A Roy Morgan analysis of people movements shows that Melbourne’s and Sydney’s CBDs resemble ghost towns with movements only 17% of pre-COVID levels:
The average 7-day movement level in the Sydney CBD hit a low of 8% of pre-pandemic levels in late July and have slowly increased since then as restrictions have been eased as vaccination rates have increased rapidly…
Average movement levels in the Melbourne CBD have tracked closely with those in the Sydney CBD over the last two months since Greater Melbourne entered its record sixth lockdown in early August…
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The movement levels in other Capital City CBDs have increased over the last few weeks as Australia emerged from Winter. Once again it is the Adelaide CBD which has average movement levels closest to pre-pandemic ‘normal’ at 74% just ahead of the Perth CBD at 73% of pre-pandemic averages. Notably, this is the highest level of movement in the Perth CBD for nearly six months.
To me, the more interesting finding comes from Perth and Adelaide where people movements are only tracking around two-thirds of pre-COVID levels despite being COVID-free for most of the pandemic and residents living life normally.
This suggests that CBD’s may not return to their pre-COVID glory as a significant share of people work from home permanently.