A string of Canberra postcodes recorded double-digit house price growth over the past year, new data shows, amid strong competition from first-home buyers and upsizers.
The strongest house price growth was in the Tuggeranong suburb of Gordon, up 18.8 per cent year-on-year to a median price of $629,500, according to the latest Domain House Price Report for the September quarter.
This was followed by the Inner North suburb of O’Connor, up 17.7 per cent year-on-year to $1.1 million.
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“When you look at the top 10 suburbs with the strongest price growth, you’ll see a handful of suburbs that have a million-dollar median and then you have affordable suburbs,” said Domain senior research analyst Dr Nicola Powell.
“You have two sections of buyers that have really been active in the market — first-home buyers and those who are upsizing.”
Dr Powell said first-home buyers have been supported by a number of incentives including stamp duty abolition on new and existing properties, while upsizers are taking advantage of the record-low interest rates.
Canberra’s market overall rose 3.5 per cent in the September quarter to a median of $817,810.
For first-home buyers Brittney and Erich Philips, the pandemic did little to deter them from house hunting. After months of looking for the right home, the couple purchased a three-bedroom house in Gordon in the early $500,000 range.
In the course of five years, the couple managed to save enough for a house deposit.
“We were looking all over Canberra but set our sights on Gordon, Banks and Conder in Canberra’s south and Macgregor in the north because [they were] quite affordable,” Ms Philips said.
“We went to a lot of open home inspections, both during restrictions and post-lockdown, and were surprised with how many people were house hunting. I thought a lot of people would be reluctant to purchase but that certainly wasn’t the case.”
Their three-bedroom home ticked all the boxes, from price to features.
“We have two dogs so they were very much part of the decision-making process. Having a house with a good backyard was a must,” she said.
Andrew Thorpe of One Agency Andrew Thorpe, who sold a handful of properties in Gordon in the September quarter, said the lack of supply in the suburb had helped push its median up.
“I appraised a property in Gordon about a year ago and have recently sold it, and the price it sold for was $100,000 more than what I appraised it for, which goes to show the strength of the market at the moment,” he said.
“There are only seven properties for sale [in the area] right now, which is the lowest it’s ever been in a long time … competition has been tight, particularly because it’s fairly inexpensive.”
Meanwhile, Bree Currall of Belle Property Kingston said as more people work from home and international borders remain closed, families are choosing to upsize and purchase in Canberra’s more seasoned suburbs.
“People are using the money they saved for a holiday and are buying something with an extra living area, closer to the city centre and some of Canberra’s famous icons,” Ms Currall said.
“I’m finding that most of the buyers are young families and professionals making their forever-home purchase for their growing families.”
Moving forward, Ms Currall anticipates a return from investors as many look for “somewhere safe to park their money”.
“Canberra has been well insulated from the pandemic, a safe market compared to other cities,” she said.
“We’ve had a lot of inquiries from interstate investors so I expect this to pick up.”