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Best suburbs to invest in Darwin 2024

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Thinking of investing in the Darwin real estate market in 2024?

As Australia’s most affordable capital city to buy property, and with the highest median gross rental yields of all the capitals, Darwin has lots for investors to consider.    

Let’s start with an overview of how the Darwin real estate market performed in 2023 before looking at what experts are predicting for the year ahead.

What did the Darwin property market look like in 2023?

Darwin real estate market

While most capital city markets rebounded after bottoming out in early 2023, Darwin’s real estate market continued in a downturn. CoreLogic data (December 2023) shows Darwin property prices fell -1.5 per cent in 2023, ending the year with a median dwelling value of $496,792. This remains below the median $512,531 recorded in August 2022 when Darwin property prices were at their recent peak.

In comparison, property prices in Perth (+13.5 per cent), Brisbane (+10.7 per cent) and Sydney (+10.2 per cent) recovered to post the strongest gains of all the capital cities. Only Hobart, where dwelling values lost -3.0 per cent, saw a greater overall drop than Darwin.

Recent PropTrack data reveals a similar story, with Darwin home prices sitting 2.19 per cent lower than their pre-rate-rise peak. PropTrack director of economic research Cameron Kusher says while strong demand and limited new housing is driving growth in other capitals, the Darwin real estate market is potentially oversupplied.

“The total stock of properties for sale in Darwin has picked up, rising 4.8 per cent year-on-year,” Cameron says. “With an increase in stock, buyer demand is largely unchanged.”

Despite an overall slow year, prices in some Darwin suburbs outperformed the capital’s median. In Domain data, house prices went up in Berrimah (+29.8 per cent), Stuart Park (+23 per cent), Humpty Doo (+11.7 per cent), Durack (+4.1 per cent) and Rosebery (+2.6 per cent), while unit prices increased in Rapid Creek (+2.5 per cent) and Larrakeyah (+2.4 per cent).

As to the Darwin rental market, low vacancy rates and very high rental demand saw rents surge. According to CoreLogic, gross rental yields in Darwin increased to +6.5 per cent across all dwellings, the most of any capital city. 

Darwin real estate forecast 2024

While there are some positive signs – with median dwelling value recently climbing to $501,520 according to CoreLogic – some experts predict another sluggish year for the Darwin property market in 2024.

For local agents PRD Darwin, “now is the time to buy” in Darwin as market conditions favour buyers and “vendors are willing to accept below the initial listing price.” Low vacancy rates, indicating a quicker occupancy of rental properties, “suggests a conducive and sustainable environment for investors.”

Based on the current market landscape, PropTrack expects Darwin property prices to grow -3 to 0 per cent in 2024, below their combined capital cities forecast of +2 to +5 per cent. According to Cameron Kusher, “The expectations of a weaker price performance in Darwin are due to the low affordability, as well as the high volume of stock available for sale and the slowing of demand for homes.”

In his forecast, SQM Research founder Louis Christopher notes the Darwin housing market has taken significant hits from interest rate rises in the past. If interest rates remain unchanged with “no major growth or decline in the NT economy,” Louis predicts Darwin property prices to change by -3 to +1 per cent. If the cash rate surpasses 5 per cent, Darwin housing prices could drop -4 to 0 per cent.

On the other hand, Raine & Horne Darwin general manager Glenn Grantham believes ongoing and future infrastructure projects will “turbocharge” the Darwin real estate market in 2024. He says Darwin property prices could potentially rise as much as +10 to +15 per cent as Government investments in defence, gas, and the completion of the Charles Darwin University CBD campus increase housing demand.

How are Darwin house prices expected to change in 2024?

Like Glenn, Oxford Economics senior economist Maree Kilroy believes employment growth from Government projects in the NT will push Darwin house prices up in the long term. She predicts house price growth will accelerate from mid-2024, with values leaping +7 per cent in FY25 and +8.2 per cent in FY26.

In the meantime, BOQ chief economist Peter Munckton says while he looks to the Darwin housing market to do better compared to the past couple of years, “another year of below-average growth is likely.” He predicts standalone house prices in Darwin will increase by +3 per cent in 2024 and +5 per cent in 2025.

KPMG gives a similar range, forecasting Darwin house prices will rise +2.5 per cent over the twelve months to December 2024 and +5.1 per cent over the twelve months to June 2025.

What's the Darwin apartment market like?

According to Louis Christopher, units in Darwin are returning a good income for investors as the rental market tightens. 

“With the rise in rents and the flatlining of prices, rental yields have risen and risen to the point where unit yields are now the highest on offer since at least 2010,” Louis says. “The yields on units are now averaging 6.5% gross.”

Darwin remains the most affordable capital city to buy a unit, with a median unit price of $372,152. As high interest rates reduce borrowing capacities, Maree Kilroy believes this affordability will attract more buyers, ultimately driving values up. She forecasts Darwin unit prices will increase by +8 per cent pa in FY25 and FY26.

Best suburbs in Darwin to invest in: 2024

Before looking at some expert picks, it’s important to remember there’s no “one” property market and market dynamics change from property type to property type, and from postcode to postcode – so it’s vital to do your research before you invest.

For Glenn Grantham of Raine & Horne Darwin, several suburbs in Darwin’s north stand out as potential investor hotspots for houses in 2024:

Alawa, where house prices climbed +19.1% over the past 12 months, taking the median house price to $570,000. House rents are $630pw which grew +5.9% over the past 12 months.

Jingili, where rental yield is a high 6.2%. While house prices dropped -6.6% over the past 12 months for a median value of $530,000, house rents increased +6.5% to a median of $660pw.

Leanyer, the most expensive suburb on this list, has a median house price of $605,000, which rose +0.8% over the past 12 months. House rents grew +10.0% to a median of $660pw.

Moil, where houses sell for a median $600,000, saw house prices grow +11.1% over the past 12 months. House rents increased +9.6% for a median of $625pw.

Tiwi, where the median house price is a relatively affordable $526,250. While house prices dipped -8.2% over the past 12 months, median house rent rose +7.1% to $600pw, with a rental yield of 5.8%.

Wagaman, the most affordable suburb on this list, with a median house price of$522,500. While house prices decreased -7.1% over the past 12 months, rental yield is strong at 6.0%.

For investment in units, Glenn recommends Darwin CBD. With a median unit price of $432,500, it’s possible to find real estate in central Darwin for under $500,000. While price growth is down -10.6 per cent over the past 12 months, rental yield is high at 7.3%.