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Published by maryannespina, 2018-10-23 02:02:21

2019 McGrath Report

2019McGrathReport

2019
McGrath
Report



Trends

Page 4 Has Uber Eats
shrunk the kitchen?
Page 10 Shift happens
Page 14 Regional is the

new black

Cities

Page 22 Sydney Page 28 Melbourne
Page 32 Brisbane & surrounds
Page 36 Canberra

A friend chatted to me
over coffee recently.
He was disappointed and
concerned that property
values were falling and
even more distressed
about a TV program
that predicted a seismic
40% drop in values in
the near future. As I
listened, I wondered how
many other Australians
were sitting with this
same fear?

A
message
from
John
McGrath

2

Firstly, I pointed out that in Sydney So, what’s next? As Uber Eats feeds more Australians,
(and Melbourne), the 5–10% drop will kitchens become less important
we’ve seen so far followed a growth Sydney and Melbourne prices might or even vanish in some instances?
cycle that added 60–100% to correct by another 5% to a maximum
property values overall. Many of around 10%. In 2019, I see the Will young families and empty
Australians owned property for strong possibility of a mini rebound nesters pull the rip cord on city
the entire duration of this cycle as buyer demand grows at adjusted life and escape to our vibrant,
and therefore have enjoyed the pricing levels. re-emerging regional centres that
full benefit. are readily available within a 90
It’s impossible to pick the top or minute radius of the capitals?
I suggested he consider shifting bottom until they are behind us but
his view. In reality, his particular my instincts tell me the market has Also in this year’s report, we address
property had gone up by 70% corrected quickly and we are within what’s next for our East Coast
and that included the recent 10% a few percentage points of new markets as Sydney and Melbourne
correction in his area. price benchmarks. fade to the background.

Next, I addressed the sensational and Only three things could change Will Brisbane and South East
erroneous theory being bandied about this. A spike in interest rates over Queensland finally get their time in
by some purported experts that there the next 24 months, which would the sun? The Sunshine State is once
is another 40% drop in values to go. return us to the long-term average again Australia’s favourite destination
of around 7%. Banks tightening for internal migration and most
There is zero chance we will see a lending even further. Unemployment importantly, the economy is turning
collapse like this. There would have escalating rapidly. None of these are a corner. Prospects for investment up
to be a global economic ice age to likely to happen. north are as good as I’ve seen them.
generate this sort of slump and then
it wouldn’t matter where your cash I believe the worst of this correction Finally, a note on Sydney. You might
was tied up, we’d all be in trouble! is already over and we’re in for a think this great city has reached
much softer landing than many its limits, with affordability far too
The fundamentals underpinning pundits predicted. strained and little room for further
property values in Australia capital growth in the medium term.
remain solid. Rock solid. What Meanwhile, it couldn’t be a better I disagree.
we are seeing now is an important time for first home buyers. With
part of every major asset cycle the bank of mum and dad by their We are on the cusp of what will
– a correction in values after a side, along with generous stamp go down in history as the great
sustained period of growth. duty concessions and government renaissance of Western Sydney.
savings initiatives, there are excellent
Remember, it was only Sydney and opportunities to get a foot in the door Massive new infrastructure, billions
Melbourne that had significant after a long period of difficulty. in new investment and tens of
growth (over 50%) in recent years. thousands of new jobs are about to
The rest of Australia has had pretty Within the broader market, I emerge in Sydney’s most affordable
subdued price increases post-GFC. believe there is still solid demand region, where prices have the most
across most price points but lending room to grow.
I’ve heard the “40% overvalued” restrictions are ruling many buyers
theory four times in my 35 years in out. In the long run, it’s strength- We hope this year’s report provides
property. It’s like the same groups ening our broader financial system fresh insights and ideas for your
are chasing the same headline impact but the market needs time to adjust. benefit into the future.
every time the market corrects.
Not once has this provocative In this edition of the McGrath
prediction come true – or even close Report, we once again review some
to it. It won’t this time, either. of the social trends impacting
Australian real estate.

As our major cities become more
crowded, congested and expensive,
will more people trade off size for
location? Will people sacrifice a
bedroom or garden to live closer to
the CBD?

Photo by James Green McGrath Report 2019 3



Trend 1

Has
Uber Eats
shrunk the
kitchen?

Shrinking kitchens, shared car “In the past, we had this fixed idea
ownership, moveable walls, of what you got in a house – three
demountable pools and socialising bedrooms, backyard, maybe a pool,”
spaces for apartment dwellers – the Haddow says. That hasn’t gone away
future of Australian home design is but many people are realising they
a dynamic space. don’t need lawns to mow and four
bedrooms.
Adam Haddow, Director of Sydney
architecture and urban design “You used to need a desk and
studio, SJB says Australians are possibly an office; now you need a
increasingly trading the environ- kitchen bench the right height for
mental, time and financial costs of your laptop, or a sunny courtyard
space for the social, monetary and with connectivity.
ethical gains of compact living.
“These changes are dialling down in
Affordability concerns following home design because we don’t need
steep home price rises of 75% and to create a space (for study/work);
59% respectively in Sydney and it is more about creating spaces
Melbourne1 have prompted an where people want to live.”
overhaul of planning laws to allow
terrace-style housing on smaller Over the following pages are some
blocks and zero-car apartment of the hottest trends in urban
buildings to increase supply of residential design this year.
affordable homes.

Today’s housing design buzzword is
diversity, says Haddow, a Churchill
Fellowship recipient and thought
leader on urban design and the
modern evolution of city living
environments in Australia.

McGrath Report 2019 5

REPURPOSED SMALLER
LIVING KITCHENS

You used to need When Australia embraced open plan The popularity of home delivered
a desk and possibly living at the start of the 21st century, meals and our rising café and
an office; now you there were inevitable casualties. restaurant culture, particularly in
need a kitchen bench Goodbye formal dining and lounge our big cities, have changed how
the right height rooms. Also over is home designers’ Australians think about kitchens
for your laptop, or short lived dalliance with the in the new millennium.
a sunny courtyard media room.
with connectivity. Food and drink delivery apps such
Formal lounge and dining rooms as Deliveroo, Menulog and Uber Eats
will survive in top end dwelling have exploded, with Australians
floor plans, as will integrated study spending $2.6 billion annually.5
zones or home offices, with at least
3.5 million Australians now doing at We’re also eating out more. With
least some work at home2 and nearly 85,000 cafés, restaurants and
1 million of us running home-based takeaway food outlets, the average
businesses.3 domestic household is spending
$94 per week eating out two to
Reflecting the shrinking size of three times per week.6
Australian households, with couple-
only households due to outnumber These trends are impacting how
couples with children by 2030,4 much of the modern home floor plan
dwellings will become more flexible is dedicated to food preparation.
with moveable walls allowing room
conversions and adaptable furniture Kitchens are still the heart of our
serving as room dividers. homes but have evolved from utility
rooms to social and entertaining
spaces, Haddow says.

