Canberra’s most affordable suburbs

As Australia’s third most expensive capital city to buy a house, it’s important to keep in mind which suburbs are the most affordable when searching for your new home in Canberra.

The capital city is becoming more urbanised, and has a stronger economy with a high employment rate. In addition, the city’s affordability compared to Sydney and Melbourne makes Canberra a strong competitor in the Australian housing market. All of these factors have resulted in the higher median house prices.

During autumn this year, the median house price reached $733,786, a significant increase from the $705,059 a few months ago. It’s also expected increase to $770,000 by 2020, according to Domain Group. If these numbers sound alarming to you, take a look at the median prices for these suburbs.

The Cheapest Places to Live in North Canberra

North Canberra hosts the majority of the most affordable houses, which is why many first homebuyers are choosing to invest in this side of town. Here are the median prices of five noteworthy suburbs:

Belconnen: $423,500

Belconnen plays host to a diverse population of students, families and professionals and surrounds the bottom three quarters of Lake Ginninderra. Host to parks, a shopping district, a number of excellent restaurants, and also The Basement for those of you who love seeing live music on the regular. There is plenty to do right at the doorstep of the homes of Belconnen residents. 

Charnwood: $455,000

Charnwood sits north west of the hustle and bustle of Bruce and Belconnen but is fast becoming a sought-after location for a first home among the population of young professionals looking to set down roots. Having gone through a transformation through the last few years, we are confident in our view that this is one of Canberra’s most underrated and affordable suburbs.

Macgregor: $463,500

Macgregor is one of the quieter suburbs in the northern parts of Canberra. But the locals will tell you that that is a good thing. Surrounded by parkland and featuring a golf course, Macgregor residents are only a short drive away from major retailers and supermarkets.

Holt: $473,500

Holt is a balance of built up and quiet. With restaurants, schools, churches and places to do your shopping in the eastern section, and a golf course taking up a large section of the west, there is a bit of both worlds in the suburb named after Australia’s late Prime Minister.

Ngunnawal: $475,000

Named in tribute to the Ngunnawal people, and you will see plenty of references around the area to the people who inhabited this part of the world thousands of years prior to European settlement. This area is great and highly affordable for young families, with plenty of day care options and facilities. 

These suburbs are all generally close to the city: about 15 minutes by car, which is great for those commuting to work in that area. These suburbs are close to shopping malls including the Canberra Centre and Westfield Belconnen, which are the hub of Canberra’s best restaurants, shops and nightlife. It’s also great for those attending the Australian National University and the University of Canberra, because it’s no more than a 10-15 minute drive.

Other suburbs to consider include: Higgins (540,000) and Jacka ($460,500), a little further afield.

The Cheapest Housing in South Canberra

Buyers who want to be closer to the snow, or generally have a preference for living in the south side of Canberra will find it harder to find affordable housing compared to north side. That’s not to say that the median house prices in these suburbs are significantly lower than the state’s overall median house prices. Consider these top five suburbs you could be living in:

Banks: $480,000,

At $480,000, the median house price in Banks is one of the most affordable in this section of Canberra, and this southernmost suburb is still only a 25-minute drive from the CBD. For those looking for a home in the city with quick access to Namadgi National Park and surrounds, this is a great place for young families to raise their children.

Richardson: $501,000

Richardson is another southern suburb that has seen a great deal of growth in recent years. The relatively inexpensive median house price has attracted a population of young families that has seen the area come to life. Fun fact: each of the streets in Richardson is named after a writer, with a particular emphasis on female writers. Richardson itself being the end of the nom de plume Henry Handel Richardson, the name under which Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson.

Isabella Plains: $507,500

A beautiful suburb tucked in just next to Richardson is Isabella Plains. Around 17km south-west of the CBD, this picturesque suburb has everything you could need, without feeling crowded. The locals might not all be over the moon about the parking situation you might find in the post-school rush, but we wouldn’t let that stop us when looking at this highly affordable and beautiful part of Canberra.

Chisholm $515,000

Chisholm shares a border with the neighbouring Gilmore, and the parkland that runs along that border is a popular place for those looking to get some exercise outdoors or walk their dogs. The suburb itself is full of sporting facilities, parklands and boasts excellent views of the Brindabella Mountains. 

Theodore: $520,500

Just a touch further south is Theodore, a quieter suburb 19km from the CBD and perfect for those looking for a bit of space. There is not a great deal of shopping options to choose from in Theodore itself, but the surrounding areas have plenty to offer only a short drive from home.

Residents in south Canberra can take advantage of the close proximity to nature parks and reserves, including Wanniassa Nature Reserve and Big Monks Mountain. Moreover, these suburbs are suitable for couples raising a young family. In 2013, south Canberra was recorded to have the highest quality of life. This was base on factors including: levels of safety and security, the quality of the environment, young people in full-time work or education, air quality, job availability and Internet access.

Other suburbs to consider include: Gilmore ($525,000) and Kambah ($540,000).

 Affordable Housing in Canberra’s Surrounds

If you have a tighter budget and don’t mind the commute with more peace and quiet, these suburbs could be ideal for you to call home.

Yass: $386,500

Yass is a growing community situated north of Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory. For those comfortable with a slightly longer commute, the 45-minute drive to the Canberra CBD is a trade well worth it for new and growing families. 

