hill South, Burwood, and to a lesser extent, Nunawading and Mitcham attract large numbers of young adults based on the location of tertiary education institutions and access to employment. Mont Albert, Mont Albert North and Surrey Hills are attractive areas for mature families, while areas in the east of the City such as Vermont, Vermont South and Burwood East are expected to experience a net migration loss in the early part of the forecast period as children leave home to establish new households elsewhere. The variety of function and role of the small areas in the City of Whitehorse means that population outcomes differ significantly across the LGA.

Housing supply

There are also significant differences in the supply of residential property within the LGA which will also have a major influence in structuring different population and household futures within the City over the next five to ten years. Signficant development is assumed in Box Hill in the forecast period, building on its proximity to education and employment, as well as strong public transport links to the CBD. Blackburn, Mitcham, Burwood and Burwood East are also forecast to record significant development. In contrast, very modest growth is assumed in Blackburn South, Surrey Hills, Mont Albert North and Blackburn North, primarily due to planning controls and a lack of strategic development sites.

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