The month in review: Darwin property market updates

By Herron Todd White
April 2019

It’s been known that Darwin’s most sought-after suburbs are Fannie Bay, Parap and Larrakeyah which are located close to the coast line for the beach views and close to Darwin’s CBD.

The Darwin market has declined in the past couple of years and the prime locations have not been immune to the fall in values, however for most, these locations are still outside the affordable price bracket.

So where to look? For the inner-city close to the CBD and some water views, Stuart Park comes up trumps. However, if you want the coastline seaside vibes you can’t go past Rapid Creek, particularly being so close to the northern suburbs prime location of Nightcliff.

Stuart Park is an inner Darwin suburb located approximately three radial kilometres from the Darwin CBD. It consists of mainly single residential dwellings and medium to high-density unit development. The area is well serviced by schools, shops, parks and public transport and appeals to a mix of owner-occupiers and investors. Most of Stuart Park is older pre-cyclone elevated and ground level dwellings, however there are many that are starting to be renovated and modernised. The current median house price in Stuart Park is $660,000, which is down from $735,000 in 2016. Ground-level dwellings are known to be slightly cheaper than elevated dwellings. Currently a three-bedroom, one-bathroom, pre-cyclone brick dwelling, which has been renovated throughout and features an in-ground spa pool, is listed for sale at $539,000. A three-bedroom elevated dwelling which has been fully renovated to a modern standard located opposite parkland and featuring an in-ground pool sold in January for $640,000

The current median unit price is $360,000, which is also down from $450,000 in 2016. Currently two bedroom, one-bathroom, partly updated units are listed for sale between $189,000 and $260,000. The cheapest of them all is a two-bedroom, one bathroom updated top floor unit within a two storey complex listed at $149,000. The only downside to this bargain is that it’s located on the Stuart Highway, which is the main arterial road into the Darwin CBD. An additional bathroom to a two-bedroom unit brings the price bracket up to $290,000 to $310,000, with some of the newer developments being in the mid to high $300,000. Three-bedroom, two-bathroom units are ranging from $335,000 to $380,000. However, there is one property listed at a bargain buy of $312,000. This top floor unit is original to its 1997 built condition with some upgrades to the air conditioners, hot water system and window treatments and has a balcony with harbour views! There is even a lift and two-car spaces.

For investors, Stuart Park has a mass of units and apartments. The median rent for a two bedroom unit is $380 per week and the median price is $310,000; this gives a return of 6.3 per cent. Three-bedroom units have a median rent of $475 per week and the median price is $420,000, which gives a return of six per cent, however dwellings don’t fare as well with returns of 4.7 per cent, based on the median rental of $600 per week.

Rapid Creek is a northern Darwin suburb located approximately ten radial kilometres from the Darwin CBD and close to the Nightcliff foreshore area. It consists mainly of single residential dwellings and low to medium density unit development. The area is well serviced by schools, Nightcliff Shopping Centre, parks and public transport, while being close to Casuarina Shopping Centre, Charles Darwin University and Royal Darwin Hospital. The suburb appeals to a mix of owner-occupiers and investors. Rapid Creek is an older suburb with a mix of pre and post-cyclone elevated and ground level dwellings. Many of these dwellings are starting to be renovated and modernised, however there are some that are still in original condition. The current median house price in Rapid Creek is $555,000, which is down from $672,000 in 2015. Currently a three-bedroom, one-bathroom pre-cyclone brickdwelling, which has been updated over time to an average quality, on a 919 square metre allotment, is listed for sale at $515,000. A renovated three bedroom ground level dwelling on a 929 square metre allotment with good gardens and an in ground pool recently sold for $630,000. An elevated three-bedroom dwelling on an 873 square metre allotment, which has been updated to an average standard sold in September 2018 for $500,000. This property represents good entry level buying as the dwelling is to a standard that is easily liveable yet the property is a blank canvas with no additional ancillary improvements. A basic four-bedroom elevated dwelling is currently on the market for offers over $550,000 and an updated four-bedroom ground level dwelling has an asking price of offers over $570,000.

The current median unit price is $366,000, which is down from $420,000 in 2015. Currently two-bedroom, older units are listed for sale between $205,000 and $250,000 and three bedroom units are listed for sale from $310,000 to $410,000. The prime location of Rapid Creekis Casuarina Drive (the esplanade). Units along Casuarina Drive have higher asking prices with two-bedroom units ranging from $320,000 to $420,000 and three-bedroom units ranging from$440,000 to $485,000. Some of these units have great ocean views and are located close to the Nightcliff Pool, café and Beachfront Hotel.

While Nightcliff is not normally considered to be beer budget, it is worth keeping an eye on the listings for that rare gem that comes onto the market. There have been some basic three and four-bedroom dwellings listed for prices below$600,000 and units selling for prices similar to Rapid Creek.

Palmerston is a satellite city located approximately 21 kilometres south-east of Darwin. The champagne suburb for beer budget in Palmerston is Durack.

Durack is located within two radial kilometres of the Palmerston CBD. It was originally developed by Delfin in 1995 and features modern, single residential dwellings and some low-density unit development intertwined amongst parklands, lakes and a golf course. The area is well serviced by schools, Palmerston and Gateway Shopping Centres, Charles Darwin University, the Water Parkand public transport and appeals to a mix of owner occupiers and investors.

The current median house price for Durack is $468,000, down from $475,000 in 2015. Durack had many dwellings built by Defence Housing Australia (DHA), which were managed and leased by DHA. These dwellings have become surplus to DHA and put to the market providing solid, good sized dwellings for buyers. Whilst dated and with average quality fit-out, the dwellings are all well maintained, have an en suite bathroom and most are recently painted and feature a garden shed.

Three-bedroom dwellings on 300 to 450 square metre allotments range in asking price from $385,000 to $420,000. Average four-bedroom dwellings range in asking price from $495,000 to $550,000. However, there are two exceptions. There is currently a four-bedroom, two-bathroom dwelling with an asking price of offers over $399,000. Located on Woodlake Boulevard and set on a 464 square metre lot, the dwelling is anex-DHA dwelling with average quality fit out and garden shed. The second is a four-bedroom, two bathroom dwelling with offers over $445,000. This dwelling has a larger 656 square metre allotment and is located on a cul de sac street close to parklands.

For investors, the median rent for a three-bedroom dwelling is $430 per week and the median price is$428,000; this gives a return of 5.2 percent. Four-bedroom dwellings have a median rent of$420 per week and the median price is $542,000, which gives a return of five per cent.

The short to medium term outlook for Darwin and Palmerston is still difficult with no sign of the market improving. While the number of transactions has remained steady and government incentives entice first home buyers, the declining population and poor state of the economy does not help the property market. Long-term investment in any of the champagne locations will eventually prosper as these locations are generally the first to show signs of growth.

Chat with a Smartline Darwin Mortgage Broker today.

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DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is correct at the time of publishing and is subject to change. It is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, Smartline recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Smartline recommends that you seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.