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It’s the humid northern frontier of our
country, but big projects have been
driving economic success for the past
few years in the Northern Territory. Most
people coming to the NT expect Darwin
to be their home, but the capital is quickly
developing beyond its country town
status. The solution is Palmerston.
Ben Dornier, director of corporate and
community services at City of Palmerston,
says they welcomed their first residents
“The first suburbs developed were Driver
and Gray, with Moulden and Woodroffe
soon to follow. Bakewell and Gunn
were also delivered under the original
development schedule, with Marlow
Lagoon, Durack and Rosebery following
thereafter. These are largely completed
Dornier says the Palmerston Development
Authority was established in 1980 in
response to Darwin’s dramatic population
growth, which at the time was causing
stress on land availability and services.
Residential land had been in increasingly
short supply in Darwin from the post-
cyclone housing boom.
Dornier says Palmerston has grown
beyond expectation with current
projections predicting a population of
45,000 by 2025. He says local government
is looking to cement the future by
implementing its own strategy.
“Adopted in 2012, the first Palmerston
City Centre Master Plan looks at changes
over the next 15 years, and focuses on
creating a unique and sustainable identity
for the City of Palmerston.”
Palmerston has 10 fully developed
suburbs, with four new suburbs under
construction, according to Dornier, and
there are 3000 new residential allotments
due to come online over the next five years.
Quentin Kilian, chief executive officer of
the Real Estate Institute of the Northern
Territory, says Palmerston is a great place
to call home. And he should know – he
“It was lower socioeconomic, and then
a developer took a huge chunk of it to
develop out into what they called ‘The
Chase’. That was one of the first real
sparks to the region for the gentrification of
Palmerston,” he says.
Dornier says the city centre is home to
two existing shopping precincts, but more
“The city is preparing to welcome a new
major shopping development. Dubbed
‘The Gateway’, the project is estimated to
cost $300 million and will create thousands
of new jobs in Palmerston. Stage one is
due for completion at the end of 2014 or
In addition, a new $150 million Palmerston
Regional Hospital development was
recently announced for Palmerston North.
Palmerston has a relatively young
population with 26 per cent aged under 16
years. It has six primary schools, a middle
school and a high school, and planning
is under way for two more schools in the
new suburb of Zuccoli. The city is also
home to the Palmerston campus of Charles
Kilian says the area is dominated by
detached housing, particularly in the
established suburbs, and there are price-
accessible options in town.
“If you’re heading into the cheaper price-
points, you’re going to get something that’s
15 to 20 years old, smaller in size, probably
three-bedroom, one-bathroom, and in your
older suburbs,” he says.
“There’s a suburb called Driver... it’s
mostly slightly bigger houses but very old.
They’re (houses) selling at around $500,000
and units are selling under $400,000.”
There’s capital growth under way too.
Kilian says the upswing in Palmerston
values has been less dramatic than in
Darwin, but it’s steady and consistent.
Belinda Tonkin, an agent at Real Estate
Central, says buyers are being drawn to the
more recent constructions.
“The newer suburbs such as Johnston,
Gunn and Bellemack are the best
performers and purely because people are
attracted to newly-built homes,” she says.
“For investors, you can’t go past a three-
bedroom, two-bathroom new apartment
with an entry price of $465,000 and there
are currently no rentals available – last one
we had tenanted at $680 per week.
Kilian says strong yields are the norm
because of tenant demand.
“About 46 per cent or so of our population
is renting, which sounds extraordinary
but when you think of the city itself, it’s
like a very big country town and it’s in this
growth stage now.
“If you’re an investor, it’s still by far
some of the best yields that you’ll get
Non-locals should heed Kilian’s advice to
visit the city before parting with their cash.
“If they’re thinking about investing half
to three-quarters of a million dollars in
properties up here, they should get on a
plane, come up for a weekend and go for a
drive. That’s the best way to see what’s in
Sitting just 16 kilometres from the Northern Territory capital,
Palmerston is a planned city with a successful strategy.
æIf you’re an investor, it’s still by
far some of the best yields that
you’ll get in Australia.Æ Quentin Kilian
THE STATES // NT
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