Canberra August 2018

The month in review: Canberra

By Herron Todd White
August 2018

Over the past 50 years, the ACT residential market has changed significantly.

Imagine the year is 1968 – the suburbs of Dickson, Downer, Watson and Hackett are less than ten years old and the Belconnen suburbs of Aranda, Cook, Macquarie, Weetangera and Page have just finished construction. These suburbs are freshly built among the already established suburbs of Forrest, Yarralumla, Red Hill and Reid which are already 30 to 40 years old.

Between 1960 and 1975, the population in Canberra went from approximately 50,000 to 220,000 which resulted in a huge requirement for increased residential development. Canberra witnessed a residential boom during this time and Belconnen and the Woden Valley were developed to accommodate the population increase.

Dwelling construction was somewhat standard, with the classic red brick cottage being a stereotype for 1960s Canberra. The average land block size was around 800 square metres, with anything less than 600 square metres considered small. Block sizes have slowly gotten smaller and smaller, with most lots in new subdivisions averaging around 350 square metres and many under 200 square metres.

In 1968, the great Australian dream was alive and well with home ownership being achievable by many middle class Australians. Fast forward to 2018 and many middle class Australians struggle to buy into the Canberra property market. The median Canberra house price in 1971 was $18,000 (the oldest record available), compared to over $700,000 in 2018, which is over 38 times more expensive than 47 years ago.


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