It’s got MONA, endless natural beauty and sensational cider – but Tasmania is also emerging as a real estate powerhouse.
According to the experts, the Apple Isle is booming thanks to record sales, a rising median house price – which still sits at an affordable $315,000 across the state – and returns to make mainland investors envious.
Real Estate Institute of Tasmania (REIT) president Tony Collidge says recent data shows the highest number of sales in a quarter since early 2010.
“Hobart recorded a $10,000 increase in median house sale price to $395,000, whilst Launceston and the north-west centres remain stable at $285,000 and $230,000 respectively. Increases were also recorded in the sale of units, with Launceston prices increasing 22%,” Collidge says of the June quarter data.
In Hobart, 40% of properties sold for between $300,000 and $600,000, while in Launceston, most sales were in the $150,000 to $400,000 bracket, he says.
The Derwent River-fronting suburb of Sandy Bay in Hobart retained the crown as Tasmania’s most expensive suburb, with a median price of $800,000. Zeehan, a tiny town on the west coast, 139km south-west of Burnie, was the cheapest, with a median of just $55,000.
The results were surprising, but welcome, Collidge says. “With agents reporting stock shortages in most regions, we expected sales to be down and prices to start moving upwards, which they have in Hobart,” he says.
“What we’re seeing is a good level of buyer interest, a decrease in the number of properties for sale and a general reduction in the time properties are taking to sell. There is good demand for property across all regions,” Collidge says.
“Buyer profile data shows that investors are consuming just 18% of our sales, compared to say, 50% in the Melbourne market,” he says.
Investors have zoned in on Glenorchy (which represents 31% of all investor sales), Launceston (26%) and Hobart (23%).
“With positive economic conditions, strong consumer sentiment and the State Government’s focus on job growth, a positive environment exists for the market to continue to perform robustly and actively,” Collidge says.
Tasmania’s property hotspots
We asked Tasmanian property gurus, REIT president Tony Collidge and Stuart Whyment, the sales director at LJ Hooker Glenorchy, for the inside word on property hotspots on the island state.
Collidge says the north-west coast, especially Burnie, represents “incredible value” for buyers, especially investors.
Situated just 40 minutes from Devonport and with about 20,000 residents, Burnie has been hit by the closure of several big employers, but will soon be home to a new University of Tasmania campus.
“Prices are at rock-bottom in Burnie because harsh economic conditions have really affected it. But over the next couple of years, with the university attracting more people to town, the end result is going to be capital growth. The university will mean there will be good rental demand,” Collidge says.
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Tasmania’s third-largest city, Devonport, is a busy and developing coastal city. “It’s central, it’s an arrival and departure hub for the state and it’s very popular, so I think it’s a hotspot,” Collidge says.
“In Tasmania, you only have to travel 5km to save a lot of money and Glenorchy is a case in point. It’s just 7km from the centre of Hobart, but prices here are just over 60% of that in the central suburbs,” says Whyment.
Great shopping, fantastic transport links and “all the services you need”, combined with affordable prices, make Glenorchy a great choice now and into the future, Whyment says.
“Moonah is really hot,” Whyment says. Located 5km north of the CBD, Moonah, like Glenorchy, is getting a boost from rising prices across the board.
“Since the beginning of this year, we have seen price rises work their way out, basically in a circle from the centre of Hobart, and Moonah is benefitting from that, so it’s starting to be a hot stop. Again, it’s still very close to the city, but more reasonably priced.”