Darwin March 2018

The month in review: Darwin

By Herron Todd White
March 2018

The rural residential area is now starting to present as an affordable option for potential purchasers. Of particular interest is the outer rural residential market in areas such as Acacia Hills and Berry Springs. These areas are an attractive option for young families or first home owners as they provide lifestyle features while still being in close proximity to major services. Over the past 12 months these areas have started to tick over in regard to sales volumes. Up to the end of 2016, there were eight settled, genuine arm’s length sales in Acacia Hills. At the end of 2017, there were 17. In comparison, Berry Springs had six settled genuine arm’s length sales by the end of 2016 and 11 at the end of 2017, with at least three more sales now under contract in Berry Springs since the start of 2018.

Although these sales do reflect a drop in the market from the peak periods of 2013 and 2014, they also reflect that there is good buying for purchasers who are willing to live in a rural area. A key sale that is a reflection of the current market is a sale in Berry Springs. The sale property was a low set, 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom, circa 2012 built dwelling with powered machinery shed, in ground spa located on a two hectare block in the Mala Plain estate. The property settled for $690,000 and given the quality and level of improvement reflected good buying. The property was marketed on and off since 2016 and the marketing period is not uncommon in these areas. What we are seeing is that if properties are not priced realistically, they will sit on the market for an extended period of time, however effective pricing is well received in the market and as the above sale numbers indicate, there is interest in this sector of the market.

Increased services are likely to continue the desire to live in the outer rural area. The extension of Tiger Brennan Drive is well and truly established now, providing access to the city and northern suburbs. The completion of Coolalinga Shopping Centre and the Gateway Shopping Centre are large draw cards for the rural market, taking pressure away from Casuarina Shopping Centre in the northern suburbs as an entertainment precinct. The Palmerston Hospital is nearing completion which will provide further and much needed medical services to the rural area.

Moving our way north along the Stuart Highway (back towards Darwin), the Palmerston suburb of Gunn continues to provide affordable options for potential purchasers. Entry level, 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom dwellings centre on the $400,000 to $450,000 mark. We are now starting to see sales evidence that reflect 2008 and 2009 value levels. Examples include a recent sale of a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom dwelling on a 400 square metre lot in Gunn that settled for $420,000 in February 2018 and had previously sold for $412,000 in November 2008. Moving into the next price bracket, 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom dwellings are showing similar relativities with a recent sale for $587,000 in February 2018 of a home that previously sold for $580,000 in December 2009. Given that both sales were tested in the market and sold through local agents, we would consider the sales to be the best reflection of the current market.

Although we have experienced some tough times in the Darwin market recently, we believe that now is as good a time as any to invest in this market.

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