Prepping kitchens and butlers’
pantries are on-trend in new family
home design. These small private
spaces enable home chefs to get
messy, away from guests’ eyes and
without detracting from their home’s
minimalist designer kitchens.

6 Trend 1 Has Uber Eats shrunk the kitchen?

Rooftops are becoming glamorous
entertaining spaces with landscaped
gardens, state-of-the-art barbecue
facilities, café-style dining areas
and chill-out zones.

The Commons in Brunswick,
Melbourne has a communal rooftop
laundry amongst its gardens,
vegetable plots and timber decks.
Breathe Architecture says the
laundry was one of a series of
construction savings that made the
apartments cheaper to buy and run,
earning them scores of sustainability
awards, while also encouraging
social interaction between the
residents.

The body corporates of older
buildings are also investing in the
redesign of their common areas.

SHARED SPACES In 2013, the residents at Paloma in
Surry Hills, Sydney hired revered
design house, BKH to create a
spectacular rooftop terrace where
residents could sit with friends in
elegant timber cabanas for a front
row view of beautiful sunsets over
Prince Alfred Park.

Far left Cleveland Above Communal Modern developments are Shared kitchens are a fairly new
Rooftop kitchen courtyard at Casba, increasingly incorporating shared idea, with SP Setia amongst the
and indoor/outdoor Waterloo NSW, by rooms such as common kitchens, first developers in Australia to
living space, SJB Architects. laundries, yoga studios and embrace the concept in recognition
Redfern NSW, by Photo by Brett luxurious relaxation areas to suit the of more young people eating out or
SJB Architects. Boardman. changing lifestyles of their residents ordering in.
Photo by Felix and add value and function to
Forest. Above right available space. In 2016, the developer launched its
Communal rooftop Parque luxury apartment project
Left Adam Haddow, with city views at Shared rooms arguably provide in Melbourne, which included a
SJB Architects Cleveland & Co, better value to young buyers who glamorous shared kitchen designed
Redfern NSW, by would rather pay less for a smaller by celebrity chef, Shannon Bennett.
SJB Architects. crash pad that comes with a selection Apartment residents have exclusive
Photo by Brett of outdoor areas where they can access to Miele appliances, a
Boardman. relax and entertain friends. temperature-controlled wine cellar
and a dining table for 16 guests.

McGrath Report 2019 7

Share services,
along with expanding
public transport,
environmental
awareness and
dedicated bicycle
lanes are reducing
the need for parking
on title.

8 Trend 1 Has Uber Eats shrunk the kitchen?

GARAGING BLUE SKY
PARKING THINKING

Our car-loving culture is rapidly Textured housing exteriors made Far left Shared
changing, with 3.1 million active from recycled natural or industrial amenities at 100
Uber users7 and 100,000 GoGet material like rammed earth, stone Harris Street,
members nationally. These share and bottle bricks are in vogue. Pyrmont NSW, by SJB
services, along with expanding Architects. Photo by
public transport, environmental Architects are also departing Felix Forest.
awareness and dedicated bicycle from the traditional square shape, Below left Private
lanes are reducing the need for with curvy facades maximising courtyard with city
parking on title. the illusion of space and spherical views at Cleveland
structures emulating igloos offering Rooftop, Redfern
Haddow says more small home bolstered thermal efficiency. NSW, by SJB
designs will forego car parks. Architects. Photo
Fifth wall feature ceilings with by Felix Forest.
“What we are seeing is movement stencil art and complex imagery
from majority to minority car have arty home makers talking. GREEN HOMES
ownership in the not too distant All the rage when Michelangelo
future. People are totally okay was painting churches in the 16th Sustainability is becoming a major
with using the one shared car on century and Marie Antoinette was influence on home design, with
the street.” decorating ceilings with mirrors record levels of solar use9 and rising
in the 18th century, housing costs interest in battery power resulting
In Victoria, local governments can eventually quashed the trend. in the equivalent of 8.28 million
waive their planning schemes’ on households using renewable energy
site parking rules, as happened with Today, some owners and designers in 2017.10
The Commons. Located next to a are resurrecting it, realising that Savvy developers and home
train station and major bike path, ceilings are a blank canvas for owners are fitting and retro-fitting
Moreland City Council allowed the injecting personality and texture properties to boost their appeal
block to have a permanent GoGet into a home, Haddow says. to an increasingly eco-conscious
rental car on site instead of parking. buyer pool. Low cost improvements
Keep a (goggled) eye out for the include draught sealing, insulation,
In New South Wales, planning laws new wave of above ground pools. low flow showerheads and taps,
were changed in 2015 to allow new Able to be disassembled, the waist window shading and low wattage
apartment buildings to have smaller deep water features promise flexible lighting.
floor plans and less parking as long all-seasons living in tight inner
as public transport options were city spaces.
easily accessible.

City of Sydney figures show a
500% increase in the usage of its
Kent Street Cycleway since 20088.
Apartments are increasingly
supporting two-wheeling residents
with shared bike rooms or racks.

McGrath Report 2019 9



Trend 2

Australia’s metro Greater scrutiny of borrowers’
market giants are past personal expenses and debt to
their peak and well into income ratios were implemented
the correction phase, virtually overnight in 2018 and
providing welcome affected almost every buyer. The
relief to buyers and impact on market momentum was
a crucial period of quick and dramatic in comparison
price consolidation to normal cooling forces such as
following five years of affordability and rising interest
phenomenal growth. rates, which tend to have a much
more gradual effect.
Shift Sydney boomed first and enjoyed
the highest capital growth, so its Sydney’s -4.5% dip in FY18 was
market cycle was the first to change the largest financial year fall in
after hitting its peak in July 2017. property values in more than
After 75%11 growth in home values 20 years, according to CoreLogic.15
between 2012–2017; the market Melbourne’s 1% growth in FY18 was
softened in late 2017 and throughout also a vivid change from FY17 when
2018 with a decline in dwelling it recorded 13.7% growth. That’s
values of -6.1% over the 12 months what happens when a big proportion
to September.12 of buyer demand is compromised
because people can’t borrow as much
Melbourne’s boom followed as they thought, or can’t get finance
Sydney, with a 59%13 surge in home approved in time to bid at auction.
values over the growth cycle to its
November 2017 peak. Properties Shift happens – and while the main
retained their worth in FY18 with propellant for this slowdown is
1%14 growth but this was all but different to the norm, history tells
wiped out with an -2.4% fall in the us we shouldn’t expect a correction
first quarter of FY19.12 greater than 8–10% in either city.

