House values steady but units suffer
The positive energy in the Canberra market appears to be confined to just the housing market as unit values slide dramatically
Canberra was the third best performing market during September, racking up 1% in median dwelling price growth, according to CoreLogic RP Data.
Since the beginning of the year, median values have grown by 4.2%, coming just behind Sydney and
Melbourne. However, this growth is only limited to houses, with units still suffering from oversupply. In September, median unit values dived 4.6%. Over the past 12 months, values dropped by 6.2%.
The rental market for units has also weakened, with Domain reporting a drop of 1.3% in the median rent during the September quarter.
Linda Phillips, head of research at Propell National Valuers, explains that Canberra has always performed differently to other markets, since it is tied to employment opportunities in the public sector.
“With the change in leadership in the federal government, there has been a new mood of optimism in the public sector,” she says. “The Public Service Commission has passed responsibility for the hiring of government staff back to individual departments and agencies, and the spectre of past cuts is now fading from memory.”
Phillips expects this will be reflected in the housing market during the next year. “Propell is projecting price growth of 3% in the next year, modest by comparison to Sydney and Melbourne, but nevertheless a positive move,” she says.
“The median house price in Canberra is the fourth highest in the country, which probably means that we won’t see double-digit price rises. But when Sydney and Melbourne are projected to show 5% price increases over the next year, a 3% result for Canberra would be a respectable one.”
Although the overall growth in house prices has been modest, there are considerable differences in demand between regions, according to Phillips.
“The regions with the highest levels of activity have been Gungahlin
-Hall. Within that, the suburb of Casey recorded growth in house prices of 31.4% in the past year, on 166 sales. Crace recorded price increases of 17.8% on 81 sales.
“Lyneham is one of the more expensive suburbs, with a median price of $700,000, and it has been highly sought after by both buyers and renters. The suburb has a wide range of properties available, from new townhouse developments to old heritage homes. It is an attractive suburb, with tree-lined streets, and it is close to the city,” says Phillips.
SUBURB TO WATCH
Lyneham: Solid demand supports prices
Located just 3km north of Canberra, Lyneham is an affluent suburb favoured by a younger demographic.
According to the ABS, the majority of Lyneham’s residents are aged between 20 and 39 years and earn between $2,000 and $3,000 a week.
The suburb is in high demand among renters too, which make up around half (48%) of the total population. This in turn underpins the rental market. At the time of writing, the vacancy rate is at 2.54% and the gross rental yield stands at 4.1% per annum.
There is currently a low level of housing stock listed for sale. According to the stats from OnTheHouse.com.au, only 0.58% of a total of 2,937 properties are up for sale.
Lyneham offers a range of housing options, including a mix of older heritage homes and modern townhouses.
It’s a highly desirable suburb to live in, as shown by its steady population growth. During the five years to 2011, the population grew by 3% to 4,485 residents.
The suburb has 29 parks, covering nearly 9% of its total area. It has wide tree-lined streets and established gardens. Residents can also enjoy the many scenic walking tracks, a thriving cafe culture and plenty of sporting facilities. It’s a sought-after suburb for young families who still want to be close to the Canberra CBD.
Among the most popular streets include Goodwin Street, Wattle Street and Salkauskas Crescent.
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