ACT Excerpt from the 2020 February Market report

By Jacqueline So | 13 Feb 2020

Canberra may not be making the headlines or influencing the national property market’s movements in the way Sydney and Melbourne do, but it remains one of the better performers among the capital cities.

“Canberra’s property market is a quiet achiever, with dwelling values slowly but consistently growing,” says Metropole Property Strategists’ national director Kate Forbes.

“Houses are outperforming the oversupplied apartment market, but population growth is expected to remain strong, which will support underlying demand for dwellings.” 

CoreLogic’s Home Value Index for October 2019 indicates that over the three months to October, Canberra saw its greatest quarterly increase since May 2017, off the back of the recovery of the national property market.

“Focusing on housing market conditions across the broad value-based cohorts highlights that the market recovery is being led by the most expensive quarter of the market,” says CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless.

The findings of Knight Frank’s Australian Residential Development Review suggest that Canberra is one of the markets helping to lead this charge – after Sydney and Melbourne, Canberra units in high-density sites reported the highest indicative value of $92,500 per apartment.

Consistently strong

What has made Canberra such a consistently strong market over the years, even through the downturn that affected Sydney and Melbourne, is its focus on the long term, supported by a strong economy and job market.

While it is traditionally known for job opportunities in the public sector, Canberra has been moving towards private sector employment as well, so employment is not fully dependent on political movements.

“Canberra is a national front runner when it comes to employment, recording the highest annual employment growth nationally of 3.4%. It also has the lowest unemployment rate nationally of 3.3%,” says Sam Dodimead, director of project marketing at Peter Blackshaw Real Estate.

As a result of job availability, Canberra has experienced steady population growth year-on-year. Through smart city planning, the capital has not only accommodated the increasing number of residents but also thrived in the many decades since it was first chosen as the country’s capital, as findings from a study conducted by RMIT, Monash and the University of Melbourne suggest. The report notes that the tight-knit community and long-term governmental support in Canberra is a model for other cities to emulate.

 House prices are close to their peak

In the Woden Valley suburb of Mawson, houses are in demand, while the unit market put on a spotty performance over the three years to October 2019.

In the most recent quarter, the median house value was just shy of $775,000 – one of the suburb’s highest recorded median prices over the last decade – following an increase of 37.7% over the past fi ve years. The weekly average rental rate of $550 also held over the last 12 months.

On the other hand, the unit market has seesawed in the past three years, recording positive growth one year and negative the next. Prices dropped by 2% in the year to October 2019, with the median price slipping to just over $380,000.

Units: Unit prices were up and down over the three years to October 2019

Houses: House values in Mawson are among the highest they have ever been

Top Suburbs : flemington , nundah , murdoch , tiwi , st kilda west


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