Whilst affordability and declining CoreLogic figures16 show the worst
investor activity are key drivers peak-to-trough losses in both cities
– as is usual at the end of booms, since 1980 were -11.6% in Sydney
it is the engineered changes to in the correction of 1988–1991
lending that have arguably had the and -9.4% in Melbourne during
biggest impact on the market below 2008–2009.
$5 million.

happens

McGrath Report 2019 11

Senior economists at ANZ Research In Sydney, beachside Bronte While tighter credit policy is
have suggested a correction of -10% recorded the best house price frustrating the marketplace,
for both markets.17 This is far from growth at 31.8%, followed by Dover particularly in our most expensive
a gloomy outlook and no bust by any Heights also in the Eastern Suburbs southern capitals, it is making our
learned person’s measure. at 17.6% and beachside Freshwater banking system stronger. Australia
on the Northern Beaches at 14.4%, has always been a leader in financial
Cyclical price corrections must occur according to CoreLogic figures.19 regulation and our resilience was
to ensure the long term stability the talk of the western world during
of our property markets and the In Melbourne, suburbs on the the GFC. The long term benefits of a
broader national economy. outskirts are bucking the trend strong system outweigh everything
with first home buyer demand else, so buyers and sellers must
The fundamentals of Australian stimulating price growth in adapt to this change.
real estate will continue to underpin Coolaroo, Melton South, Melton,
property prices through the Sanctuary Lakes and Sunbury. Interest rates remain at historical
volatility of this shift period. We All about 35km from the CBD, these lows since the Reserve Bank reduced
are still undersupplied, population suburbs were Melbourne’s top five the cash rate to 1.5% in August 2016.
growth is high and unemployment performers in the year to June 30, Savvy borrowers in Sydney and
remains low in both Greater Sydney 2018 with house prices rising 37.1%, Melbourne will use this quieter time
and Melbourne at 6% and 6.8% 32.3%, 26.9%, 29.5% and 26.2% to pay down debt, while investors
respectively.18 respectively.20 will continue to broaden their
horizons to more affordable regional
Such figures reflect the good health With Sydney and Melbourne hubs and South East Queensland for
of the domestic economy and cooling, Australia now has a new better returns.
investment outlook. It is why the leader in capital city growth –
re-balancing of property prices in Hobart. The Apple Isle’s biggest
Sydney and Melbourne has been city posted a 9.3%21 surge in house
orderly – a gentle landing rather prices to a median $464,515, well
than a thud. beyond the next best performer,
Canberra, with 2.0%. Hobart’s
It is important to remember that growth was on top of the 7.4%
both Sydney and Melbourne recorded in FY17.
are not singular markets but a
collection of markets in which local Many eyes are now on South
factors such as tight supply, new East Queensland, with strong
infrastructure, iconic assets such internal migration amongst
as beaches; and the popularity of retirees, investors and cashed up
schools impact what happens to Sydneysiders and Melburnians
local property values irrespective heading north to warmer waters
of macro city changes. and cooler prices, particularly in
the desirable regional centres of the
We are continuing to see strong Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
demand in desirable suburbs where
stock is tight, as well as some The golden triangle of Brisbane,
cheaper outlying areas proving Gold Coast/Sunshine Coast and
popular with an expanded base of Toowoomba all experienced median
first home buyers taking advantage house price increases in FY18 and
of stamp duty concessions and softer are primed for a major boom as the
market conditions to get a long- state economy improves over the
awaited foothold in the market. next few years.

12 Trend 2 Shift happens

While tighter credit policy
is frustrating the marketplace,
it is making our banking
system stronger. The long
term benefits of a strong
system outweigh everything
else, so buyers and sellers
must adapt to this change.

McGrath Report 2019 13



Trend 3

Regional is
the new black

Regional bridesmaid cities are Lifestyle markets and satellite
beginning to rival the real estate cities within two hours’ commute
brides of Sydney, Melbourne and of primary metropolitan areas are
Brisbane with their impressive the biggest winners of the metro-
population growth, buzzing local regional switch. While affordability
economies, improved amenities and remains a key reason to move, many
infrastructure, affordable housing say buyers are increasingly talking
and increasingly attractive lifestyle about escaping from city stress,
as our capital cities get busier and traffic and cost of living.
more expensive.
Population growth is no doubt
No longer sleepy, second tier towns contributing to the greater hustle
overshadowed by the glamorous and bustle of city life. Australia’s
capitals, many of Australia’s regional population hit 25 million in August
cities have come of age and are now 2018, 33 years earlier than forecast
thriving economic centres with by the Australian Bureau of Statistics
hundreds of thousands of residents. (ABS) published in 1998.22 Given
almost 80% of Australia’s residents
Housing has always been cheaper live in the four East Coast capitals
but regional areas now offer so alone,23 it is not surprising that some
much more, with burgeoning café of us are feeling a bit crammed in.
scenes, major shopping centres,
good local transport and plentiful
job opportunities without the traffic,
pollution, noise and time poverty
that comes with big city life.

McGrath Report 2019 15

With surprisingly comparable Two other GovHubs are also
wages and a vast differential in being developed in Ballarat and
house prices, the metro-regional Latrobe Valley.
trade-off is compelling.
Massive infrastructure investment
Improved infrastructure has reduced across Australia is also boosting
the commute from many regional employment in regional centres.
areas to capital cities, enabling
switchers to enjoy a big city income After Geelong lost its Ford and
with a relaxed small town lifestyle. Alcoa steel plants, the local jobs
market rebounded following federal
The NBN rollout has led to more support for Geelong’s $100 million
city folk working remotely or rail duplication project and a $100
establishing start-ups as part of million pledge for an Advanced
their lifestyle change. Manufacturing Fund for Victoria
and South Australia in 2017.24
Jobs in the larger regional centres
are increasingly plentiful, boosted by In some cases, average wages in
a deliberate strategy to decentralise regional areas are higher than
government departments to capital cities.
regional locations. Bendigo is set
to benefit from a new GovHub In Australia’s leading regional city
office that will bring 1,000 new and for median house price growth,25
relocated public sector jobs to the Geelong in Victoria, individuals aged
CBD. Construction from 2019 will 15 and over received a median $616
create 70 jobs, with completion weekly income in 2016, $84 more
due in late 2021.23 than their Melbourne peers despite
higher living costs in the capital.26

No longer sleepy, ABS27 data also shows that middle
second tier towns aged blue collar workers, in
overshadowed particular, are more likely to be paid
by the glamorous similarly or better in regional centres
capitals, many of New South Wales and Victoria.
of Australia’s
regional cities have
come of age and
are now thriving
economic centres
with hundreds
of thousands of
residents.

16 Trend 3 Regional is the new black

McGrath Report 2019 17

The Gold Coast seems to have
magnetic appeal, as it was amongst
the top 10 destinations chosen by city
escapees in every single state and
territory, attracting 19,400 people
from the eight capitals.

