Like most other modern-day urban markets across Australia and the globe, Canberra residents and investors share a strong attraction to the appeal of CBD living. This post looks at one development, Park Avenue, helping to wrap-up my review of three different Canberra apartment markets.

From my early memories of Canberra, the CBD was always known by the locals as ‘Civic’. The reason is simple, ‘Civic Centre’ was the original name given to the city (CBD). The name appears on early plans drawn up by Walter Burley Griffin in 1911.

While Canberra was under the administration of the federal government the name was not officially recognised. Apparently the Prime Minister of the day Stanley Bruce, didn’t like this name. However, even today the name Civic continues to be used, in particular among long-term residents. While officially named Canberra City, it’s unlikely that the name Civic will completely disappear anytime soon.

In its early days Civic was a pioneer of urban design and when the Monaro Mall was opened it became the retail heart of Canberra. Over subsequent decades Canberra City also attracted cultural and administrative facilities and ever-more offices, making it a major employment hub.

Today it’s employment that’s been one of the key factors driving residential development. Employment that is under-pinned by ANU campus, the largest concentration of federal public servants in Canberra as well as the highest concentration of private sector professional occupations across accountants, lawyers, marketing agencies and consultants. Private sector employment (not withstanding current COVID-19 impacts) is further boosted by a concentration of lifestyle amenity, retail and hospitality.

This big employment base has helped encourage a wide variety of apartment projects and Park Avenue clearly demonstrates how this trend has matured over the past decade.

Another of the key attractions of Canberra City is its central location sitting the epi-centre of a huge variety of facilities. However, the city is by any standard still a very liveable environment, no-longer Australia’s bush-capital but still well able to balance a relaxed pace with top-notch amenity.

Park Avenue for example will enable future residents to easily walk to an impressive and diverse range of services as different as lake-side parks, theatres, shopping and Canberra’s casino. While with super-easy transport some other nearby facilities include the ANU, the Parliamentary precinct and Canberra Airport and the new light-rail.

Perhaps the very best way to sum-up why a project like Park Avenue has strong appeal is ‘liveability’ at the very heart of living in Canberra City. In some respects, by comparison to other major cities this quality is perhaps undervalued plus the investment potential looks positive.

Like Cirrus, Belconnen and The Parks, Red Hill – Park Avenue is a perfect example of the great choice and the depth and appeal offered today by Canberra’s apartment market.

Considering Park Avenue in greater detail, it is planned to deliver a desirable combination of modern lifestyle with impressive amenity right on your doorstep. Again, we see that Canberra’s long-term planning has helped to deliver a site with few if any drawback.

Located in the hub of Canberra City, there’s a choice of 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments currently starting from $449,900. While, as would be expected of any inner-city project, quality has been addressed with appropriate inclusions, and finishes.

The developer Morris Property Group has a solid local credential and was established in Canberra in 1978, today Morris has some 65 projects underway covering the ACT, NSW and Queensland.

At Park Avenue this level of experience is helping to drive a CBD project where the focus has been inspired by a minimalist European design and select finishes, while not forgetting sometimes overlooked ‘essentials’ like good storage and secure car parking.

The buildings amenity and site benefits have been addressed which is important in helping to secure long-term value, and that all important investment appeal which is so needed in today’s competitive market. Park Avenue will have wide-ranging in-house recreational enhanced by contemporary landscaped gardens.

The demographics of buyers moving to Canberra City apartments, is similar to other major centres, reflective of a very wide cross-section of the characteristics. Some of the key demographics include foreign investors securing housing for their kids to live in while attending university, and although this might be a tricky call at the moment the ANU does have a solid reputation that’s sure to recover post COVID-19.

Another strong group are young couples who are attracted to 1 and 2-bedroom apartments as they’re attracted to the city lifestyle and the bonus of proximity to work.

As we have also seen in Sydney, there’s also demand from a large number of baby-boomers who are downsizing for the appeal of a low maintenance lifestyle, but with excellent access to a level of location and building amenity that a quality CBD project can offer.

The attractive price point for the 1-bedroom apartments has been a key factor in gaining attention among first-home buyers. It’s easy to understand why, because of the overall level amenity at Park Avenue is really appealing. These buyers are also aware that a 1-bedroom apartment might be a first-step into the market, and in later years if they move-on there’s good re-sale or investment potential courtesy of the CBD.

These same factors have also appealed to investors, with the added benefits of high depreciation and solid rental yields. At Park Avenue, investors have predominantly been keen to secure 1-bedroom and the smaller 2-bedroom apartments.

Park Avenue has attracted strong sales and is currently near 71% sold with completion expected April 2021. The price points for the remaining units:

• 1-bedroom (60m2 with carpark) from $449,900
• 2-bedrooms 1 bath 1 car (70m2) from $549,900
• 2-bedroom, 2 bathrooms & 1 car 74m2 from $639,900

Strong demand for the larger apartments means that there are no standard 3-bedroom apartments currently available. The project does however include 6 penthouses of which 4 have already sold, again reinforcing demand for larger apartments.

The remaining penthouses start at $1,799,900, with views over Lake Burley Griffin, Glebe Park, and beyond to the War Memorial, and Parliament House.

Park Avenue delivers apartments perfectly attuned to the CBD market appealing to a wide, but also selective demographic. Canberra’s apartment demand has matured over the last decade and now has sufficient depth to support buyers across a wide spectrum of projects and locations.

The projects I’ve detailed offer town-centre, boutique in-fill and CBD opportunities and the fact that all three have attracted positive buyer and community engagement, along with good sales results continues the positive narrative of Canberra’s apartment market.