ACT Excerpt from the 2014 July Market report

Room for improvement in Australia’s most liveable city 

Despite rising to the top accolade, Canberra can still do more to make their city better, research suggests 

Adelaide is no longer king. For the first time ever, Canberra has knocked the South Australian capital off the top of the ladder to become the nation’s most liveable city.

Indeed, Canberra residents raved that their city is clean, well-maintained, environmentally sustainable and safe. Furthermore, they said there are good healthcare services, employment and economic opportunities, good roads and minimal traffic congestion.

However, the most recent Property Council/ANZ Property Industry Confidence indicates that sentiment has dipped slightly for the March 2014 quarter dragged down by the uncertainties in the political sector.

Paul Braddick, ANZ Head of Property Research, says the results reflect a soft outlook for state economic growth, property construction and property sector employment. 

“While the ACT economy has proven to be quite resilient, confidence has likely been weighed down by the planned Commonwealth Government’s fiscal repair and the likely associated public sector job losses,” says Braddick.

“In addition, the pipeline for ACT residential property construction is subdued compared to other states and territories, following a soft office property outlook and the slowdown from recent housing construction boom.”

According to the most recent Deloitte Access Economics Investment Monitor report, current construction projects are being led a series of upgrades to Canberra Airport valued at $480 million. There are only minor works remaining before final completion in the coming months. 

In fact, the engineering construction projects the research firm recorded has halved during the past 12 months. “Of the seven projects currently in the database, six are currently under construction and the remaining one has funds committed. That leaves a stark pipeline with no projects planned beyond 2016,” it says in its report.

“Commercial construction has not fared any better, with the value of projects sitting at decade-low levels. And with completion dates for the $130 million upgrades to the Belconnen markets, the $100 million ‘One Canberra’ office development and the ADFA Campus refurbishment fast approaching, commercial construction activity may slide further over 2014.” 

Suburb to watch

Since the late 1990s Spence has had it tough. A local school closed due to lack of enrolment, along with a few major shops. But signs suggest it could be about to bounce back. 

It’s just 15 km from the Canberra CBD and its current affordability is making it desirable for investors and first home buyers alike. Indeed, prices in neighboring Fraser are much more pricey at $547,500. 

Additionally, properties in Spence are set upon large blocks of land which are much bigger than houses found closer to the city centre. This makes it a good option for families with more than four people who have outgrown their homes.

Properties here spend just 56 days on the market, which is fantastic for ACT. Moreover, there’s only 0.31% of stock on the market and vacancy rates are just 1.39%. Once more people realise they can make significant savings by moving a little bit away from the Canberra CBD, further growth could be imminent. 

McGowen Close is a good option for investors. Many of the houses on this peaceful street overlook a nice reserve, and it’s just a few minutes’ walk to the Spence shops. It’s also a short drive to the Westfield Belconnen and the Canberra Centre. Bus services to the city are good, but residents should have cars as well. 

Can you afford to buy in this suburb? Find out how much you can borrow

Top Suburbs : berala , greenwood , sunshine , hebersham , collingwood

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