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Dinah Lewis Boucher @DinahBoucher
Located at our country’s top end,
the Northern Territory has been a
hot property market in more ways
than one for some time now. But when it
comes to Darwin’s property prices what
does it mean for first homebuyers? Are
they priced out of the market or are there
still options out there for them?
Raine & Horne Darwin general manager
Glenn Grantham says there’s no doubt
it’s a difficult situation for prospective
homeowners in the region.
“ Some first homebuyers are definitely
priced out of the market,” he says.
“ I mean one of the things we have here
is a higher average income because a
lot of our jobs and employment is based
around the oil and gas industry which
pays very well, so our average wage is
higher in general.
“ However, that’s not to say every wage
is because you’ve still got the retail sector.
You’ve got the large corporate groups
that are national groups, as well as your
large franchise groups and they only
pay commensurate to what gets paid
“ You’ve got some of these guys and girls
who are earning big dollars in the oil and
gas industry but at the same time you’ve
got people who are trying to enter the
market as a first homebuyer and they’re
just earning ordinary wages, the same as
anybody down south would, so that’s a
little bit of a conundrum.”
Grantham says first homebuyers in
Darwin are faced with a market that’s one
of the most expensive in the country.
“ Our median house prices are extremely
high in Darwin. We fluctuate between
being the second highest or being equal
second with Melbourne,” he says.
“ At one stage, we were only just behind
Sydney and if you have a look at the
population we have up here, it’s quite an
amazing figure when you’re only talking
about just over 125,000 people in a very
minor capital city. ”
Herron Todd White Darwin director
Will Johnson agrees and says the high
entry levels are a major obstacle for
“Probably the main thing that first
homeowners are facing here is really high
entry costs into the market,” he says.
“I f you want a house you’re looking at
half a million dollars. Even for a basic
sort of unit that’s $300,000 -plus. So
comparatively to a lot of other states it’s
And while it’s difficult to buy your first
property in Darwin it’s not impossible.
Johnson says there are still some areas
that first homebuyers can look to buy in
that won’t necessarily break the bank.
“T here are some pockets but it’s just
pretty basic smaller housing, generally
like two-bedroom units and then three-
bedroom homes,” he says.
“In the northern suburbs you have
ex-government attached units and
townhouses and they start around the
$350,000 to $400,000 mark.
“You also have some of the entry level
Palmerston locations that start at $250,000
to $300,000 for a unit and then around the
$500,000 for detached housing.
“Established northern suburbs with
the ex-government older basic homes.
All of these areas are well-serviced with
schools, shopping, public transport so
they’re popular spots.”
Real Estate Institute of the Northern
Territory board member Morgan Shearer
says buying off the plan may also be an
option for first homebuyers.
“T here are a number of entrepreneurial
builders currently looking at alternative
products that allow for extension at a
later date thereby allowing an initial
lower start-up or entry cost for first
homebuyers,” Shearer says.
“ T here are a number of current off-the-
plan unit projects that are attracting a
lot of first homebuyer interest due to the
price point, which is encouraging. ”
And he says a shortage of land supply is
continuing to play into the region’s overall
property pricing issue.
“Like the rest of the country, and perhaps
more so than most, we’re still suffering
from a supply and demand imbalance and
if our population continues to grow and
unemployment remains one of the lowest
in the country then price pressures on both
sales and rents will be around for a while.”
In an effort to help stimulate
construction, recent changes to the NT
First Home Owners Grant means that
it’s no longer available for purchases of
established homes. The State Government
has also removed the $600,000 price cap
in a bid to ease the supply imbalance,
“ However, if it doesn’t occur at a
necessary pace then not much changes,”
“ T here’s been a reasonable uptake
of house and land packages to first
homebuyers. The market for these is
also strong and much of it is out of reach
for an entry level (buyer). However, the
supply imbalance must be dealt with if
we’re ever to be able to relieve price and
“ T he NT Government is doing what it
can to release more land, but yet we’re
still way behind what we need, and thus it
needs to keep looking at ways to continue
releasing land in a timely manner and at a
reasonable cost. ” API
WHAT’S LEFT FOR
Darwin’s hot property market has left many first homebuyers out in the cold but all isn’t lost.
æSome first homebuyers are
definitely priced out of
the market.Æ Glenn Grantham
THE STATES // NT
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