Canberra boasts the kind of market fundamentals that make developers swoon. According to a market outlook report compiled by Urbis in September 2019, the nation’s capital has projected population growth of around 1.5 per cent per annum and planned infrastructure investment that includes future stages of the Light Rail Network.
Almost half of its well-educated, affluent population are employed in management and professional roles, and income growth rates have averaged 3.2 per cent over the last decade. Urbis reports rental yields hit highs of 5.9 per cent in some parts of the city and vacancy rates are low.
Steven Flannery, Knight Frank partner and head of the Canberra valuations advisory, says the region has reached a critical mass where it can deliver the kind of medical, educational and employment opportunities often reserved for larger cities. Standard residential lots are in strong demand as a result.
“I’ve never been busier looking at land and most is within that commuting belt outside the territory so clearly the demand is there,” he says. “It potentially runs to a supply issue inside the [ACT] boundary which will only drive price increases.”
Flannery says Canberra’s “healthy, clean environment” is a point of difference from comparably priced regions in Sydney, and means residents can access a quasi-country lifestyle within commuting distance of a major city and all its associated amenities.
“COVID has probably changed people’s work practices a bit as well, with people now having the ability to work remotely provided they have adequate internet speeds,” he says. “That means they’re looking to buy within commuting distance but without the need to attend the office every day. So they can live in one of the towns or villages surrounding Canberra.”
Flannery says sales at Ginninderry, the ACT’s first major cross-border development, are indicative of the ongoing demand for residential lots on the city fringe.
“The land stocks present a year ago are now significantly reduced and all estates are struggling to meet demand at present,” he says.
Ginninderry is a master-planned joint venture between Riverview Developments and the ACT Government Suburban Land Agency that will eventually deliver 11,500 new homes over the next 30 years. The sub-region will be home to four schools and 10,000 square metres of retail floor space.
Project director Stephen Harding says the project has a focus on sustainability and liveability with initiatives often formed on the back of key partnerships. The project team are looking for a like-minded developer to invest in Strathnairn Rise Hilltop Village, a package offering of 33 terrace blocks and four surveillance blocks, each fronting green space and offering views to the Brindabellas.
Harding says the government’s focus on “the missing middle” – the residential offerings that sit in the space between greenfield development and apartment dwellings – has seen a push towards more terrace-style development.
“People like to have their own title, but not everyone has the money for a block of land to put a house on,” he says.
There are already 200 occupied homes in Strathnairn, Ginninderry’s first suburb, and the Hilltop Village offers a central, elevated site ready to build on today.
“We’ve identified what we think is a premium development site and we would like to see that go to a developer that’s like-minded and wanting to create something quite unique,” says Harding.
Open to developers Australia-wide, expressions of interest in Strathnairn Rise Hilltop Village are open now, closing on March 3.
Harding says Canberra offers the best of both city and country living and Ginninderry is well-positioned to capitalise on the increased interest in living in regional areas.
“It’s a very liveable city and it’s becoming quite an attractive lifestyle precinct,” he says.
“Canberra retains some of those regional qualities and all the convenience of being the nations’ capital in its own right. I wouldn’t be surprised to see over time more of a trend of interstate migration figures falling in Canberra’s favour.”
This article has been created in partnership with Ginninderry.
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