Australia Canberra house prices continue to climb throughout COVID-19 pandemic, as supply hits five-year low

00:15  28 november  2020
00:15  28 november  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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In July, Australian home prices fell 0.6 per cent — continuing a downward trend in the nation's But in the ACT, low supply and high demand is driving prices up. The national capital bucking the trend has Canberra first home buyer Farhan Abbasi was looking to snag a bargain during the COVID - 19

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a view of a city street filled with lots of traffic: The cost of the average Canberra home has risen $70,000 this year, despite the pandemic. (ABC News: Toby Hunt) © Provided by ABC Business The cost of the average Canberra home has risen $70,000 this year, despite the pandemic. (ABC News: Toby Hunt)

Jared Dent's tenants were moving out of his investment property and he was thinking about selling.

When he saw what was happening to the market in Canberra, his mind was made up for him.

According to CoreLogic data, house and unit prices in the ACT have increased by 3 per cent since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

It came as a surprise to Mr Dent, who was thinking about selling his investment property in Downer in Canberra's north which he bought a decade ago.

"We looked at the prices in our suburb and it is almost like the pandemic had not existed," Mr Dent said.

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"It is not something we planned to do but the opportunity arose because we had tenants moving out and we pushed forward because COVID did not seem to be having an effect."

Mr Dent's house is going to auction, but he said in the time it had been on the market he had already received two offers that exceeded his expectations.

According to CoreLogic's head of Australian research Eliza Owen, Canberra's housing market has at a relatively strong pace throughout 2020.

"The typical house value has risen to $740,000 when we were sitting at $670,000 a year ago," Ms Owen said.

Why are prices climbing in a global pandemic?

According to CoreLogic, there are some growth drivers that are unique to the ACT.

"The migration data is showing us that the ACT has typically had very low levels of overseas migration exposure, so the shock of international border closures have not affected the market as much," Ms Owen said.

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"We have seen net internal migration, based on provisional data from the ABS, increase over the June quarter and more people came into the region than moved away."

Jobs have also remained stable in Canberra's higher-paid sectors and in the public sector — where employment dropped by less than 1 per cent.

Steady employment, combined with record low interest rates and government schemes to stimulate the economy and construction industry, mean Canberra's house prices were only destined to head in one direction — up.

Supply is scant, and going fast

Homes up for sale in the national capital are not only selling for more, they are going quickly too.

"The preliminary clearance rate has averaged about 83 per cent in the past four weeks and the final clearance rate is settling around 78 per cent ," Ms Owen said.

"We have seen typical days on market come down to about 39 days, whereas this time last year they were sitting at about 53 days."

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Many of those houses are currently going up for auction, which is unsurprising given the competition.

CoreLogic data shows about 2,050 dwellings for sale in the past month, about 30 per cent fewer than the same time last year.

In fact, total stock levels of property for sale in the ACT are currently at a five-year low, putting a spanner in the works for many potential buyers hoping to bag a bargain during the economic downturn.

Ms Owen said Mr Dent had bucked the trend of people willing to sell in the midst of a pandemic.

Mr Dent said while his circumstances meant he was lucky to be in his position, he sympathised with those on the other side of the bidding.

"I will take it on the upside when we are selling, but I am not going to jump straight back into the market because prices are high," he said.

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