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Darwin expecting a real estate surge after borders reopen

As Northern Territory’s borders reopen on Friday to most of the country, real estate agents are expecting buyers, renters, and holidaymakers to flood the capital city.

Darwin is hot right now – and not just on the thermostat. The rental vacancy rate sits at 1.8 per cent, the lowest it’s been for seven years. In addition, the value of housing in Darwin rose 0.4 per cent during the June quarter, with Canberra and Hobart the other only capitals to see house prices rise during the same period.

Darwin’s residential real estate listings fell 5.3 per cent in June, with overall listings having declined 22.2 per cent since this time last year. This may lead to a competitive market developing, as many opt to flee corona hotspots in favour of the NT.

According to this month’s Herron Todd White review, Northern Territory is “the safest location in the country” having completely eradicated COVID-19.

Leading local sales agents are “reporting a stable level of interest for stock already on the market” with private appointments during the height of restrictions leading one agent to note “that this had led to more qualified buyers coming through and less tyre kickers”.

The HomeBuilder package, coupled with existing NT government packages means that “anecdotally some builders have seen a significant increase in enquiries”.

Will Johnson, from Herron Todd White, notes: “Another great positive in this scheme is that investors can also benefit, the government making it clear from the onset that investors who own a home and are a resident in the Northern Territory could also benefit.

“If we can continue on the current trajectory, with social distancing and also avoiding the second wave, we may see confidence return much sooner than expected with local sentiment already beginning to turn.”

According to Glenn Grantham, general manager of Raine & Horne Darwin, interstate buyers will often holiday or rent in Darwin first, before deciding to buy.

His office has already welcomed interest from a flood of short-term renters.

“The ‘try before you buy’ approach will work well again for the property market as tourists will land in Darwin in the dry season, which is a beautiful time of year, with average days of 32°Celsius and no humidity.

“For those vendors considering a sale, be prepared for an influx of interstate purchasers between now and September.”

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Nathan Jolly

Nathan Jolly was an in-house journalist with Elite Agent. He worked with the company from July 2020 to December 2020.