Canberra real estate expected to heat up in 2016

Property experts in Canberra have predicted that the 2016 market will be a strong one, with both buyer interest and demand for rentals steadily increasing, WAtoday.com.au reported.

Last year, the market began to pick up after a long flat period, with the median house price rising to $613,750. Over 6,500 homes were sold throughout the year, breaking 25 suburb records, with the highest sale price for the year coming in at 3.7 million for a seven bedroom home in Forrest.

"The Canberra market tends to be counter-cyclical," LJ Hooker Manuka principal Stephen Thompson told the website. "We had a flat three-year period, while Sydney had extreme growth. It's now our time and I think it could be one of the strongest years we've had in decades."

Thompson believes that increased demand for inner suburb apartments may be one of the biggest trends this year. "Younger couples who would have wanted to buy a larger home further out in the past are looking at apartments for the same price, with the benefits of inner-city living."

There is also demand for single-level homes suitable for retirees, and family homes remains a highly competitive market, due to high interest and a shortage of homes.

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In November last year, 9.9% more Canberrans borrowed money to purchase a home, Domain.com.au reported, with an average loan price of $349,100. But with the market projected to steadily increase going into 2016, and interest rates currently low, anyone looking to borrow might want to look at doing so early in the year, director Shane Killalea at Peter Blackshaw Real Estate Woden and Weston Creek told WAtoday.com.au.

Although the prediction of a good year for Canberra property is widespread among experts, it often comes with a reminder that Canberra is always sensitive to the actions of the federal government, and that the budget deficit may have its effects on the property market. Still, the outlook for Canberra property in 2016 is an optimistic one, expecting growth in all suburbs.

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