18 Trend 3 Regional is the new black

Large regional cities are currently Fellow bridesmaid, Newcastle posted
some of the East Coast’s best a 7.1% surge.31 Just 160km north of
performing property markets, Sydney, Newcastle’s appeal to cash
largely due to the ripple poor, asset rich Sydney residents is
effect following Sydney and obvious. Australia’s largest coal port
Melbourne’s peak. by volume and the economic hub of
the Hunter Valley, it boasts a world
Geelong, 70km south west of big class university, vibrant coastal
sister Melbourne, recorded the lifestyle and strong employment
largest increase in dwelling values with 37% of the population working
across non-capital city Australia at in professional or managerial roles.32
9.8% over the 12 months to April
2018,28 yet it remains more than Further north, Queensland’s top
$200,000 cheaper than Melbourne two regional performers were the
with a house price median of Sunshine Coast (5.1%) and the Gold
$505,000 compared to Melbourne’s Coast (1.9%)33 due to rising demand
$740,000.29 from interstate home owners and
investors. Increased tourism played
Shoalhaven/Southern Highlands was its part, with 7.4 million interstate
the strongest performing regional visitors holidaying there in 2017.34
market in New South Wales with
9.2% growth,30 driven by demand It is now more expensive to buy
from seachanging and treechanging a house on the Sunshine Coast,
downsizers and families. where the median is $589,000; and
the Gold Coast with a median of
$650,000 compared to Brisbane Seven of the top 10 regions to benefit
at $536,000.35 from departing Brisbane residents
were Queensland centres, with beach
ABS data confirms big city home cities topping the list. The Gold
owners are seeing real value in Coast, 70km south, gained 8,800
regional real estate in Victoria, former Brisbane residents and the
New South Wales and Queensland. Sunshine Coast 6,700.

Tens of thousands of big smoke The Gold Coast seems to have
property owners opted to cash in magnetic appeal, as it was amongst
their assets or upgrade their homes the top 10 destinations chosen by
more affordably with a lifestyle city escapees in every single state
switch from metro to regional and territory, attracting 19,400
areas in FY17.36 people from the eight capitals.

The top two locations chosen by Commonwealth Games
Sydney escapees were Newcastle/ infrastructure has brought major
Lake Macquarie in the north (5,500 new liveability, employment and
arrivals from Sydney) and Illawarra investment to the city, the light rail
in the south (5,300 arrivals). has improved accessibility and there
Melbourne switchers favoured are plenty of new sporting facilities
Latrobe-Gippsland (7,300 arrivals for families.
from Melbourne) and Geelong
(6,900 arrivals). City slickers’ exodus to treechange
and seachange localities is evident
Up north, Brisbane is yet to boom in CoreLogic’s latest property
so there is no ripple effect in play, sales analysis, which shows that
however there was still a significant dwelling values fell by -3.7% across
migration away from the capital the capital cities but rose by 1.2%
to large seachange destinations across the combined regional markets
in FY17. in the 12 months to September.37

McGrath Report 2019 19

Graphical
Snapshots

GEELONG

Lifestyle markets and 278,929Population: Education:
satellite cities within two
hours’ commute of primary 5 year population growth: 1 university
metropolitan areas are (Deakin University)
the biggest winners of the 38%
metro-regional switch. $505,000Median house price: Biggest employers:
While affordability remains
a key reason to move, many Hospitals, retail, cafes
say buyers are increasingly and restaurants
talking about escaping from
city stress, traffic and cost Unemployment:
of living.
6%
Source: Census of Population and Housing: QuickStats,
Geelong (SA4), Sunshine Coast (SA4), Newcastle 12 month median Commute:
(Commonwealth Electoral Division), 2016, Australian
Bureau of Statistics, published June 27, 2017. Hedonic 12.2%house price growth: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Home Value Index, September 2018 Results, Core Logic, by road to Melbourne
published October 2, 2018. Melbourne escapees
in the past 12 months: Recreation:

6,894 15 minutes from
Surf Coast beaches

$616Average weekly income:

Median weekly house rent:

$350

20 Trend 3 Regional is the new black

NEWCASTLE SUNSHINE COAST

152,948Population: Education: 346,522Population: Education:

5 year population growth: 1 university 5 year population growth: 1 university
(University of (University of the
13.5% Newcastle) 11.4% Sunshine Coast)

$625,000Median house price: Biggest employers: $589,000Median house price: Biggest employers:

12 month median Health care and social 12 month median Health care and social
assistance, education assistance, construc-
9.6%house price growth: and training 6.1%house price growth: tion and retail

Sydney escapees Unemployment: Sydney escapees Unemployment:
in the past 12 months: in the past 12 months:
7.3% 7.1%
5,502 6,687
Commute: Commute:
(Newcastle/Lake $612Average weekly income:
Macquarie region) 2 hours by road 1.5 hours by road
to Sydney to Brisbane; 2 hours
to the Gold Coast
Recreation:
Recreation:
8 public beaches
and 6 surf clubs 6 coastal regions
between Noosa and
$670Average weekly income: Caloundra with more
than 30 beaches

$440Median weekly house rent: Median weekly house rent:

$490

McGrath Report 2019 21

CITY

SydneySPOTLIGHT

22 City Spotlight Sydney

With Sydney’s market slowdown dominating
the headlines and dinner time conversations, the focus
has been on short term price fluctuations, falling auction
clearance rates and reduced buyer competition across

the city. But Sydney has a much better story to tell,
with once-in-a-generation change on its way in the
biggest sub-market within our city – Western Sydney,
where almost half of Sydney’s population currently
lives and where a million more residents will settle

by the early 2030s.38

Median Median
house price* apartment price*

$976K $735K

The 24-hour, curfew-free Western 75% growth in home values between The Northern Beaches Hospital will
Sydney Airport and its world class February 2012 and the market peak of open in October 2018, the Sydney
Aerotropolis business precinct July 2017.40 Metro Northwest rail will be running in
will be one of Australia’s biggest the first half of 2019 and the CBD and
infrastructure projects undertaken Home values dipped -4.5% in FY1841 South East Light Rail and the second
in decades, with tens of thousands of – a proverbial drop in the ocean stage of WestConnex will follow in 2020.
new jobs and billions in new investment compared to boom growth. Sydney’s
about to permeate our most affordable median house price finished FY18 With finance restrictions making it
property market, where prices have at $1.012 million and the median tough for investors and upgraders,
the most room to grow. apartment price was $753,000. there is stronger activity amongst
downsizers, who often buy without a
It’s all about to start, with soil due to be Cooling conditions are a relief for loan; and first home buyers supported
turned at the 1,780 hectare Badgerys buyers and a healthy change for by the bank of mum and dad.
Creek site by Christmas 2018. This is Australia’s biggest property market,
the most important thing happening which will revert to normal trading Stamp duty cuts have had a significant
in Sydney right now. The airport will conditions for at least a few years. impact, with first home buyer activity
service 5 million passengers in its first in New South Wales peaking at 15% of
year and up to 80 million per annum by While softer prices will bring the market early in 2018, the highest
2056 – more than London’s Heathrow opportunities for buyers in some it has been since late 2012.42 Young
Airport today.39 parts of Sydney, new infrastructure buyers are favouring Sydney’s West
about to come online will buck the and South West, in particular Liverpool,
The current market slowdown is an trend and re-rate local home values Kingswood, Camden, Campbelltown
inevitable part of the cycle following in certain areas. and Riverstone.43

McGrath Report 2019 23

A wave of downsizing across Australia sharemarket gains, business confidence
is coming as more baby boomers hit and an improving economy have
retirement age. Sydney downsizers encouraged people to invest more of
have replenished superannuation lost their wealth in the tax-free haven of a
in the GFC and the property boom has trophy home in iconic harbourside and
substantially lifted the value of their beachside locations.
homes, putting them in a good position
to buy as the market cools. This time in the cycle requires
Sydneysiders to do what most people
The Federal Government wants them unfortunately can’t – adopt a longer
on the move to free up desperately term view. The market has cooled,
needed family homes for younger with BIS Oxford Economics predicting
generations. From July 1, 2018, Sydney’s median house price will
downsizers are being incentivised with remain lower than its peak through
people aged 65 or over able to make a to 2021.44
one-off $300,000 contribution from
the sale proceeds of their home into With interest rates so low and prices
super ($600,000 for couples). softening, now is the time to invest and/
or pay down debt. The next upswing
Prestige property has had good price might be many years away but Sydney
growth over the past few years, with still has plenty of capacity for capital
some tapering off in 2018. Strong growth.

