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Googong – an alternative to Canberra?

By Paul Costigan - 12 October 2016 12

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With the debate in Canberra about housing affordability, the ACT Liberals have been using a particular line in their election statements to criticise the current government’s Land Development Agency (LDA) and its handling of land prices.

The ACT Liberals have been saying and I have now heard and read this this several times (so it must be true?) – that “the Barr government was letting down potential first home buyers when blocks at Throsby would be balloted for double the average price of those across the border at Googong”.

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Time to have a look for myself. Off to Googong we went. And what a surprise.

Several years ago I went past the site and saw a few houses, a host of holes in the ground and a water feature. Today it is a busy small township. And gauging by the amount of construction, it is about to double in size any day now.

This is a township whereby the developer has just added water and Bingo! – a new country town is appearing.

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Naturally because it has all come into being in the short space of a year or so, it is very new and very homogenized. The section you see first, the west side of the hill, is very much in full swing – people going about their weekend business, washing cars, gardening, walking or sitting on their porch with a beer.

Whereas over the hill to the east, there is the equivalent of another whole suburb or two under various stages of construction. Heaps of tradies, frameworks going up, and new blocks being bulldozed.

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The established areas have ample greenery and open spaces. When I returned home I read the marketing blurb that states that this town will be six star rating – but no evidence was provided to back that up. I have never given much credibility to that green star rating system or ‘green wash’ – given it was designed to be developer friendly.

Mysteriously all this instant development has happened without an appropriate level of local shops. We drove around and could only find a café in the sports centre. Later I read that there is also a very basic general store in there as well. The shopping centre is a hole in the ground on top of the hill and is to open later in 2017. So for now residents drive the 6 or more kilometres to Karabar or Queanbeyan to do any shopping.

Residents have to drive out to go anywhere and for those working in Canberra, it must be a 20 kilometre drive in (give or take depending on where to). The township is isolated by several kilometres of country road. So one negative has to be that there is no encouragement to not have a car – there is no way you could walk, pedal or catch other transport from here to work easily. A car would be essential. (Six stars?)

There are loads of positives for new house buyers. It is cheaper to buy the land – the whole neighbourhood is clean, the air is fresh, the whole site is surrounded by trees and hills and the Queanbeyan River and Googong Dam is over the hill. Eventually the township will have most of the basics built into it – schools, shops, playgrounds etc.

That is, in several years there will be easily 3,000 plus people here and it should become self-contained.

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Two more points. There is one road into the township. There must be a problem of getting in or out during peak hours – as was the case with Crace. However this also means that should a bushfire loom, there is one way out and that could be a problem if that is where the bushfire is coming from. I would suggest that residents keep a canoe handy to get out onto the dam if required.

The other is Googong Dam. Last time we visited the area around the dam site was still in drought. Not so this time. It is green and the spillway is dramatically overflowing. When we were there, several people were enjoying the slopes as a nice site for a picnic.

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Back to my main point.

For home buyers wanting that new house, Googong is definitely an alternative to buying land on the western fringes of Canberra. You would be at least a couple hundred thousand dollars better off. And you would still have access if required to many of the benefits of Canberra – eg hospitals, events, and even schools.

The ACT Liberals are correct. It is a good point to make during the elections. Based on what I can glean from materials online and by visiting Googong, the ACT Government through the land management processes of the LDA has inflated the land prices in Canberra’s new outer suburbs. Googong offers an alternative at a significantly lower price. Is this good for Canberra?

 

What’s Your opinion?


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12 Responses to
Googong – an alternative to Canberra?
wildturkeycanoe 7:53 am 14 Oct 16

Maya123 said :

I was replying to wildturkeycanoe who wrote, “A 1 bed room duplex in Googong goes for around $300,000, “

At least Gordon has a school, shopping complex and service station. Googong lacks this convenience so for the prices out there they aren’t really good value for money just yet.

miz 8:53 pm 13 Oct 16

*sigh* I wish I could afford Googong

Maya123 5:58 pm 13 Oct 16

pink little birdie said :

Maya123 said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

Googong is not really significantly lower in price. Similar sized blocks are selling in newer suburbs of Gungahlin for less than $50k more and you have local shops and services at your doorstep.
A 1 bed room duplex in Googong goes for around $300,000, whilst Gungahlin offers up 2 bedrooms for the same price and a 1 bedroom studio apartment for only $250,000.
Not exactly cheaper, but at least in Googong you actually own the land.

You can get a one bedroom apartment in Narrabundah for $310,000.
http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/act/sale-residential/39-jerrabomberra-avenue-narrabundah-canberra/1317216446511
Save a lot of travel time and petrol cost.

Heres a 3 bed townhouse in Gordon for $310,000

I was replying to wildturkeycanoe who wrote, “A 1 bed room duplex in Googong goes for around $300,000, “

pink little birdie 2:46 pm 13 Oct 16

Maya123 said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

Googong is not really significantly lower in price. Similar sized blocks are selling in newer suburbs of Gungahlin for less than $50k more and you have local shops and services at your doorstep.
A 1 bed room duplex in Googong goes for around $300,000, whilst Gungahlin offers up 2 bedrooms for the same price and a 1 bedroom studio apartment for only $250,000.
Not exactly cheaper, but at least in Googong you actually own the land.

You can get a one bedroom apartment in Narrabundah for $310,000.
http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/act/sale-residential/39-jerrabomberra-avenue-narrabundah-canberra/1317216446511
Save a lot of travel time and petrol cost.

