Darwin's residential market seems to be going in a positive direction not many predicted a year ago. Will this robust growth be sustained this year?
The Northern Territory capital posted the highest gain in median prices in February, hitting 13.5%, according to the latest figures from CoreLogic. Despite this growth, it remains the most affordable capital city market, with its median price only reaching $438,000.
Terry Roth, director at Herron Todd White, said the Northern Territory has been a "safe haven" for property buyers.
"This has resulted in a population influx to the point where vacancy rates have decreased. However, once southern states again become a safe and stable place to live, we wait and see if long-term employment prospects are strong enough to support their life up in the top end," he said.
The first-home buyer segment has been an active driver of demand in the state and in the city. Roth said the intervention by the state and federal governments to spur activity in the housing market has changed the market sentiment, particularly among first-time buyers.
"Due to these grants for house and land packages, coupled with first homeowner grants, we have seen developing outer suburbs like that of Muirhead, Berrimah and Zuccoli see lots of activity. This level of demand was hard to see 12 months ago," he said.
However, interest in the segment might slow down as these support schemes end and as available stock becomes limited.
"Despite a favourable interest rate environment, it may well be that the surge in growth through the back end of 2020 is not maintained as there are no large-scale Northern Territory infrastructure projects on the short term to sustain the current levels of demand for housing," Roth said.