Darwin may be showing signs of life
While annual growth remains negative, quarterly statistics bring better news
Darwin may still be a down market, but it is certainly not out for the count, as consumer confidence is beginning to exhibit a slight uptick.
While CoreLogic statistics suggest that this capital remains the weakest among its peers, REINT’s findings for the March 2016 quarter showed growth of 1.4% in the northern suburbs.
That said, those looking to sell their properties still need to offer significant discounts to get them off the market.
“We are now witnessing a large number of vendors holding on to their properties and only listing if they have to,” says Herron Todd White.
In the process, the unit market continues to suffer as a lack of demand is causing price drops, even for properties located in the inner city and at the fringe of the CBD.
Affordability in action
Having experienced a price decline over the past 12 months, the general Alice Springs market is now in a position to offer buyers affordably priced large homes with four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Such dwellings are located in established pockets of the town.
Herron Todd White says, “With the broader market softening over the past 12 months these opportunities remain, with the homes providing varying levels of renovations.”
The new suburb of Kilgariff has recently completed its first properties, delivering new housing to the market. Named in honour of long-term Central Australian resident Bernard Francis ‘Bernie’ Kilgariff, Alice Springs’ newest suburb is situated 9km south of the CBD off the Stuart Highway.
Meanwhile, in Darwin, the suburbs of Malak and Karama offer affordable houses at median prices below $550,000. Units in the latter go for just over $350,000. Coupled with a good average yield of 5%, these suburbs may represent good investment opportunities.
Millner lists high-quality houses at a median price of $555,000, and these homes generate a return of 5%. In addition, Desert Springs and Girraween
have maintained positive growth over a five-year period.
SUBURB TO WATCH
Malak: Residential city escape boasts affordable housing
Less than a 20-minute drive from Darwin, the suburb of Malak stands out for its affordable properties. It also offers a welcome escape from the city into a comfortable, quiet community life.
Malak was mainly developed in the 1970s and 1980s, with many homes built on large allotments. Rental yields are remarkably high at 5–6%, and the vacancy rate is a respectable 1.9%.
Malak’s community-oriented set-up certainly adds to its appeal. The Malak Community Arts and Media Centre serves many northern suburbs in Darwin – it has a theatre, shopping centre and community garden. There are plans to include multimedia studios and a cafe.
The suburb is also home to several schools, including a preschool and middle school. There is much parkland in the area, as well as a sportsground. The Northern Territory headquarters of the Australian Red Cross is also in Malak.
The nearby suburb of Karama offers additional amenities, such as the Karama Library, and is within walking distance of Malak. Frequent buses also ferry Malak commuters to and from Darwin daily.
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