Canberra’s record-breaking run “off the Richter”

No. 36 MacNaughton St in Higgins sold for $980,000.

Canberra’s record-breaking run shows no signs of abating, with competitive buyer demand, low interest rates and strong economic conditions creating unprecedented levels of inquiry.

In what has been described as arguably one of the hottest markets in the country, Canberra has seen several suburb sales records smashed in February and March.

Suburbs that rewrote the property history books included Farrer, Giralang, Franklin, Oxley, Latham, Curtin and Higgins.

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Nerida Conisbee, chief economist at realestate.com.au, said the residential property market in the national capital was “off the Richter”, and such significant price hikes and buyer competition may not have been attained without the pandemic.

“The Canberra market is incredibly strong and has done better through COVID than it probably would have done without the pandemic,” Ms Conisbee said.

No. 125 Hawkesbury Crescent in Farrer sold for $2.21 million.

“There have been very strong increases in employment in the government sector. Obviously, it’s a very dependent market on the government sector and this year is looking like another record year for Canberra.”

Ms Conisbee said she was not surprised at the string of suburb records in recent months and predicted they would continue for some time.

“I just think Canberra will keep smashing records until something happens to pricing more generally, whether that’s an interest rate rise or restrictions on finance. But for now, Canberra really is a red-hot market.”

In February, an impressive home at 11 Boucaut Place in Curtin sold for $2.7 million, beating the suburb’s previous record by $200,000.

There have been a number of suburb records across Canberra.

Just weeks later, the recently-renovated home at 36 MacNaughton Street, Higgins sold under the hammer for $980,000, blitzing the suburb’s record by $158,000.

In early March, 125 Hawkesbury Crescent, Farrer set a new sales record for the tightly-held suburb, selling for $2.21 million at auction and pipping the existing record by $110,000.

And a new record was set for Giralang last week, when the 1970s classic at 42 Baracchi Crescent sold for $1.25 million, eclipsing the suburb’s 2018 record by $45,000.

Blackshaw managing director Andrew Chamberlain said he had never seen such an extraordinary market in his three decades in real estate in Canberra.

“We are seeing unprecedented levels of inquiry, we are seeing buyer FOMO [fear of missing out] and it’s really a market like I’ve never seen,” Mr Chamberlain said.

“The numbers of people turning up to our viewings and auctions continues to amaze, and we’re routinely getting five, 10, 15 and 20% above reserve prices at our auctions.”

Sam McGregor, from McGrath – North Canberra, who made the Giralang sale, said desperate buyers were looking at neighbouring suburbs to their preferred areas, with limited stock and a flood of buyer inquiry forcing prices up.

No. 42 Baracchi Crescent in Giralang sold for $1.25 million.

“I can confidently say that demand for property is outstripping supply,” Mr McGregor said.

“Over the last 12 months there’s been a huge spike in prices, obviously driven by demand for good quality property close to the city. But people who may not have considered suburbs ‘inner’ are now seeing them as close enough to the city to be palatable.”

He added that 11 of the 13 properties he has sold recently had gone to interstate purchasers.

“These people who have sold property in booming markets are bringing their money to Canberra.”

Mr Chamberlain said while the price increases were not sustainable long term, he was confident this could be the ‘new normal’ for at least the next year.

“The underlying driver really is the low interest rates and there’s nothing to suggest that’s going to change any time soon. The opportunities for people to spend money overseas are not going to open up any time soon, so I think this will be the case for the next 12 months.”

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