ACT Excerpt from the 2018 December Market report

01 Dec 2018

The political sector ensures Canberra has a strong economy, but rising prices may end up quelling buyer demand

The strong presence of the political sector in Canberra continues to support this stable, growing market.

“The federal government is a major direct and indirect employer. The attractiveness of the local labour market has been a key driving force behind the population increase, and this growth trajectory is likely to continue,” says Kate Forbes, national director of property strategy at Metropole Property Strategists.

Over the past few years, the ACT has enjoyed a consistent and steady inflow of residents looking to benefit from the significant employment opportunities in the state, given the low underemployment and effective unemployment rates. However, it seems it’s becoming increasingly difficult to buy property in Canberra.

“The unemployment rate of 3.9% is low – even below the NSW average. But while Canberra may be a great place to live and buy your home, the high level of rates and the excessive land tax takes the cream off investing in Australia’s capital,” Forbes says.

“In 2017, the Canberra Times reported how owners of units and apartments faced a big rates hike as the ACT government moves to bring their rates into line with freestanding houses.” The increase in rates is a response to the lowering of stamp duty, and is prompting landlords to look at selling their properties.

“Although values have continued to increase, and remain at historic highs, the annual rate of growth over the past year was the slowest it has been since June 2016,” Forbes says.

High values deter demand

For Multifocus Properties CEO Philippe Brach, the current population growth rate in Canberra is still not adequate to support the city’s remarkably high property values.

“Canberra is a market that relies on politicians because it’s the political capital of Australia. The price point is fairly expensive, but it’s only got 300,000 people living there. I’d rather stay close to a capital city that’s got five million people in it,” he says.

“At the end of the day, your capital is going to be driven by population growth. In Canberra, there’s a little bit, for sure, but not enough.”

Given the many apartments under construction at present, oversupply could wind up becoming a big issue for Canberra if demand wilts due to pricing.

Strong growth in prices, rental rates

The wide streets and open layout of Bonner make it highly desirable to buyers, as evidenced by the suburb’s strong growth rates over the five years to August 2018.

House prices hit $688,471 after a boost of 9.6% in the 12 months to August 2018, while unit values have risen by 3.3% to just under $470,000. Rental rates have also increased, as the suburb is quite popular with tenants.

At the heart of Bonner is a shopping centre. There is a primary school that also serves the nearby suburbs of Forde and Jacka. Mulligan’s Flat Nature Reserve is on the northeastern fringe of the suburb.

Amenities: Bonner has its own shopping centre, primary school and nature reserve

Growth: Values rose consistently over the five years to August 2018

Top Suburbs : tuart hill , trott park , newcastle , berala , padbury


Get help with your investment property

Do you need help finding the right loan for your investment?

When investing in property, it is important to make sure that you not only have the lowest available rate that you can get, but also have the correct loan features for your needs.

Just fill in a few details below and we'll then arrange for a local mortgage broker to contact you and work out what features or types of loans are right for your needs. We'll even help with the paperwork. Plus an appointment is free.

How soon would you like a mortgage?
What is your Annual Household Income i $
Do you currently own any Investment Properties?
Do you own your own residence?
How much equity do you have in all your current properties?
First Name
Last Name
Where do you live?
What number can we reach you on?
E-mail address
We value your privacy and treat all your information seriously - you can check out our privacy policy here