The three suburbs around Canberra promising to be the best investment in 2021 are Franklin to the north, Jerrabomberra on the border and Coombs in the developing Molonglo Valley, according to a new report from national real estate agency Upside.
Canberran Upside real estate agent Catherine Halloran said each of the desirable suburbs had different qualities making them standouts in a strong market, and the common denominator between them was that they were all designed around convenience and lifestyle.
“Jerrabomberra has a lot of space, Coombs is central as far as Canberra is concerned and the Molonglo Valley is still a developing area,” she said.
“Franklin has had an outstanding 12 months, particularly since COVID – but it was already starting to peak before that, largely due to the light rail.”
Given a lot of people were spending more time at home and unable to travel, Ms Halloran said buyers were looking for investments in suburbs that were conducive to an enjoyable stay-at-home life.
“With a lot of people working from home it matters more.”
Although Franklin, Jerrabomberra and Coombs were noted as being suburbs particularly appealing to investors, it was difficult to pick winners in Canberra’s outstanding property market.
“I think at the moment from a selling perspective, there’s really no area that isn’t a good market.
“Now that restrictions are starting to ease we’re seeing the retirement market start to pick up again.”
Ms Halloran said units and townhouses were “on ice” last year, and experts have seen a small increase recently.
When it came to normal residential houses, she said sellers “can’t go wrong”.
Will Canberra appeal to more interstate buyers due to COVID-19?
Ms Halloran said Canberra has always been known as a safe place to invest because the market doesn’t have the fluctuations that other cities have.
“Over the years we’ve crawled our way to the top of the list price-wise. We see prices flatten but not fall significantly.”
The relative stability of the local market was also bolstered by the fact the region wasn’t as heavily impacted by COVID-19 as other capital cities.
She said Canberra also offered an attractive balance of being regional but having the facilities of major cities.
The message for first home buyers
According to Ms Halloran, first home buyers should look for apartments and townhouses in any area around Canberra because they are “a good first leg” into the market.
“It’ll be much easier to get what they’re looking for with a second home.”
In March and April 2020 there was a huge gap between the number of properties on the market and the number of properties sold, and it wasn’t until September that sales started to get back to a normal level.
“We’re expecting a lot more properties coming to market than usual, and hopefully that’s a good thing for buyers who missed out last year.”
Ms Halloran said she expected prices to stabilise.
“I don’t expect to see prices drop and I don’t expect to see the steep increase that we had last year to continue.
“There’ll be some relief for buyers knowing stock is coming back to market, sellers have re-established confidence – there shouldn’t be concerns about prices dropping.”
According to Domain’s latest House Price Report, house prices in Canberra rose nearly 30% over the past five years, making Canberra the second best performer of all capital cities behind Hobart.
In September 2020, house prices were close to 10% higher than the same time in 2019, which provided the strongest annual growth since early 2017.
Local property professional Sam Dodimead said “it has become common to see sale prices over 20% more than price guide or even reserve” at Canberra auctions.