By Herron Todd White
November 2019

The wandering eye for grandeur and a prestige address in the greater Darwin area leads in one of two directions – water views or acreage.

Long-held premium locations of Larrakeyah, Cullen Bay, Fannie Bay and Bayview remain the sought after water locations with ocean or marina views. Coming into more prominence are tightly held pockets of Nightcliff that offer Casuarina foreshore views and sections of Stuart Park that overlook Frances Bay and the CBD.

Knuckey Lagoon still presents as the premium rural residential location of the Darwin market. Nearby access to all urban infrastructures balanced with space and country feel are the drivers in this location.

There have been 19 residential sales at arm’s length above $1 million in the 2019 calendar year (to mid-October) for the Darwin, Palmerston and rural residential areas, including a mix of dwelling and strata sales, so a fraction under two per month.

The market for prestige dwellings in Darwin’s inner suburbs has softened over recent times. This market has been less volatile than mortgage belt locations and continues to be underpinned by proximity to the CBD and standard of dwelling. Large allotments and tropical style dwellings have remained popular for purchasers. Without question, the ability for owners to hold property in poorer market times has helped these market sections. We must highlight that this segment of the market has not been quarantined from the reductions in the wider market; re-sales of the same dwelling have shown reductions in the order of 10 to 15 per cent.

The Darwin prestige market beyond $2 million has been very thinly traded in recent years. The most activity in the market has been for new builds, where older dwellings have been purchased and demolished. Notable locations for these projects have included East Point Road in Fannie Bay, Larrakeyah Terrace in Larrakeyah and to the marina in Cullen Bay.

Many of these projects have exceeded land and build of $5 million. These projects, while not sale transactions, provide open market evidence to the activity in this market segment and we specifically note this is not uncommon within the local market place which is dominated by owner-occupiers in a very tightly held market segment.

The highest residential sale in the rural residential market this year was achieved in Knuckey Lagoon, an acreage allotment with a number of dwellings and sheds that exceeded $4 million.

The highest strata sale in the Darwin area was for one of the colonial style, stone townhouses on the Esplanade in the CBD. The sale was negotiated by Seth Chin of Chin & Associates at $2.3 million in April following an open marketing campaign.

Seth is one of the leading prestige agents in the market. As he sees the prestige end of the market,

“The market in Cullen Bay has been active with enquiry levels remaining consistent from local owner-occupiers. With a number of our key listings ranging from $2 million to $3 million we have seen a significant amount of inspections, however, given the price point and current broader market conditions these properties require extended marketing periods”. (Seth Chin, Director, Chin & Associates)

So, what’s on the market at the moment and eye-catching?

For those looking at inner-city living, there are penthouse units available at Evolution, arguably one of Darwin’s best CBD addresses, with extensive common areas and views that capture the whole CBD. Asking prices are $3.5 million with David Booth Real Estate.

Other attractive listings are located on the Marina and Sea Wall at Cullen Bay, including 104 Cullen Bay Crescent with Pacific Property seeking offers over $2.95 million, offering uninterrupted sea views and a large, five-bedroom, three-bathroom dwelling.

It’s certainly not all doom and gloom in the Darwin market. High-quality property is still changing hands and premium builders and architects have projects on the drawing board as we see the shape of the prestige market move to modern homes mixed with the essential tropical touch of our neighbourhood. Without doubt, there will be more to talk about in 2020 as the Darwin market continues to recover and transition to the next stage of the cycle.

Speak with a Darwin Mortgage Broker today.