NT Excerpt from the 2012 October Market report

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Forecasts of a foreign investment boom in Darwin are seeing exciting projects underway to revitalise the CBD

Reserve Bank of Australia chief Glenn Stevens recently addressed an Anika Foundation luncheon, drinking from a glass he must have decided was half full.

The RBA governor said that the merits of Australia as a destination for foreign investment are starting to become clear for many businesspeople abroad, and that this bodes well for the country’s future.

“It is slowly becoming better recognised that the Australian economy’s relative performance, against a very turbulent international background, has been remarkably good,” he said. “Many foreign visitors to Australia comment on this relative success and I have noticed an increase in the number of foreign companies interested in investing in Australia.”

Stevens also noted that the Lucky Country offers high rates of return by international standards and that the rate of new dwelling construction in recent years has been low relative to population needs, further spurring demand.

Following on from Stevens’ comments, Colliers International’s Global Capital Investment in Australia Research & Forecast reports foreign investment in the Australian property market totalling $7.7bn last year – a 51% increase over the year before.

In this regard, the Northern Territory is expected to become one of the more attractive markets for foreign investors within Australia. Allan Vidor, managing director of the Toga Group, one of the country’s leading private real estate companies, says that a resource-rich environment – coupled with proactive government policies and favourable employment conditions – have helped insulate Darwin from the fluctuating global economy.

“Most experts agree that residential development projects underway won’t satisfy the demand,” he says. “[This is] not just because of the huge INPEX Ichthys LNG Project, but because of the growth of businesses servicing the gas industry.”

Vidor adds that the NT’s property market is also going to benefit from a population that is tipped to skyrocket – largely, as a result of the region’s new found economic prosperity.

Darwin changing

Darwin’s rising status as a healthy investment destination has paved the way for a number of city developments that wouldn’t have been possible just a few years ago. One of these projects is an effort to revitalise the Darwin City Waterfront.

Jointly developed by the Northern Territory Government and the Toga Group, the $900m operation aims to bolster the CBD’s retail, dining and entertainment sectors. It spans more than 25 hectares across a former industrial site and is now home to residential apartments, hotels, a wave lagoon, public parks, shopping, nightlife and a marina.

Toga Development & Construction executive general manager Fabrizio Perilli promises more features to come. “Completion of the next stage, including the recently-announced new Charles Darwin University School of Business and Hospitality and remaining residential blocks, will continue Darwin’s metamorphosis into an internationally-recognised harbour city.”

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