Queanbeyan: $498,000

While not technically part of Canberra, or even part of the Australian Capital Territory, you would be hard pressed to find anyone in Canberra that wouldn’t say that Queanbeyan wasn’t ‘practically a part of Canberra’. Nevertheless, Queanbeyan is a city unto itself, and has all the things you would expect to find in a regional hub. While there are some odd disconnects in public services and transport that you might have to negotiate if you’re looking to work in Canberra, Queanbeyan is a brilliant choice for those looking to find an affordable home for themselves just a short distance from Canberra.

Karabar: $485,000

Karabar neighbours Queanbeyan and an excellent opportunity to stay in close to the city, while not having to struggle to find space when you want. With ready access to all the conveniences of Queanbeyan and only a short drive to Canberra itself, this suburb is full of opportunities to grow and live.

Karabar sits next to Queanbeyan and is a great

Please note: prices are subject to fluctuation.

What would you ask the person building your dream home?

Your dream home is easy to imagine but getting those ideas in your head to translate into reality can be difficult.

That’s where architectural services comes in handy.

Krystal is Achieves in-house Project Designer and with more than 10 years of industry experience she knows a thing or two about making your dream home become a reality. She answered some questions we had for her about custom builds.

What are three things every person should consider when engaging an architect to custom build their home?

  1. Their needs and wants
  2. Their lifestyle
  3. The adaptability of the home as the family grows and changes over time

Why do you think custom builders are so popular?

Achieve Homes offer the complete package in a timely and efficient manner. We have the knowledge and resources to exceed the expectations of clients and we can delivery on budget with no hidden cost.

Who chooses to do a custom build?

Anyone can, I think there is a lot of people that believe it is unaffordable which is not the case. If you know what you want then why not try and achieve that.

What are the steps involved in a custom build?

Come to us with a brief of what you need and want in a house, ideas of how you would like it to look, block details if you have one – we can also do custom builds on a knockdown rebuild in existing suburbs!

What experience have you had in the industry prior to joining Achieve?

I have had the pleasure to establish a design department within Achieve Homes building company this year. Prior to this new venture I have been in the industry for 10 years working with engineers and well-known local and international architectural firms where I have obtained a great deal of knowledge and experience in the field working on many design winning projects which have taken out HIA (ACT/Southern NSW) custom built home of the year 2016 & MBA 2016 House of the year.

What’s the best part about being an architect?

The satisfaction of helping our clients to achieve their dream home that suits their needs and life style.

What standard features do your homes include? What options and upgrades can I select?

All our project homes come included with two living areas, walk in pantries, walk in robe for the master and for large 4 bedrooms homes an alfresco area for dining outside and an instantaneous gas hot water unit is included into the price. The optional upgrades include façade and material upgrades and optional alfresco areas on the 3 and 4 bedroom homes.

If you’re interested in a custom home or knock down rebuild get in contact with Achieve Homes today.

First Home Owner Grant: What You Need to Know

Are you a first-time home buyer that’s finding the First Home Owner Grant all very confusing? You’re not alone. We’ve answered the most important questions you’re probably asking yourself about the grant, to help make life a little easier while you search for your new home:

The First Home Owner Grant was introduced in 2000 as a way to offset the effects of GST on home ownership for people who are purchasing their first home. It is a national scheme which is funded by the individual states and territories and administered under their own legislation.

Are you eligible for the First Home Owner Grant?

To qualify for a First Home Owner Grant in the ACT or NSW you must meet the following criteria:

  • Each applicant is a natural person and not a company or trust.
  • At least one applicant is a permanent resident or Australian citizen.
  • Each applicant must be at least 18 years of age.
  • All applicants and/or their spouse/de facto have not owned a residential property, jointly, separately or with another person, in any State or Territory of Australia before July 2000.
  • All applicants and/or their spouse/de facto have not previously owned a residential property jointly, separately or with another person in any State or Territory of Australia, and occupied that property for a continuous period of at least six months.
  • This is the first time an applicant and/or their spouse/de facto will receive a grant under the First Home Owner Grant Act 2000 in any State or Territory (unless subsequently repaid).

What makes a property eligible?

The First Home Owner Grant applies to new or substantially renovated properties with a value of less than $750,000. A new or substantially renovated property is:

  • a home that has not been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence; or
  • a substantially renovated home that, as renovated, has not been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence; or
  • a property which is subject to an “off the plan” purchase agreement.

The home must not have been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence. For a renovation to be considered as ‘substantial’, they must have affected most of the rooms in the building.

Further requirements to be met:

New home: The home must be complete and ready for occupation at the time of the application for the grant.

Off the plan purchase: The land must be intended for the site of a new home and must be built before completion of the agreement.

Vacant land purchase: Foundations of the property must be layed within 26 weeks of completion of the purchase, however there is no limit on the time of construction. Agreement or transfer of vacant land must be for the whole of the land. If the land is a parcel of land where two or more homes are to be built, the agreement or transfer must be for that part of the land which has exclusive occupancy.

Once all these criteria are met, the owner must live in the new home for at least 6 months. If you move out before 6 months the grant must be repaid.

How much is the grant?

ACT: As announced in the 2015-16 budget, the FHOG was reduced to $7,000 tax free for grants on or after January 1st 2017.

NSW: The FHOG in NSW offers a $10,000 tax free grant for homes that meet all criteria.

Are stamp duty concessions available?

Yes, in the ACT for properties under $468,000 you can expect to only pay $20, and for properties up to $590,000 you’ll be paying $14.70 for each $100 over $468,000.

For amounts in NSW, click here.

Does your income affect your eligibility for the grant?

No, the grant is not affected by your income, however it does affect your concessional duty amounts.