Bonanza for Canberra Land Buyers
The often-lamented idea of the ‘Australian Dream’ is very much alive and right now across the ACT there’s a rare land bonanza currently unfolding.
However, first a little context by way of some national figures. These figures reveal that 54,000 new land lots are expected to be released across Australia in 2018. The lots will reflect a trend that’s seen blocks shrink in size. The average block in new estates is now around 407sqm down from 547sqm in 2006 having shrunk by 21%.
Canberra however, resulting from some unusual circumstances, is not following the national trend. Currently local buyers and builders have been experiencing a rare land release bonanza of some 1000 ‘re-cycled’ blocks.
Since April 2016 there have been 493 sales but there’s still plenty of opportunity with some 400 blocks yet to be released for sale. Most blocks are ideal for single homes but some are suitable for dual occupancy or multi-unit development under ACT planning regulations with blocks zoned RZ1 of 700sqm or larger.
How this bonanza come about, makes for interesting reading and in part reflects successful efforts by the current ACT Government to clean up a bit of a mess dating back to the 1960s.
Faced with homes that were contaminated and well below current environmental standards, the local government resumed the previous homes on these blocks at market value, after which they were demolished, the blocks cleared and thoroughly rehabilitated and are now for re-sale.
Demolition works include the removal of hazardous material which was undertaken by approved asbestos assessors and asbestos removal contractors.
A similar, but much larger development site The Red Hill Public Housing Precinct is also being prepared for re-sale after the existing stock of housing is demolished and the site re-cycled for new medium density housing.
This rare site has an area of 53,002m² located in one of the ACT’s most prestigious inner-city suburbs, it’s another unique opportunity, although on a very different and professional scale. Tenders for the site will close on the 1st of March 2018.
The Appeal of Existing Neighbourhoods
For buyers access to such residential land located in mature neighbourhoods represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to purchase a wide range of blocks in well-established and very popular, often tightly held suburbs.
Areas where single one-off vacant blocks usually never become available and certainly not as build-ready fully serviced blocks.
This would not normally be the case with land sales which are usually associated with new greenfield estates. In areas that are entirely new and often waiting for facilities and infrastructure to be completed.
Not to mention the benefits of having established homes, gardens and mature trees as your immediate neighbours. Plus, it’s reassuring to be dealing with a vendor who is the ACT Government.
Varied Locations and Strong Prices
The land being sold is somewhat concentrated in suburbs across Canberra’s most popular northern and to the southern suburbs.
The spread of suburbs is diverse and includes very selective locations like the Inner South and the Inner North however, the variety of locations and sizes is another bonus for would be buyers.
Blocks are being sold at a series of auctions being managed by Colliers International, and they are also being sold ‘over-the-counter’ as normal private treaty sales.
During the sales campaign prices to-date have ranged from a low of $350,000 to a high of $2m.
The most recent auction on the 2nd of November demonstrates the range of land options on offer. One of the most affordable blocks was in Kambah, Tuggeranong which sold for $415,000 for an 832sqm block, massive by new estate standards in Sydney or Melbourne.
Three other sales at the November auction were in the up-market suburbs of Deakin and Turner, all three sales achieved $1m plus results ranging between an impressive $1.15m and $1.34m with block sizes from 809-859sqm.
The next auction is taking place on the 5th of December 2017 with 60 blocks for auction.
Buyers for these in-fill blocks appear to be a slightly different target from those looking at greenfield estates, this is partly driven by price, but also by the general lack of available large-scale, pre-planned house and land packages. Some of the sales have also attracted adjoining owners keen to expand or re-build.
Each of the in-fill blocks requires individual planning, building approvals and designs, and while there’s some overlap among buyers, the impact on the demand for greenfield blocks across the ACT is only considered slight.
However, these blocks are being purchased by a good mix of private individuals and builders energised by the opportunity to build a new home in an established area.
The new homes built to-date are seeing a wide mix of designs including dual-occupancy and multi-unit dwellings where zoning allows.
One direct and positive impact is increased demand from builders in Canberra who would not normally be involved with typical greenfield estates. This is adding a new depth of buyers and builders to the ACT market, which is a welcome trend.