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Canberra's Apartment Market - Examining The Parks, Redhill

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We might still think of Canberra as a relatively new city however, its history spans more than 100-years. This heritage extends beyond political intrigue and covets aspects of Walter Burley Griffin’s design that today continue to link its residents and communities.

Red Hill is a prime example as we remind ourselves how this suburb earned its prized trophy-status that today makes it a much sought after address. It’s very name offers the first clue – ‘Red Hill’.

Walter Burley Griffin, the architect who designed Canberra, when faced with the native Australian landscape, originally envisioned “painting” the hills surrounding the city with different coloured flowering plants. Now more than a century later, the once-bare Red Hill is a notable remnant of this plan to colour the nation’s capital.

More recently the ACT Heritage Council registered the Red Hill historic plantings (two areas of red flowered plants at the top of Red Hill) as a heritage site.

Today as Red Hill is a wonderfully connected suburb in close proximity to a host of iconic sites and facilities. It’s no wonder that two of Australia’s leading residential developers – Stockland and DOMA, snapped up a re-purposed 53,200sqm site that is now taking shape as The Parks, Red Hill.

Like Cirrus discussed last week, The Parks is a perfect example of a very rare site being re-generated into a high-end location and one that again demonstrations the depth and appeal of Canberra’s apartment market.

The Parks is located just 8kms from Canberra City, it’s a seductive location with immediate neighbours including landmarks like Parliament House, the High Court of Australia and the National Gallery. Beyond these institutions the range of facilities presents a long and impressive list from shopping to education, markets and dining to easy access to Canberra Airport.

Clearly this is a ‘one of kind’ location and the mix of residences on offer reflects this. The site will contain vacant land blocks ranging from 327-816sqm, 3 & 4-bedroom terraces from Stockland and 1, 2 & 3-bedroom apartments from DOMA.

The site will also have 6 parks, but will not have any commercial or retail elements, although the local and recently partly up-graded Red Hill shops do adjoin the site. The general layout of the project and the variety of stock for sale has been planned to foster a feeling of connection and community.

Another part of Red Hill’s DNA is the fact it’s also home to Canberra’s most expensive residential sale at $8m, this has helped to inform the quality and numbers of properties at The Parks. As the project has started to take shape the appeal and reputation of the area has passed an important litmus test by directly adding value to the nearby housing stock.

In a mature suburb like Red Hill the appeal of ‘the new’ has been strong drawing many former residents ‘back-home’ as well as a wider demographic mainly from the wider South-Canberra region. The apartments have been popular with right-size buyers keen to up-grade in quality and stay in the area, the terraces have attracted established families and professional and often highly-mobile couples.

Described by the sales-team as a jewel, many former locals have been quick to see the development’s value and potential. However, for Stockland and DOMA this has caused them to focus on quality and every aspect of detail in the homes and apartments, a fact that looks fairly obvious from the display terraces and apartment proto-types.

Stockland’s terraces (with individual titles) will offer a choice of 3 & 4-bedrooms over two and three level designs and prices currently range between $1,245,000 and $1,650,000. The terrace layouts offer a very desirable mix of well-sized bedrooms, and several living spaces including outdoor areas.

DOMA’s apartment stock is available across a number of mid-rise buildings and is concentrated across 2 & 3-bedroom designs in a price bracket of $725,000 to $875,000. The apartments include several well-regarded hallmarks of quality including small floor plates, big walk-in robes, large outdoor terraces and the utility of large fridge cavities and laundries.

However, as a staged development some future stock of both terraces and apartments is yet to be designed or released for sale.

Land in such a prime and also elevated position is very rare with current prices ranging between $680,000 for 497sqm to $1,170,000 for 782sqm and judging from recent knock-down and re-builds in the area The Parks can reasonably looking forward to welcoming some stunning free-standing homes on these lots.

The Parks is a product designed to appeal to discerning buyers with a keen eye for quality and the appeal of an inner-city, but non CBD location with considerable cache. Some might even go so far as to describe buyers, in the kindest terms as ‘astute’ and perhaps rightly so, and as summarised in the words of one buyer who commented – ‘I didn’t want to like this (development) but I do’.

Clearly The Parks has hit the exactly right tone for this select part of the Canberra apartment market.

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