By Herron Todd White
November 2020

The greater Darwin market has really turned.

Following a very successful lock down of the borders and a long, safe dry season where NT was the envy of the nation for many months, the housing market has kicked strongly over the past quarter. Increased sales volumes, successful marketing campaigns and the take up of almost every available rental property in the market has been a surprising positive for the industry. It must be said it certainly wasn’t predicted by any pundits.

The stronger activity is largely in the price brackets from $400,000 to $750,000 at this stage, however as the volume and turnover increases we will expect the stronger activity to be seen at higher value levels as well.

But how about the prestige sector in particular?

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 & Bayview remain the sought-after water locations with ocean and/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 feels are the drivers in this location.

There have been 29 residential sales at arm’s length above $1 Million in the 2020 calendar year (to late-October) for the Darwin/Palmerston and rural residential areas, including a mix of dwelling and strata sales (a touch under three per month). For the same period in 2019 only 19 sales had occurred.

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 styled dwellings have remained popular for purchasers. Without question the ability for owners to hold property in poorer market times has helped these sectors. We must highlight that this segment of the market has not been quarantined from the reductions in the wider market with re-sales of the same dwelling have shown price falls 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 active 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 Tce in Larrakeyah and to the marina in Cullen Bay.

The highest sale in the rural residential market this year was achieved in Knuckey Lagoon, an acreage allotment with a number of dwellings and sheds for $1.85 Million.

No strata sales exceeded $1 million in the calendar year, the biggest sale being in the high $900,000s for a townhouse in Fannie Bay.

The highest dwelling sale in greater Darwin was an off market transaction by O’Donoghue First National, principal Jeremy O’Donoghue, the sale achieved a touch over $2.7 Million for a premium position to the marina.

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 at $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/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 2021 as the Darwin market continues to recover and transition to the next stage of the cycle.

Will Johnson

Speak with a Darwin Mortgage Broker today.

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