20 Jul 2017

Why Canberra is a great place to invest

By Claire Corby

Capital Buyers Agency

Surrounded by national parks and farmland, Canberra really is the ‘Bush Capital’.

Forget the roundabouts, the cold winter mornings and ‘spot the politician out for dinner’ stereotypes, this beautiful city has been maligned. As a local, we like to keep the secret of Canberra to ourselves lest we not be able to park right on the doorstep of our destination one day! Canberra tends not to have those heart-in-mouth huge spikes and over-corrections of the bigger cities, instead providing a ‘steady as she goes’ pattern of sustainable growth coupled with flat periods over the long term. A great place to place your all-important nest egg for the future.

Canberra is home to the highest average incomes in Australia and a high standard of living, with plenty of fresh air, small commute times and a smorgasbord of top quality entertainment. Gone are the days when everyone was a public servant; each year our economy becomes less reliant on the public service as the main employer with just 30% of residents employed by Government (source: Census data 2011). There’s a lot to love about investing in this ‘cool little capital’ but this well-kept secret is getting out.

Canberra is home to not one, not two, but five Universities, including the world-class Australian National University which recently ranked 7th in the world. Investors are increasingly targeting well-positioned units to take advantage of the ongoing demand for student accommodation.

A huge step forward for local exports and tourism alike is the recently opened international airport terminal. Canberrans are now directly linked with Singapore and Wellington as of a few months ago, with Doha to follow in 2018. The redevelopment of the airport was well overdue, and we now enjoy the benefits of these high-quality connections with many short-term accommodation landlords reaping the benefits of increased tourism and business visitors.

We’ve always been home to the national attractions that bring many kids here with school excursions, but there’s far more here than you might recall from Year 6 camp. The world-class exhibitions at the National Gallery and the National Museum bring more mature visitors, along with the newly expanded National Zoo (which hosts many a celeb at their premium in-exhibit hotel rooms – fancy a bear beside you while you sleep?) and the list goes on – the Enlighten festival, Multicultural festival, Floriade, Good Food month, the rise and rise of Braddon’s hipster movement and the foreshore developments of Kingston and the new City-to-Lake West Basin precincts, it’s a foodie’s paradise. One great idea I’ve heard of is using the alphabet as a way of deciding which place to visit next! Award-winning Aubergine tonight, anyone?

Canberra is a mecca for families. Its low crime, clean, open air and plethora of options to get out of the house attracts many who settle here for the early years and stay for the long term. “It’s a great place to raise the kids”, is the catch cry often overheard at playgrounds. Many move here and rent before buying, providing an ongoing supply of tenants drawn to the highly-regarded schools (both public and private) and the high quality of family life here.

With Canberra now in its growth phase in the residential property market, many investors are targeting the area for its combination of high-performing yields and strong indicators for capital growth. A number of infrastructure projects and urban growth are well underway, with the light rail project now entering Phase 2 discussions, a 5th hospital, international airport upgrades, road upgrades on pretty much every main road in Gungahlin and greenfield estates expanding the city in every direction. Things are looking good for Canberra, with a new stadium and conference centre on the table for the future too. Pollies have been talking about high speed rail links to Sydney and the other eastern seaboard cities since I was born, but there’s a renewed push for this project with funds finally allocated in the latest budget to explore the option.

If you’re thinking about buying an investment property (IP), tread with caution in suburban Canberra. Our public housing is dotted throughout each suburb so we have specific streets that are less attractive than others, and many an unwitting interstate buyer has bought what they think is a bargain, but the locals know to be a dud they wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. As a born-and-bred Canberran, I’ve seen many suburbs gentrify over time and have my own insights into the next suburb prime for targeting. I work closely with my clients to clarify their aim for the IP, explain the quirks of our leasehold system and work together with their lender, accountant and/or financial advisor to secure a great investment without the stress. While I’m not in the accounting field anymore, it’s certainly flavoured my work and I provide all the cashflows and analysis (both qualitative and quantitative) for my clients to make a fully informed decision with confidence. Beyond the purchase, I put my clients in touch with the best local property managers so that their asset is well-managed and in safe hands

If you’re thinking about buying an IP and considering Canberra as target, I’d love to help you acquire a property to help you towards your financial goals. Please contact me now https://rebaa.com.au/members/capital-buyers-agency/to learn more.