Darwin September 2018

The month in review: Darwin

By Herron Todd White
September 2018

The top end dry season has been one to remember – crisp cool mornings and dry evenings to see in the sunsets across the Mindil Markets and the Darwin Festival. Unfortunately the magnificent conditions on the social scene aren’t being replicated in a strong residential property market at present. The start of spring in September will see the curtains drawn on the dry season and the start of the build-up. Unbelievably we start to look towards the end of the year (and, dare I mention it this early, Christmas). The second half of the year quite often brings with it a level of urgency to the market. Owners looking to have sold or bought a property in 2018 will need to heighten that level of activity if it hasn’t occurred already and with Sydney and Melbourne starting to cool, interstate investors are looking for opportunities around the country. Hobart and Darwin are definitely on the agenda now.

Agents will start to develop auction and marketing campaigns in order to have the deal done before the year is completed and with a 30 to 45 day settlement period to contend with, that means we need to hit contracts by mid-November.

So while it isn’t the fresh flowers, footy finals and birds tweeting of spring in the southern states, we certainly have our own unique end to the calendar year.

So, what are we expecting in the market for the back end of the year? It is the age old crystal ball question surrounding property markets. With the construction phase of the Ichthys Gas Project coming to an end, there will be some bumpy points in the road as long term tenancies are ended. The June quarter vacancy rates are testament to this already. Overall vacancy for the greater Darwin area is 6.4%. At a high level scan that stays consistent from the previous quarter, however when having a deeper dive, it shows that Darwin (city and northern suburbs) sits at 5.6% and Palmerston has softened out to 8.5%. This tells us that as more rental properties are coming to market there will be a move back towards the city and inner suburbs. Tenants chasing the amenity of the Darwin CBD will place pressure on the outer suburbs with less amenity, entertainment, public transport and employment.

The push to get sold before Christmas will see an increased volume of dwelling sales through the market. Locally, Ray White and Real Estate Central are experiencing success on the back of auction campaigns. Traditionally auctions have not been as successful in Darwin as say the Sydney and Melbourne markets which are almost exclusively auction based. What we’ve seen from the auctions thus far is a modest clearance rate, however what it has shown is an urgency to market, good quality advertising and some pressure on purchasers to get organised and participate.

Over the past weeks, the Northern Territory government has put forward an aggressive campaign to relocate people to the Territory, with very healthy incentives to move north (starting at $3,000 for singles and up to $15,000 for families). With great job opportunities and a relatively weak and far lower median house price in Darwin, it’s a great time to head north and participate in this market. #boundless #possible.

Darwin property

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