Heres a 3 bed townhouse in Gordon for $310,000

dungfungus 11:57 am 13 Oct 16

What is offering in the way of “public art”?

Maya123 11:03 pm 12 Oct 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

Googong is not really significantly lower in price. Similar sized blocks are selling in newer suburbs of Gungahlin for less than $50k more and you have local shops and services at your doorstep.
A 1 bed room duplex in Googong goes for around $300,000, whilst Gungahlin offers up 2 bedrooms for the same price and a 1 bedroom studio apartment for only $250,000.
Not exactly cheaper, but at least in Googong you actually own the land.

You can get a one bedroom apartment in Narrabundah for $310,000.
http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/act/sale-residential/39-jerrabomberra-avenue-narrabundah-canberra/1317216446511
Save a lot of travel time and petrol cost.

JD Eere 10:29 pm 12 Oct 16

I prefer Bungendore, 1000m2 block for $250,000 already has 2 good pubs, a supermarket (and a new one being built) heaps of cafes and best of all some character (unlike Googong). It’s also a great community with established sporting teams and a primary school. It takes less time than Googong to get to work. Half way to the coast already.

dungfungus 3:50 pm 12 Oct 16

JC said :

If you compare land prices you need to be comparing like for like and Googong compared to Throsby or Denman Prospect is not comparable, though that is how the Googong website portrays it. Maybe a comparison to Moncreif is more in order, in which case you will find land cost is not significantly different, maybe about $25-30k less in Googong. Or an even better comparision is to land sale prices in Springbank Rise in Casey, they are about on par (noting Springbank Rise is now almost finished).

That said build costs at Googong are slightly higher because they have very strict covenants in place in their attempt to create the more homogenised look that you like. In the ACT there are some private developments, the Springbank Rise section of Casey (hence why I said above it is probably the more like for like comparision) and Denman Prospect and LDA developments such as Coombs, Lawson, Throsby also have similar covenants and what would appear, on the surface at least to offer a better than average development and appearance of the estate and housing.

But the issue of course is not everyone wants nor can afford better than average, so other developments, like Moncreif, Bonner don’t have quite the same level of restriction, which can be reflected in lower overall prices.

As for the Googong public school, need to ask how many years after Jerra got built did it take for them to get a public school? Think about 15 years, and Jerra of course is bigger than Googong is planned to be. So wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for one to be built.

I know a few people who live in Googong and love it. For me personally access to Canberra roads and public transport is what drove me to buy in Canberra.

Do you actually use public transport (busses) to commute, JC?

JC 1:46 pm 12 Oct 16

If you compare land prices you need to be comparing like for like and Googong compared to Throsby or Denman Prospect is not comparable, though that is how the Googong website portrays it. Maybe a comparison to Moncreif is more in order, in which case you will find land cost is not significantly different, maybe about $25-30k less in Googong. Or an even better comparision is to land sale prices in Springbank Rise in Casey, they are about on par (noting Springbank Rise is now almost finished).

That said build costs at Googong are slightly higher because they have very strict covenants in place in their attempt to create the more homogenised look that you like. In the ACT there are some private developments, the Springbank Rise section of Casey (hence why I said above it is probably the more like for like comparision) and Denman Prospect and LDA developments such as Coombs, Lawson, Throsby also have similar covenants and what would appear, on the surface at least to offer a better than average development and appearance of the estate and housing.

But the issue of course is not everyone wants nor can afford better than average, so other developments, like Moncreif, Bonner don’t have quite the same level of restriction, which can be reflected in lower overall prices.

As for the Googong public school, need to ask how many years after Jerra got built did it take for them to get a public school? Think about 15 years, and Jerra of course is bigger than Googong is planned to be. So wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for one to be built.

I know a few people who live in Googong and love it. For me personally access to Canberra roads and public transport is what drove me to buy in Canberra.

TuggLife 6:28 am 12 Oct 16

Googong has come up looking really good, but thee lack of public school is a concern for me. There don’t seem to be concrete plans for one – the developers have offered the land, but there is no formal agreement in place with the NSW Department of Education, who have been shutting small schools rather than opening them. Look at Murrumbateman – the community has been campaigning for the public school for ages, and have gotten precisely nowhere.

Imagine being a teenager in Googong – no shops, no employment, no entertainment and no way to get around without a car.

rommeldog56 7:15 am 05 Oct 16

Its a pretty good place I think. Once the shopping centre is built, will be even better.

And NSW has a much, much better 1st home owners grant – including no stamp duty if u buy new, I think. I know a few people who have purchased homes there and they couldn’t be happier.

Even the architecture and buildings aesthetics are much better than in Canberra IMHO. Many of the townhouse developments for example, are like Canberra’s – plonked in a line. But, often the facades seem to be a bit different so breaking up the “sameness” aesthetic that usually pervades new Canberra developments. You can even park on the roads there – in cut out parking bays !

wildturkeycanoe 7:08 am 05 Oct 16

Googong is not really significantly lower in price. Similar sized blocks are selling in newer suburbs of Gungahlin for less than $50k more and you have local shops and services at your doorstep.
A 1 bed room duplex in Googong goes for around $300,000, whilst Gungahlin offers up 2 bedrooms for the same price and a 1 bedroom studio apartment for only $250,000.
Not exactly cheaper, but at least in Googong you actually own the land.

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