A wave of
downsizing

across
Australia is
coming as
more baby
boomers hit
retirement

age.

24 City Spotlight Sydney

2

1

5
4

3

John McGrath’s 1. Putney 4. Earlwood
Top Picks Once dominated by mainly public housing Blessed with having one of Sydney’s great
residences, this charming waterside pocket multi-cultural diverse mixes with Greek,
is one of Sydney’s least known riverfront Italian and Lebanese heritage delivering
addresses. When it goes the way of its a wonderful vibe to this beautiful garden
sought-after neighbour Hunters Hill, you’ll suburb. And with Marrickville shops up the
be regretting not owing a small piece of it. road you won’t go wanting for great eating
options or a strong Turkish coffee or two.
2. Avalon Beach
The glorious Northern Beaches continues to 5. Stanmore
offer value to Sydney buyers for a world-class The Inner West continues to attract both
coastal lifestyle. Avalon Beach and surrounds upwardly mobile executives and families, as
is my pick of the available addresses mainly well as downsizing baby boomers looking to
because of the charming retail village which move closer to the action. Attached cottages,
sets it apart. Enjoy the Palm Beach lifestyle bungalows and now a selection of apartments
without the hefty price tag. delivers something for almost everyone within
15 minutes of the city.
3. Maroubra
Like Avalon in the north, Maroubra Beach
offers relative value if you’re prepared to
travel a few extra minutes to track into the
CBD. The heartland of the South Sydney
Rabbitohs, this beachside neighbourhood will
catch up in time to its slightly more glamorous
neighbouring beaches.

McGrath Report 2019 25

The It has taken just three decades for planning and investment partnership
rebirth Western Sydney to evolve from a quiet in Australia’s history. Inked in March
outlying region with vast open greenfield 2018, the federal, state and eight local
of spaces and small communities into governments have pledged to cooperate in
Western Australia’s third largest economy, where a ‘once-in-a-generation transformation of
Sydney the population is expected to surpass Sydney’s outer west’ through the creation
that of Brisbane and Perth combined of Western Parkland City, incorporating
today by 2050.45 Liverpool, Penrith, Campbelltown-
Macarthur and the airport.
Its sheer size and distance from the
CBD has kept property comparatively This is one of three cities envisioned
affordable, with two long-standing under The Greater Sydney Plan.
issues holding it back – not enough local A second city called Central River City
jobs and a long commute on congested will be concentrated around Parramatta,
roads or overflowing public transport to where more than $10 billion is being
Sydney’s employment and recreational invested in transport, education, health,
heart, the CBD. sport and cultural projects over the five
years to 2021.48
But everything is about to change.
Construction is underway on the
Billions of dollars in government $2.8 billion Parramatta Square, one of
investment, hundreds of thousands of Australia’s largest urban renewal projects
new jobs, massive new public transport ever, which will create a new workplace
and Sydney’s second international for 23,500 people and include the
airport are set to transform this region country’s biggest commercial tower.49
and electrify our most affordable
housing market. The big vision is for Sydneysiders to
work, live and play within 30 minutes
Western Sydney Airport is the but to achieve this out west, we need
gamechanger of a lifetime. Its most revolutionary transport change to
immediate impact will be jobs, with early improve connectivity within the region
earthworks in late 2018 creating 300 of and shorten the CBD commute.
the 11,000 construction jobs needed for
the build, with at least 30% mandated for This starts in 2019 with the first
locals. A further 27,000 jobs will follow heavy train line for the North West
in the five years after it opens in 2026, commencing operations.
with 50% targeted for locals.46
The 33km WestConnex is also on its
Spanning 1,780 hectares – almost twice way, which will take 25 minutes off the
the size of Kingsford Smith, the airport Parramatta to CBD trip; and planning
will adjoin a 10,000 hectare Aerotropolis has begun for the Metro West, a fast
housing scores of local and international train service which will reduce the same
companies in high tech, health, defence, commute from 32 minutes to as little
agribusiness, freight and logistics, with as 15 minutes.50
direct exporting and importing made
easy due to the airport’s 24-hour, curfew- Locally, the 20km Parramatta Light Rail
free operations. It will also have an will connect several western precincts
Aerospace Institute, high performance for the very first time, creating 5,000
secondary school and STEM university.47 jobs51 and stimulating economic growth
with residents able to easily access jobs,
Extensive road upgrades to entertainment and sporting options.
accommodate the airport are already
underway, including the $1.6 billion Western Sydney is the one area of
Northern Road upgrade; and planning Sydney with vast untapped potential
has begun for the fully funded first stage and the land required to capitalise on it.
of a new train line from St Marys to The future of this crucial region begins
the airport. now. Its impending rebirth coupled
with today’s cooling market provides an
This is all part of the newly signed incredible opportunity to invest now and
Western Sydney City Deal, the largest reap maximum rewards in the future.

26 City Spotlight Sydney

McGrath Report 2019 27

CITY

MelbourneSPOTLIGHT

28 City Spotlight Melbourne

Following 51% growth in home values over five years,52
Melbourne’s boom finally peaked in November 2017 –

five months later than Sydney, with its cooling
phase starting slowly but gathering pace in mid-2018.

Properties retained their value in FY18 with 1%
growth,53 however overall buyer demand is clearly
weaker, primarily amongst investors but increasingly
also owner occupiers as tightened lending criteria

takes hold of the market.

