Canberra is sometimes referred to as the Goldilocks of the Australian real estate scene – not too cold, not too hot, just right. It seldom delivers a runaway boom and it never crashes. Canberra is so consistent, it’s boring.
The national capital has the major advantage of being the national capital. It consistently has the nation’s highest average incomes and the lowest unemployment. Vacancies are always among the lowest in Australia.
It’s an expensive city, with a median house price on a par with Melbourne. While Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin all have suburbs with median house prices in the $300,000s, sometimes lower, Canberra offers nothing below $500,000 and only one suburb with a median house price under $600,000. For affordability, buyers have to look outside the borders of the ACT to nearby New South Wales locations such as Queanbeyan and Goulburn.
In keeping with its track record of consistency, Canberra delivered some level of house price growth every month in 2020, when some of the major cities were dropping under the pressures of the early stages of the pandemic.
It has maintained that record in 2021 and in the month of September its median house price increased 2.0%, which is above the national average of 1.6%. Its median price for apartments rose 1.8%, compared to the national average of 1.1%.
In the first nine months of 2021, the median house price in Canberra increased 23%, better than every market jurisdiction in the nation, except Sydney (25.8%).
The 5 best suburbs in Canberra to invest in
- Isabella Plains
Most suburbs are priced in the $600,000 to $800,000 range and there are good services and amenities in most locations, with suburbs clustered around central hubs, because that’s the way the city has been planned and implemented.
The one thing that’s been missing until recently is light rail services. As a result, the most influential piece of new infrastructure in the ACT is the first stage of the light rail, which connected the northern suburbs to the centre of Canberra. This benefits suburbs in the Gungahlin District in particular.
This northern precinct of Canberra is consistently one of the most popular in the metropolitan area, attracting steady buyer demand. The suburb of Gungahlin, one of the key suburban hubs for infrastructure and amenities, has all the metrics pointing to price growth – very low vacancies, rising rentals, increasing sales volumes and median price growth in the latest quarter exceeding the level of growth in the past 12 months.
The nearby suburb of Harrison also has strong growth indicators, in terms of vacancies, rents, sales activity and recent median price movement.
The other northern stronghold of Canberra, the Belconnen District, is also often prominent in the ACT’s growth markets. The suburb of Florey sits on the edge of the Belconnen Town Centre, surrounded by green spaces, alongside Lake Ginninderra and within easy access of the University of Canberra. Vacancies are near zero here, with rentals up strongly. Rising sales activity has translated into an acceleration in the rate of price growth recently.
The suburb of Curtin, well situated between Yarralumla and the Woden Town Centre, has a series of strong indicators of growth, including rising buyer demand and recent uplift in the pace of the median price movement, alongside low vacancies and strongly rising rentals.
Isabella Plains in the south, near the Tuggeranong Town Centre, has near zero vacancies, a big uplift in rentals and rising sales activity to support the increasing pace of price growth.
The 5 best suburbs in Canberra to invest in
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|Suburb||Median house price||1-yr growth||10-yr average
annual growth (%pa)
Sources: Median price, growth and rental yield: CoreLogic data sourced from yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au dated 1 August 2021. Vacancy rates: SQM Research as at September 2021.
Cover image source: Ryan Fletcher/Shutterstock.com
About Terry Ryder
Terry is the founder and Managing Director of hotspotting.com.au, which he created in 2006 to help investors find the best places to buy. Terry has been a specialist researcher and writer on Australian residential property in a career spanning four decades. During that time he has published four books.
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