Canberra the strongest real estate economy in capital city Australia
7 Mar 2019
I’ve just completed a suburb-by-suburb analysis on Canberra for the Price Predictor Index and have found that this market is strengthening.
I’ve examined price data since the start of this century and I note that while Canberra is only a short distance from Sydney, usually its property market is doing something quite different to Sydney’s.
Canberra didn’t follow Sydney into a major property boom and now that Sydney is falling, Canberra is steadily on the rise. This, my research tells me, is situation normal.
Right now, Canberra has more growth markets than at any time since Hotspotting began its quarterly location-by-location surveys four years ago. The norm now in Canberra is suburbs where median prices have grown by more than 5% in the past 12 months, while only a handful have falling prices.
In this latest survey, I’ve have identified 26 suburbs where demand is rising, as well as 37 others where demand is steady and consistent. Unlike Sydney, the Canberra market has no suburbs classified as declining markets or as danger markets.
It is undoubtedly one of the steadiest markets in the nation. Indeed, I regard Canberra as the strongest real estate economy in capital city Australia.
The ACT is consistently ranked No.3 by CommSec in its quarterly State of the States report, which means that as an economy it ranks ahead of all states/territories except Victoria and NSW. It ranks first in several areas, including dwelling construction and housing finance.
The latest ABS data shows the ACT ranks first in the nation on population (jointly with Victoria), rising 2.2% in FY2018. Vacancies are around 0.9% (only Hobart has lower vacancies among the capital cities), rents are rising faster than anywhere else and there is evidence of solid price growth. Many suburbs have recorded double-digit growth in their median house prices in the past 12 months and others have grown 7-8-9%.
Some of the recent forecasts from credible analysts suggest Canberra will lead the capital cities on property price growth. Moody’s Analytics, for example, is predicting solid price growth for Canberra this year and in 2020, both for houses and for apartments.
The results of our Autumn 2019 survey support that optimism. Since the start of 2015, demand has been trending upwards in Canberra. It hasn’t been a dramatic rise but over four years the graph depicting demand in the market has trended north – to the point where there is now a record number of suburbs with rising sales activity.
And the price data supports that. Our suburb-by-suburb analysis has identified 31 suburbs where median prices have risen by at least 5% in the past 12 months, and 22 others where prices are growing but by less than 5%. But there are only six suburbs where median prices have fallen by more than 5%.
There are 13 suburbs which have recorded double-digit growth in their median prices and these market leaders are spread across the Canberra metro area.
But the Inner North precinct is the market leader on price growth. The median house price for Ainslie is up 34%, the median unit price for Watson has risen 30%, the unit median for Dickson is up 21%, while the median house price for O’Connor is up 20%.
The upper end of the Canberra market is going well. Markets with double-digit price growth in the past 12 months include Ainslie (up 34%), Dickson (up 10%), Garran (up 13%), Lyons (up 10%) and O’Connor (up 20%) – all suburbs with median house prices above $850,000. Suburbs in that market with price rises between 5% and 10% include Curtin, Deakin, Hughes, Narrabunda and Nicholls.
In terms of sales activity, strong markets are found right across the ACT. As we often find, the strongest demand is in the northern suburbs, with Belconnen the leading district with six growth suburbs, followed closely by nearby Gungahlin which has five suburbs with rising demand.