Median Median
house price* apartment price*

$800K $562K

In the 12 months to June 2018, the stamp duty concessions and the new Family buyers are also fuelling strong
number of homes listed for sale $50 million HomesVic co-purchasing construction activity in the city’s outer
remained roughly the same as the program, whereby the government east, north and west at the rate of
previous year, however sales fell takes a 25% equity share to increase 1,500 new family households per week,
by -16.8%54. At the end of FY18, affordability for buyers and reduce the according to the Housing Industry
Melbourne’s median house price was need for larger deposits. Association.59
$821,000 and the median apartment
price was $574,000.55 Official figures show 250 buyers have A longstanding correlation between
provisional approval to buy via the property prices and school zones
As always in a slowdown, the citywide pioneering program, which offers up to means homes in sought-after districts
market has become patchy with prices 400 properties in Melbourne suburbs should somewhat defy the slowdown,
in outer areas continuing to grow including Dandenong, Ringwood and particularly given the premium families
while the inner and middle Melbourne Sunshine, and regional hubs including are willing to pay.
markets broadly taper off. Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong.57
Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV)
CoreLogic56 figures show top quartile Nine of Melbourne’s top 10 suburbs for sales figures for CY1760 show houses in
values have fallen -4.1% over the past median house price growth in the year popular public school catchments were
12 months while the lower quartile to June 2018 were located in the middle up to $400,000 more expensive than
has grown by 7.5%. to outer ring areas in the sub-$700,000 homes just outside the zone.
price range. The best performers were
Entry level suburbs with houses under Coolaroo (37%), Melton South (32%), Examples include South Yarra Primary
$600,000 are drawing strong interest Melton (27%), Sanctuary Lakes (29%) (median house price $410,000 higher
from first home buyers aided by and Sunbury (26%).58 than homes 1km outside the zone),

McGrath Report 2019 29

Altona Primary ($325,000), Valkstone Government figures show employment Victoria
Primary ($250,000), Camberwell High in Melbourne has grown by 13.9% continues to
($289,000) and McKinnon Secondary since November 2012, with current attract the
College ($235,000). projections of 9.8% further jobs lion’s share of
growth by May 2022.65 international
“Parents of school-aged children are investment
investing in the family home by buying Massive new infrastructure will in Australian
into areas zoned for some of the city’s transform the city over a four year residential
best public schools, rather than paying period from 2018. It is costing real estate.
the equivalent in private school fees,” $38.4 billion – about seven times
says Richard Simpson, REIV President. up on Victoria’s $5.6 billion average
annual infrastructure spend over
Victoria continues to attract the lion’s the past decade.66
share of international investment in
Australian residential real estate. The brand new 9km Metro Tunnel
Victoria represented 41% of Australia’s and its five stations, due for completion
13,198 approved applications in in 2025, will improve CBD connectivity
FY17, more than any other state and likely result in price growth
and 8% higher than New South in beneficiary suburbs including
Wales.61 The total value of proposals Kensington, South Kensington,
was $10.33 billion of the nationwide North Melbourne and Parkville.
$25.2 billion pie.
Investment worth $6.7 billion on the
Top flight education facilities continue West Gate Tunnel project will aid those
to attract international students, in the city’s growing western fringe,
with the University of Melbourne and which offers family houses for less than
Monash named in the World Higher $600,000. The underground road will
Education Top 100 rankings again reduce congestion and commuter times
in 2018.62 when it launches in 2022, linking the
West Gate Freeway, Maribyrnong River
Foreign buyers with deep pockets also and the Port of Melbourne.
remain active in Melbourne’s prestige
market, reportedly setting a new house
price record in February 2018 when
Stonington Mansion in Malvern changed
hands for $52.5 million.

International air access to Melbourne
will be enhanced by Avalon’s new
international terminal, with Air Asia
flights commencing in December 2018.
The airline expects to carry 500,000
passengers per year between Avalon
and Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam
and Delhi.

A 340-hectare greenfield industrial
precinct is being built alongside the
curfew-free airport, which will generate
1,180 new jobs once operational.

Looking long term, Melbourne offers
far more robust prospects for capital
growth due to strong population and
employment growth, major investment
in infrastructure and cheaper housing
than Sydney. All of this should provide
a comparatively softer market landing.

Victoria’s net population grew by
18,200 new residents in FY17, more
than any other state or territory,63
which helped put Melbourne just shy
of 5 million residents.64

30 City Spotlight Melbourne

2
4
3

5

1

John McGrath’s 1. Bonbeach 4. Box Hill
Top Picks If hunting beachside bargains, Bonbeach must Just 14km from the CBD with its own rail
top the 2019 shopping list. With a median hub and hospital, Box Hill’s astonishing
house price of just $900,500,67 expect the 118.9% growth since 2013 has pushed the
ripple effect of pricier neighbours Edithvale median house price to $1.696 million.70 But
and Aspendale to wash over this undervalued its golden era is far from over. The Chinese
postcode. Cafes arrived in 2018; a sure sign community, which represents about 27%
of what’s ahead. of residents,71 fights hard to buy in Box Hill
Secondary College zone, one of the city’s top
2. Thornbury public schools. Houses on large blocks remain
First home buyers are keen to stay as close goldmines for small developers.
to Brunswick’s action as money will allow,
which will continue to underpin value growth. 5. Cheltenham
Interestingly apartments listed with a median Straddling Nepean Highway, house prices
price of $500,000 are on the market for just on Cheltenham’s west side are still well
30 days.68 Strong investor interest and low beneath those of its salubrious neighbours
1% vacancy rates suggest a strong performer Sandringham, Mentone and Black Rock.
going forward, according to SQM Research.69 Its second metro commuter rail option, the
recently opened Southland Station, cements
3. Wantirna this suburb’s profile as a business and
Wantirna South’s median entered the commuter hub.
$1 million club in 2018, so its sister suburb,
Wantirna is inevitably next in line. With
a median house price of $960,600,72 it
offers excellent transport links, schools and
proximity to Westfield Knox Shopping Centre,
which will undergo a long-awaited major
redevelopment from November 2019.

McGrath Report 2019 31

CITY

Brisbane &SPOTLIGHT
surrounds

32 City Spotlight Brisbane & surrounds

South East Queensland will be the prime beneficiary
of Sydney and Melbourne’s slowdown, with the economy

starting to turn a corner and the state re-claiming
its place as Australia’s No 1 destination for internal
migration, as more families and downsizers from the

southern cities cash-in for a lifestyle in the sun.

Median Median
house price* apartment price*

$539K $381K

Economic growth and jobs are closely Brisbane is one of the world’s great About 5,200 Sydneysiders and 2,500
tied to every property market’s cities. Liveability, affordability, scale Melburnians moved to the Gold Coast in
performance and Queensland has and future economic prospects all FY17 and a further 1,500 migrated from
suffered in the shadow of the mining suggest that Brisbane is a market in Melbourne to the Sunshine Coast.78
downturn. But boosted tourism, surging which you can confidently invest.
gas exports and the strongest annual Strong local economies, population
growth in jobs in more than a decade The value gap between the East Coast growth and internal migration has
are combining for a comeback.73 capitals is compelling – it is the largest translated into better property price
it has ever been between Brisbane and growth in the regions, with house prices
Economic growth is projected to Melbourne and the largest in 15 years rising 4.8% on the Gold Coast and
accelerate from 2.5% in FY17 to 3% with Sydney, according to CoreLogic. 6.1% on the Sunshine Coast compared
by FY19, supported by the biggest to 3.1% in Brisbane over the 12 months
infrastructure spend since the 2011 A median priced house in Brisbane is to June 2018.79
flood recovery, announced in the FY19 $437,000 cheaper than Sydney and
Budget74 in June 2018. $260,000 cheaper than Melbourne.77 The Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast are
This level of affordability, coupled now more expensive than the state’s
Worth $45.8 billion over four years, with positive economic signs means capital, with median house prices of
the capital works program is designed Brisbane is primed for future growth. $650,000 and $589,000 respectively
to stimulate economic growth, compared to Brisbane at $536,000.80
encourage private sector investment Amongst the thousands of southern
and create tens of thousands of jobs, migrants relocating north, there The last time the Gold Coast had such
including 38,000 in FY19 alone,75 is currently a clear preference for a substantial premium to Brisbane was
which should go a long way in raising beachside living, with the Gold Coast in July 2008.
consumer confidence and encouraging and Sunshine Coast favoured over
further internal migration. Brisbane. This might be a sign of the future with
a huge wave of downsizing due to unfold
Looking ahead, economic forecaster These two regions have weathered over the next two decades across
BIS Oxford Economics76 says Brisbane the mining downturn particularly well, Australia. Queensland’s best seachange
will lead the capitals with 13% property with significant local infrastructure locations, such as the Gold Coast
price growth predicted by 2021, spending, jobs growth and the 2018 and Noosa have long been favourite
although more of this growth will Commonwealth Games on the Gold destinations amongst downsizers
occur in 2021. Coast offsetting the impact. looking for a more relaxed life.

