17 December 2020

Luxe loves and big houses, the ACT's property year in review

| Kim Treasure
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The roller-coaster that was 2020 impacted every aspect of our lives.

However, one of the upsides was spending more time at home – and that got us thinking about renovations, relocations and just plain old real estate envy.

See some of our most popular property content from 2020 – you might be surprised what sits at number one.

12. Canberra’s record house values are on the boil

Aerial view of houses in Weston Creek.

Wanted: more freestanding homes for sale. Canberra’s market cannot get enough. Photo: File.

Canberra’s record house values surged again during 2020 as cashed-up spring buyers snapped up any available stock, and government incentives spurred interest in new home builds.

Data from CoreLogic showed house values grew 1.1 per cent in October 2020 to a median price of $737,937, and 1.9 per cent for the quarter and 7.3 per cent for the year. Just this year, house values have increased 5.5 per cent.

11. New Hope: A sophisticated, modern country manor nestled in the Southern Tablelands

Aerial photo of 6 Glover Drive in Yass.

On its own sweeping grounds, 6 Glover Drive, Yass, is your private hideaway. Photo: Supplied.

If you’ve dreamed of owning a contemporary country estate in a vibrant town close to Canberra, you probably drooled over 6 Glover Drive, Yass.

This sophisticated manor in the Southern Tablelands went up for sale in 2020, listed at $1.5 million and sold for $1.2 million on 27 November.

Set on two hectares, this marvellous mansion has six bedrooms and three bathrooms, a separate lockable garage and a private driving range.

10. Exquisitely renovated, perfectly updated Californian bungalow in Queanbeyan

Exterior of 43 The Crescent, Queanbeyan.

The beautifully styled home at 43 The Crescent in Queanbeyan is exquisitely renovated. Photo: Supplied.

Renovations done right – that’s how this three-bedroom Californian bungalow-style home in Queanbeyan was described. The historic aspects of the property have been preserved, but renovations have brought it into the 21st century.

9. Rezoning paves way for 5000 border homes

Overlay map of Parkwood residential development.

The proposed Parkwood development on the NSW side of the border, from the masterplan. Image: Supplied.

The NSW Government fast-tracked rezoning approval for the Parkwood development as part of its COVID-19 stimulus measures. Parkwood is the NSW component of Riverview Developments’ proposed Ginninderry cross-border development being delivered in conjunction with the ACT Government, and will eventually be home to 5000 dwellings and 13,000 residents.

8. ACT building Australia’s biggest houses, and that’s a problem

Looking up at roof truss at house under construction.

Through the roof: Big houses and expensive land add up to an affordability problem for Canberra. Photo: File.

Canberra is building the biggest houses in Australia, but while houses have grown, block sizes have shrunk.

The average floor area of an ACT house built in 2019-2020 is 256.3 square metres – ahead of Victoria (250.3 square metres), NSW (235 square metres), and Western Australia (232.5 square metres).

7. Big changes to rules surrounding keeping of pets in apartments

Dog resting on couch.

Pet-friendly rules can be passed by the owners’ corporation to cover all residents. Photo: Vanessa Burdett.

Changes to ACT strata laws made it easier for residents to keep pets in strata buildings in 2020. The changes under the Unit Titles Legislation Amendments ACT 2020 took effect on 1 November and permit owners’ corporations to pass ‘pet-friendly rules’ around conditions for pet ownership and provide greater ability for people to keep pets in their apartments and townhouses.

6. Grand manor house outside beautiful Bowral takes you far away from it all

Aerial view of mansion in Bowral.

You can see for miles from this lofty Bowral mansion. Photo: Supplied.

A private Bowral estate, with its lofty manor, park-like gardens and spectacular views, was listed with Di Jones Real Estate in 2020.

It was available for private viewing only, in line with regulations around COVID-19, but we gave you a peek inside.

5. Elm Grove leaseholder digs in for another historic battle with government over housing plans

Paul Carmody standing on rural property.

Rural leaseholder Paul Carmody points to the wooded hills where homes are proposed in the next stage of Jacka. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

The battle of Jacka was played out in Canberra’s north as the rural leaseholder of heritage-listed Elm Grove dug in against the ACT Suburban Land Agency’s plans for the next stages of the Gungahlin suburb.

Paul Carmody has been growing wool and hay at Elm Grove since acquiring the property from the Gillespie family in 1985. He was instrumental in its heritage listing in 2008, despite being told by government officials that it had no heritage value.

4. Canberra’s first build-to-rent apartments filled in just seven weeks

From left: Marquee Amaroo tenant Monish, Independent leasing consultant Liz Harvie, Independent property manager Kimberley Nugent, at Marquee Amaroo.

From left: Marquee Amaroo tenant Monish, Independent leasing consultant Liz Harvie, and Independent property manager Kimberley Nugent, at Marquee Amaroo. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Canberra’s first build-to-rent project was filled with tenants in just seven weeks, but hundreds more were disappointed at missing out on an apartment with a rent-free period.

Independent Property Management leasing consultant Liz Harvie received more than 150 applications from potential renters for a new home at Empire Global’s Marquee Amaroo. Many of the applicants had no previous rental history and had been looking for a home for months, but were unable to find a landlord willing to take a chance on an applicant without a rental history.

3. Wamboin country residence a luxurious home only 20 minutes from Canberra

Exterior of 515 Denley Drive, Wamboin.

The elegant and delightful home at 515 Denley Drive, Wamboin. Photo: Supplied.

This elegant, luxurious six-bedroom residence in the rural-residential area of Wamboin had many of us buying lottery tickets. With a large solar-heated pool, pool house, immaculate gardens, sheds, security system, dam and a host of high-end features, all on 14.5 hectares of land, it’s the stuff real-estate dreams are made of.

2. The most opulent rural property in Australia is on the market at Sutton

Aerial view of LouieLou property.

LouieLou, in Sutton, one of the finest properties you will ever see, anywhere. Photo: Supplied.

Overseas travel was off the agenda in 2020, but this magnificent rural home, LouieLou, in Sutton, had us dreaming of living in what is more like a five-star resort. The architecturally stunning home comes complete with a world-class dressage arena, showjumping arena, stables, manicured gardens, heated pool and so much more. But don’t take our word for it – click to take a look.

1. Canberra’s housing affordability issues leave students out in the cold

Students sleeping in tents.

The tight Canberra rental market means some students resort to tents for accommodation in the capital. Photo: Supplied.

At the other end of the spectrum, university students moving to Canberra at the start of the year had a tough time finding a place to live, thanks to ‘extraordinarily low’ vacancy rates, high median rent and competition from public servants, defence personnel and contractors. Hannah Gill saw the situation play out first-hand.

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