By Herron Todd White
December 2020

Alice Springs Property Update

As the year draws to a close, we can look back on what has been an unprecedented year for the property market in Central Australia. The impact of the pandemic locally has been less severe than many other regional centres, not only in terms of number of infections and death toll but also in relation to the property market. Our relatively low population density combined with prompt border lockdowns allowed the Northern Territory to experience only 46 recorded cases of COVID-19, with no deaths.

Transaction numbers for the March and June 2020 quarters were understandably below average, but the market experienced a strong rebound in the September quarter, with transaction numbers returning to levels not seen since mid-late 2018. After two quarters which saw 72 and then 70 sales, September’s result of 108 house and unit sales was pleasing to say the least. As can be seen from the graph below, the bounce back, particularly with houses, has been strong.

Agents are reporting an active market, with properties selling quickly and their biggest problem at present is finding properties to list for sale. As yet we have not seen any sustained indicators that market values have begun to strengthen, however if this increased level of activity continues, it may eventually place upward pressure on prices as demand outstrips supply. Government first home buyer incentives have been highlighted as a possible explanation for this lift in activity and as these schemes wind down, it is possible that activity will also scale back. December and January are historically quiet periods for the local residential market, so we shall watch with interest the sales figures as they are released early in the new year. The longer-term sustainability of this increased market activity will become clearer as we enter the early months of 2021.

In a year full of surprises, perhaps the most surprising thing has been the solid rebound of market activity. As we entered lockdowns and restrictions earlier in the year, it was difficult to forecast the likely impacts on the property market. Activity leading up to the pandemic had been subdued and it would not have been beyond the realms of possibility that the market may have stalled altogether, however demand remained steady during the worst of the lockdowns and now that we appear to be coming out the other end of the COVID-19 tunnel, there is reason for some optimism in the local residential market.

Peter Nichols
Certified Practising Valuer
Alice Springs and Central Australia

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