McGrath Report 2019 33

Economic While affordability is part of investors, with the city’s apartment
growth is Queensland’s attraction, massive rental yield at 4.8% far superior to
projected to growth in Sydney and Melbourne Sydney at 3.9% and Melbourne at 4%.83
accelerate property prices over a prolonged period
from 2.5% in means southern migrants can afford Australia’s favourite seachange
FY17 to 3% to buy wherever they like. destination is more appealing than ever
by FY19. before, with the Gold Coast amongst
Within Brisbane, southern migrants the top 10 destinations of all capital
34 and local upgraders are favouring city migrants in FY17, attracting 19,400
premium property in blue chip inner people from the eight capitals, including
ring areas close to the CBD and/or 8,800 from Brisbane.84
river. This has led to above average
growth in desirable neighbourhoods The Commonwealth Games brought
like Hamilton (median house global attention to the city, along
price up 38.5% to $1.565 million), with 35,000 new jobs and a $2 billion
Paddington (up 15% to $1.15 million), economic benefit.85
Bulimba (up 11.3% to $1.307 million)
and Auchenflower (up 9.5% to An enormous infrastructure spend
$1.095 million).81 before and after the Games now
totals $13 billion,86 including light rail
While a temporary oversupply of expansion and the ongoing conversion
ordinary one and two bedroom of the Athletes Village into a world
apartments persists in Brisbane’s class Health and Knowledge Precinct,
inner city, exacerbated by weakened creating 26,000 new jobs and limitless
investor activity, there is solid demand new investment once completed.
from local and interstate downsizers
for large luxury apartments in the $1 The opportunity to work remotely, set
million-plus range in buzzy restaurant up a home business or take up one of
and entertainment precincts. thousands of new jobs is a big drawcard
for the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coasts
These include South Brisbane where today, which both have airport access.
258 apartments were exchanged at a
median price of $565,025, representing The Sunshine Coast also has strong
14.4% growth and making it Brisbane’s economic credentials, with the
best performing apartment market redevelopment of Maroochydore
over the 12 months to June 2018.82 CBD and the Sunshine Coast Airport
expansion underway. The Sunshine
Brisbane’s construction cycle peaked Coast Regional Council is planning
in 2016 and absorption of new stock light rail by 202587 and a Business
is now underway. There is great and Technology Park adjacent to the
opportunity for first home buyers and new university.

Toowoomba, about 120km west of
Brisbane, is benefiting from Australia’s
first private airport, Wellcamp Airport,
which began passenger services in
2014 and provides 80 direct flights
per week.

Toowoomba offers exceptional
affordability with a median house price
of just $377,000.88 Future growth is
assured with major infrastructure
projects such as the $1.6 billion Second
Range Crossing and the $10 billion
Brisbane to Melbourne Inland Rail
Project set to advance the region.

South East Queensland provides a
golden triangle of opportunity today
– from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine
Coast, including Brisbane and west to
Toowoomba. This region offers the best
short to medium term opportunities
for capital growth as well as the most
desirable lifestyle in Australia.

City Spotlight Brisbane & surrounds

1

4
3

5

2

John McGrath’s 2. Pimpama (Gold Coast) 4. Grange
Top Picks Pimpama recorded Queensland’s fastest The leafy inner-city suburb of Grange is fast
population growth at 31% in FY17, with buyers becoming popular with young families with its
1. Maroochydore (Sunshine Coast) enthusiastically buying or building brand new easy access to the CBD, relative affordability,
The economic hub of the Sunshine Coast, the homes. Pimpama is affordable with a median quality schools such as Wilston State School,
reinvention of Maroochydore is starting to take house price of $475,00089 and is located and access to the airport and both the
shape courtesy of its Priority Development within the rapidly developing northern Gold Sunshine and Gold Coast. The blocks are
Area designation. A 53-hectare greenfield Coast region along the M1 corridor. The typically a little larger than the average and
site in the heart of Maroochydore is being $100 million Pimpama City Shopping Centre is for a family friendly suburb, this is king.
transformed into a cutting edge CBD, with a opening in September 2018 and the $56 million
pledge to provide a 21st century epicentre that Northern Gold Coast Sports and Community 5. Springfield Lakes (Brisbane surrounds)
includes a high speed, high quality fibre optic Precinct is slated to open in 2020. A brand Located in the Ipswich region west of
network, free public Wi-Fi and an Australian new $470 million Westfield will open in nearby Brisbane, this popular master planned
first underground automated waste collection Coomera in late 2018 and there is a proposed community continues to attract new residents
system of this size. new train station to better connect it to with its population growing by 8.7% or 1,400
Surfers Paradise. The northern Gold Coast people in FY17.92 With a median house price of
population is projected to double from 75,000 $440,000,93 two new releases have come to
residents to 167,000 in 20 years, accounting market over the past year – Springfield Rise
for one third of the city’s total growth. and Creekwood. The region is set to benefit
from a proposed passenger rail line extension
3. Annerley (Brisbane) between Ipswich and Springfield via Ripley,
Only 4km from Brisbane CBD, this suburb has which is likely to be constructed after the
been under the radar until now. It neighbours Cross River Rail project is completed in 2024.
the more prestigious Highgate Hill and
Dutton Park, which is partly why the market
is showing signs of growth and gentrification.
While you need about $865,00090 to buy a
house in Dutton Park, next door in Annerley
you can pick up a solid home for less than
$710,000.91

McGrath Report 2019 35

CITY

CanberraSPOTLIGHT

36 City Spotlight Canberra

The rate of growth in Canberra’s market slowed in
FY18 but the city is expecting its fifth consecutive
year of price rises in FY19, driven by above average

population growth, limited supply of greenfield
land for new housing, ongoing job security and the

country’s highest wages.

