Best city in world can tick off a few more accomplishments
Voted ‘Best City in the World’ by the OECD, Canberra is also earning itself some pretty high merits for its property performance
Healthy rental growth – the second-highest capital city growth, at 1.8%, in the year to
January 2016 – is just one indicator that Canberra’s tumultuous performance of recent years, largely due to government unrest and job cuts, may be settling down.
The bush capital has always stood separate from the Australian capital city crowd, which is driven by government movements and heavily reliant on the public service sector – and has been far from stable in recent years.
However, Canberra maintains high wages compared to the national average, and a consistently low unemployment rate, which the ABS Labour Force February Survey reveals is 4.9% and second only to the NT’s.
These factors have underpinned a stable but slow growth pattern for the Territory, achieving 1.7% all-dwelling growth in the year to March 2016, according to the CoreLogic RP Data Index.
Buyer confidence picks up
Penny Hyde, ACT and NSW licensed agent from Penny Hyde Buyer’s Agents, is seeing increasing confidence in the market after Canberra’s quiet growth over the past 12 months.
“Houses were the real winner, with some suburbs, such as Aranda and Weetangera, so far experiencing an addition of around $100,000 to median prices since last year,” says Hyde.
“The apartment market is the only sector that showed negative growth due to a strong component of new builds.”
Among the growth drivers are the side effects of the Mr Fluffy scheme, with many displaced homeowners seeking to stay in their own neighbourhoods, says Hyde. “Buyers are willing to pay premium prices just to achieve that goal.”
While Canberra has often been painted in a somewhat ‘ho-hum’ light, major urban redevelopments currently being planned by the ACT Government could add some much-needed colour to the city canvas, and attract a new wave of residents and boost the city’s tourism profile. The City and Gateway Urban Renewal Strategy aims to “transform and re-imagine the city” by creating a unique and vibrant district focusing on Canberra’s premier gateway, Northbourne Avenue, says ACT Planning.
With plans such as this in the pipeline, and further urban revival picking up pace in its inner suburbs, Canberra is slowly emerging with its own modern identity. Formerly industrial zones, the thriving
Kingston Foreshore and Braddon
’s hipster Lonsdale Street precinct, are now two of Canberra’s most sought-after locations.
Hyde says the revival of Braddon mirrors the edgy factor that can be experienced in Melbourne. “There are some amazing concept buildings going up in the area and tenants and people alike are flocking to the suburb.”
SUBURB TO WATCH
Casey: New suburb stacks up for investors
With only a 20-minute commute from Canberra CBD and 4km from Gungahlin
Town Centre, Casey is a newly developed suburb with plenty of plans in the pipeline.
Catering primarily to young families, the suburb offers both affordability and value. Nick Paine, sales consultant at Luton Properties, says it’s possible to pick up a four-bedroom family home from $550,000. “For investors, those houses are getting 5%, if not more, from their rentals,” he says.
According to Paine, renters are looking for smaller three-bedroom, single-garage homes. And while Springbank Rise may be considered the more prestigious suburb – with some homes valued at over
$1m – Paine believes the gap in status is getting smaller.
The new Casey Market Town, tipped to be Canberra’s most vibrant and trendy shopping centre and dining precinct, will be a major drawcard for the suburb and growth driver for nearby streets, particularly given the younger demographic who flock to the area.
Serviced by Barton Highway and with easy access to Canberra Airport, Casey is in high demand “because it’s so easy for people to live here”, says Paine.