While buyer activity is up, Darwin’s overall performance is still in decline, with prices falling and vacancy rates on the rise
Buyers made their presence felt a little more in Darwin as 2018 wound down. Sales in the house market increased by 1.5% in the September quarter compared to the previous three months, according to the Real Estate Local Market report published by the Real Estate Institute of NT (REINT).
While this could be a sign of things to come in 2019, the performance of the rest of the market shows that Darwin is not yet ready to recover from its long downswing. In fact, for the first time since 2009, Darwin’s median house price slipped below $500,000.
“The figures for quarter three don’t fill us with any glee – Alice Springs saw house sales slow this quarter, falling by a sizeable 16.5%. Unit sales in Darwin also did not fare well this quarter, with sales volumes falling 32.2% lower than in 2017,” reports Quentin Kilian, CEO of REINT.
The rental market is on the wrong track as well – house rents took a significant nosedive to $372.50 per week, helping to push yields in this market down to 3.9%. Meanwhile, weekly unit rents dipped to $351.
Rays of light in the market
Not all news is bad for Darwin, however. Palmerston, for instance, recorded a median house price of $450,000 in the September 2018 quarter, following 5.9% growth. Units experienced an upswing as well, with sales increasing by 14.3%. Alice Springs also saw a 30% boost in unit sales compared to 2017.
“Darwin hasn’t shown the signs of the recovery, at least not just yet. That being said, where there is pain for some there are gains for others. A soft market like this is perfect for first home buyers and investors,” Kilian says.
Herron Todd White’s Month in Review report for November 2018 highlights Darwin City as an excellent spot for retirees, given the number of unit complexes in the area. These complexes have swimming pools, are safe and offer great views, while also being close to amenities such as the waterfront precinct, dining, the local convention centre, the business campus of Charles Darwin University, and the CBD itself.
Within the inner city, Parap and Ludmilla are well-located suburbs with easy access to the marina.
“Parap is a perennially popular spot, peppered with two-storey townhouses and freestanding homes on 350–600 square metre blocks of land,” the report says. ”Meanwhile, Ludmilla contains well-priced ground-level units. Larrakeyah is also an excellent pick that has something for everyone – whether that’s high-density apartment complexes or townhouses with private courtyards.”
SUBURB TO WATCH
SADADEEN: Affordability and yield give units a boost
After a weak 2013, Sadadeen’s unit market has bounced back over the past fi ve year, reporting 3.8% growth in the 12 months to November 2018.
Apartments have a median price of less than $300,000. Coupled with remarkably high average returns of 6.9% on rent, this makes Sadadeen one of the best prospects for anyone considering the Alice Springs market. The housing market is not doing as well, but properties are still affordable, at a little over $400,000.
The suburb is named for Afghan cameleer Charlie Sadadeen. It is well located, with easy access to public transport – the Alice Springs train station is just 3km away. There are also several schools in the vicinity.
Affordability: Houses and units are both highly affordable and offer yields of more than 6%
Location: Sadadeen is close to the Alice Springs train station and schools