Median Median
house price* apartment price*

$687K $444K

CoreLogic94 figures show the median Strong population growth, limited The apartment construction boom has
house price rose by 3.3% to $674,000 greenfield sites for new homes and met some of this demand but it has
in FY18, a deceleration on FY17 (9.7%) an impending wave of downsizing mostly been in town centres and along
that is largely attributable to tighter are prompting city planners to begin major transport routes, which does not
lending restrictions, which are impacting preparing for a ‘more compact city’, serve the 50% of residents surveyed who
every major market across Australia. with higher density living. would like to downsize in their existing
suburban communities as they age but
Economic forecaster BIS Oxford The community’s desire for greater have little to no small home options.97
Economics says Canberra house prices diversity of housing options was
will continue to rise at a slow and acknowledged in The Australia Capital This is a significant consideration for
steady pace through to 2021, with Territory Government Housing planners, given Canberra is expecting
10% capital growth predicted – the Choices Discussion Paper, released a 93% increase in over 65s by 2041.98
second highest rate of forecasted in November 2017.
growth in the country behind There is a clear preference amongst
Brisbane at 13%.95 The territory’s residential stock is 81% residents for more terraces,
separate dwellings,96 which has served townhouses and dual occupancies in
The most exciting thing happening in the city well in the past but does not established areas close to the city. Infill
Canberra is the prospect of significant suit its rapidly changing community development in the inner north and
zoning changes that will reshape profile. Canberra has one of the fasting inner south has been a success, with
the city’s largely single level housing ageing populations in the country and valuations firm Herron Todd White99
landscape to better meet the needs of single and couple-only households are noting particularly strong price growth
residents in the future. becoming far more prevalent. in the inner north in 2018 due to the

McGrath Report 2019 37

rising mix of housing, the intrinsic A temporary oversupply might First home
appeal of the leafy district and the eventuate, given weakening investor buyer activity
buzz over the new light rail. demand and the cultural challenge
of a city that is unaccustomed to in Canberra
The challenge for the government apartment living. peaked at 25%
is to meet the needs of its changing of new loans in
community whilst also maintaining First home buyer activity in Canberra
Canberra’s character as a garden city. peaked at 25% of new loans in early early 2018.
2018 – the highest it has been since
Canberra’s median apartment price 2009 and well above its long term
decreased -0.8% to $438,000 in average of 19%.104 From July 1, 2019,
FY18,100 with demand still high enough first home buyers with a household
to meet new levels of supply even with income under $160,000 will pay no
a drop-off in investor activity. stamp duty on new or established
properties.
The city has seen significant
development, with 6,700 new The long term fundamentals
apartments still in the pipeline until underpinning Canberra’s property
the end of FY20.101 For now, there is market remain strong. The territory’s
enough interest from local, interstate population grew by 2.2% in CY17105
and foreign investors as well as younger – well above its long term trend of
generations to keep prices stable. 1.5%. It is forecast to grow by 1.75%
The vacancy rate remains extremely in FY19 and FY20 before returning to
low, there is a strong tenant base of 1.5% thereafter.
public servants and yields are very
appealing at 5.7%102 – the highest Employment is forecast to grow by
amongst the East Coast capitals. 2% in FY19, before returning to trend
growth of 1.5%.106 Canberrans continue
Premium developments are attracting to enjoy high incomes averaging
the strongest enquiry. Local developer, $1,016 per week.107
Geocon sold 500 apartments
pre-launch in its luxury High Society Jobs growth has attracted new
27-storey twin tower project at residents, with Canberra amongst
Belconnen in July 2018. Earlier in the the top 10 destinations for all capital
year, they sold 250 apartments in one city migrants in FY17. It welcomed
night at the launch of Grand Central 12,000 people from the other capitals,
Towers in Woden.103 including 5,200 from Sydney.108

Canberra is quickly maturing into a
major metropolitan city. One of the
biggest transport projects in its history
will launch in December 2018, with
the gleaming new light rail corridors
snaking through Canberra’s north
linking the fast-growing Gungahlin
region to the city.

More international flights are opening
tourism and trade opportunities,
with Singapore Airlines and Qatar
Airways flying daily from Canberra
to Singapore and Doha. Tourism is
up and international education has
become the city’s largest services
export, with 17,000 overseas students
studying there.109

The City Renewal Authority,
established in 2017, is reviving London
Circuit with new office space, a hotel,
and retailers, as well as transforming
the 19-hectare Haig Park into a more
socially active recreational zone.

38 City Spotlight Canberra

5
4

1

3
2

John McGrath’s 1. Campbell 4. Kaleen
Top Picks This inner north suburb is a 25 minute walk This suburb provides a good entry point
into the city and a short stroll to Lake Burley into the inner north, with original older
Griffin. Several substantial new apartment style homes remaining affordable. Kaleen
projects have opened in recent times. Plaza, with its major supermarket and
A decade-long transformation of Constitution specialty shops, is complemented by smaller
Avenue on the border of Campbell has local shops. Proximity to the city and good
provided plenty of new eateries and shops transport links are a major plus. Demand
for locals. pushed house prices up 12.8% in the year
to June 2018 to a median $733,000.111
2. Greenway
A happy hunting ground for investors 5. Harrison
with impressive apartment median yields Harrison has expanded rapidly in the past
of around 6.4%,110 Greenway’s waterside few years, embracing multiculturalism and
living is enhanced by mountain views. an inner city vibe where unit and semi-
It is enjoying an influx of people buying detached living is popular with young families
affordable new townhouses and drawn and professionals. Set for future growth
by jobs at two government departments with local shopping amenity and eateries,
including the Department of Social Services close proximity to the airport, and the
national headquarters, which opened in added benefit of brand new light rail set to
September 2017. commence in December 2018 providing direct
access to the CBD.
3. Mawson
The Mawson Southlands Shopping Centre is
about to be redeveloped and upgraded. Young
couples are overhauling the older housing
stock and a bigger assortment of housing
choices is on the way.

McGrath Report 2019 39

Pages 4—9 27. Estimates of Personal Income for Small The Committee for Sydney, published July Capital Cities End Up? CoreLogic, published
Has Uber Eats shrunk the kitchen? Areas, Employee Income, 2011-16, Australian 2018. https://www.thechamber.com.au/ May 14, 2018.
1. Hedonic Home Value Index, January 2018 Bureau of Statistics, published June 19, 2018. getattachment/Projects-and-Campaigns/ 85. Gold Coast Community News, City of Gold
Results, CoreLogic, published February 1, 2018. 28. Regional Housing Market Value Growth Projects/Sydney-Metro-West- Coast, published July 2018.
2. Characteristics of Employment, Australia, Performance, April 2018, CoreLogic, published Measuring-the-impact-of-travel/ 86. ibid.
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2017, published January 2018. May 30, 2018. 53. Hedonic Home Value Index, June 2018
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25. Regional Housing Market Value Growth 49. Walker Corporation Breaks Ground at $2.8B 81. Market Trends, 12 months to June 30, 2018, budget-in-brief/economic-outlook.
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QuickStats, Geelong and Melbourne, 2016, walker-corporation-breaks-ground-at-2-8- 83. Market Trends, 12 months to June 30, 2018,
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