Property commentators Cam Sullings and Renee Bogatko reveal the trending properties and regions in Canberra with the best investment opportunities.
Cam and Renee, the hosts of Canberra Mix 106.3’s Real Estate Show, have decades of experience and a remarkable network in Canberra property.
On Property Hub’s Get Invested podcast, the duo joined KnowHow founder Bushy Martin to talk about the emerging opportunities in Canberra, as well as the expected upcoming trends in investor behaviour and mindset.
Increase in units, apartments and townhouses in Canberra
The biggest developing trend the duo has observed over the last couple of years is an influx of units and apartments being constructed in Canberra.
“So this is definitely down through what they’re calling the Northbourne corridor, which is, as you drive into town, that is Northbourne Avenue is what takes you down into Civic across Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and then up to Parliament House. So with the construction of light rail, there is huge amounts of development there. But developments are also taking place in the surrounding regions in Belconnen and Tuggeranong and certainly Woden as well,” Cam said.
“But what there has been a big lack of, although builders and designers are starting to get in on these, is townhouses. A couple of years ago you couldn’t get a townhouse because number one, they just weren’t coming onto the market, and number two, if they were coming onto the market, they were selling at highly inflated prices.
“So I think there’s a real appetite and a thirst for that in between, not apartment living, but not also traditional home living. It’s for the people who might be wanting to come out of a unit into something bigger but can’t afford a house, and it’s for downsizers as well – older people, for example who are downsizing and come down into a three bedroom townhouse with a beautiful courtyard in a nice setting. That’s pretty attractive to a lot of people. And they will be able to sell their property at what will probably be a huge profit margin. So they’ll have somewhere nice to live in a townhouse and they’ll have the money to either invest, to live on or do whatever they want.”
Movement to regions surrounding Canberra
Decentralisation has also continued to occur post COVID, especially in the nation’s capital.
“Something that we’ve been hearing about on our show, and something I’ve noticed just in my own research and things that I see on social media, is the surrounding regions. So we’ve got lots of surrounding towns – Queanbeyan, Cooma, Murrumbateman and a number of others where, particularly during COVID, there seemed to be almost a mass exodus of people going because they’re not far from where we are here at all. They still have access to everything they need, but they feel like they’re getting that space, which is what a lot of people obviously wanted during COVID,” Renee said.
“And I think there’s certainly a hangover there that’s still lingering, and people are still wanting that and seeking that. And I’ve certainly noticed that a lot of real estate agents who sort of service those regional and rural areas just outside of Canberra, I think are really capitalising on that. Just looking at a lot of their social media, they’re understandably playing up to that desire that people have by really pushing people to those regional and rural areas. And so I think that there’ll be a lot of more opportunities in that space as well moving forward.”
Bushy added: “As long as that technology is there, and we’re connected and we can still operate effectively – which is the case particularly in Canberra and surrounds – then there’s a really good opportunity, and it’s going to spread a little bit from the concentration that used to be around the CBD and the blue chip stuff. Now it’s a much more decentralised approach which creates a lot of great opportunities for people.”
Caution in Canberra’s property market
A great deal of caution is expected from prospective buyers and investors, although Cam and Renee believe Canberra won’t feel the full effect of this.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of caution this year. I think a lot of people are scared and I think a lot of people are worried about what their futures look like,” Renee said.
“Although I think we are, in a way, fairly insulated in ways on what goes on in Canberra. So what a lot of people are experiencing and looking at on a national scale doesn’t always affect us in the same way. We obviously have a high percentage of people in Canberra who work in the public service, and we have Parliament here and government, so I think we have some other influences on our property market here. But I think we’re going to see a lot of caution this year and it’ll be really interesting to see how it plays out.”
A need to expect the unexpected in Canberra
Despite all the numbers and forecasts thrown around by various sources, the duo advise investors to always expect the unexpected in property, in Canberra and beyond.
“We can’t predict what’s going to happen. A lot of our guests have told us over the time, whether you’re a buyer or seller, to buy or sell when it’s right for you, because we can’t predict. I mean, we can kind of look at and guess what we think is going to happen however long down the track, but if you’re ready and if you have all your ducks in a row, then just do it. Take that leap when it’s right for you,” Renee said.
“In that COVID period, we all had to adapt. We all experienced the significant changes in the market from that. But then since, in all of these interest rate rises, no one predicted that they would hit us as hard as what they have. So we’ve all had to adapt. I know the number of people, like owner occupiers in Canberra, who’ve had to refinance. Those figures have been going through the roof, and in fact I’m one of those people. So to expect the unexpected I think is a big takeaway.”