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Should I buy in Belconnen or elsewhere?

tanielle 2 April 2011 48

I’m moving to Canberra and am trying to decide where to buy/rent. I’ve noticed that rent is pretty high so am leaning towards buying probably a townhouse or small house with 2-3 bedrooms.

I was trying to research decent suburbs but a lot of information on the net is old and so may be outdated. One suburb that seemed ok in terms of affordability without being too far from things was Belconnen itself, although I have read that surrounding suburbs are not necessarily the best.

Would anyone be able to offer me advice/opinions on Belconnen town centre/suburb and whether it is ok?

Alternatively, are there any other suburbs that are recommended or not recommended?

We are not looking to buy in the most prestigious suburb but also don’t want to buy in the worst – just something that is decent 🙂 Any help would be really appreciated as I just don’t know Canberra well at all.

Thanks in advance! 🙂


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48 Responses to Should I buy in Belconnen or elsewhere?
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tanielle tanielle 11:26 pm 05 Apr 11

Hi all! Thanks so much for all the opinions/views/advice/wisdom 🙂 I actually feel a lot more relieved now. I have previously read a lot of people saying certain suburbs were bad, high crime etc and I was concerned about having small children in such areas. I had tried asking a few friends but they are all new to the area or only know the area they live in so I really appreciate everyone’s advice, and feel relieved now to hear that it’s more about the street than the suburb and that there are lots of good places. We are going to try to get to Canberra as soon as we can to check it out and just have a drive around (last time we visited, we had no idea we would end up moving there!). Also now thinking of renting, reaching the same conclusions as some of you have suggested about getting used to the area and seeing what we like first. Thanks so much for all your help. Not knowing Canberra well, I wasn’t sure if it was like say Sydney where the suburbs tend to have a definite vibe with some being clearly much safer than others. 🙂

shadow boxer shadow boxer 10:46 am 05 Apr 11

Yeh o.k. haters gunna hate I guess.

If you want to draw conclusions while wizzing past in your car it’s your loss.

FD10 FD10 10:08 am 05 Apr 11

shadow boxer said :

It is interesting that Canberra people would describe a place as having no soul based on a drive through

Flogging a dead horse eh? If a place is souless when driving through, imagine how bad it is when out of a car… It was the implication which was important. But I don’t expect you to understand that, considering you think having a petrol station makes a suburb good, and the magnititude of your delusions are clear when you refer to Nicholls’ “wide streets” (google would disagree: http://tinyurl.com/3bv4mrw).

If you think nothing has changed in Gungahlin in the last 11 years (“Bagging Gungahlin is so last century” would imply that, or should I point out I’m not “bagging the place out” for no reason, 11 years ago it was a completely different place) then perhaps you need to remind yourself of photos such as this: http://the-riotact.com/images-of-canberra-crace-a-place-like-no-other/23323
Actually, screw driving past it in a car, I can tell from those photos such as this that the place has no soul.

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 8:47 am 05 Apr 11

shadow boxer said :

Yeh, I like Weston Creek and agree on the inner north even though I grew up there.

It is interesting that Canberra people would describe a place as having no soul based on a drive through, I hate it when sydney people do that to Canberra in general.

Back on topic Nicholls is clearly in Canberra’s top three suburbs.

Wide streets, big gardens, good mix of town houses and large quality houses, pool, gym, golf course with kangaroos, taverns, Ginniderra fair, petrol station, good views, no riff raff.

Easy acces to

Hall markets, EPIC, Racecourse, Canberra stadium, the universities, civic (as long as its not 7:45 but that effects everyone and will get better when that frigging road is finally opened) and the G which I much prefer to the horrendous Belco mall and town centre.

Bagging Gungahlin is so last century…….

+ 1.

Community is what you make it. And you can find it anywhere.

shadow boxer shadow boxer 8:10 am 05 Apr 11

Yeh, I like Weston Creek and agree on the inner north even though I grew up there.

It is interesting that Canberra people would describe a place as having no soul based on a drive through, I hate it when sydney people do that to Canberra in general.

Back on topic Nicholls is clearly in Canberra’s top three suburbs.

Wide streets, big gardens, good mix of town houses and large quality houses, pool, gym, golf course with kangaroos, taverns, Ginniderra fair, petrol station, good views, no riff raff.

Easy acces to

Hall markets, EPIC, Racecourse, Canberra stadium, the universities, civic (as long as its not 7:45 but that effects everyone and will get better when that frigging road is finally opened) and the G which I much prefer to the horrendous Belco mall and town centre.

Bagging Gungahlin is so last century…….

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 6:35 am 05 Apr 11

Personally I think the inner north is overrated, but as I said previously there are good streets scattered all through. Don’t discount the south side, lots of it are very nice, and the infrastructure is generally good. Weston Creek is also something of a secret.

Sproogle77 Sproogle77 10:15 pm 04 Apr 11

AcidRose said :

Generally, the further from Civic (what passes for a ‘city’ in this big country town), the more expensive –is a whole lot of crock too!!! It’s actually..the CLOSER to the city is more expensive ..doh!!! .

Oops, typo by me. Should have typed closer – doh!!!

niknak niknak 8:09 pm 04 Apr 11

Aranda could tempt us out of the Inner North but otherwise, Belco doesn’t hold much appeal. Perhaps if we had kids we’d think differently.

beejay76 beejay76 7:51 pm 04 Apr 11

FD10 said :

No, I mean small blocks in Gungahlin like this:

http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/act/sale-residential/45-baratta-street-crace-canberra/1316786236411

In all fairness, yes the 450m2 block was the smallest I found. But I only checked three different houses. Two were 450m2, one was 536m2. Compared to three random houses in Aranda, which were 823.6m2, 895m2 and 901.5m2

But Gungahlin is real big, right?

There *may* be some advantages to sterile-Gungahlin (I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt), but please don’t try to argue that it has large block sizes. That is just insulting everyone reading.

No, there’s much smaller than that. My block is 345m2, and it’s not the smallest. Not by a damn sight. Our neighbours are on 250m2.

On the up side, the crime rate is really low here – the lowest in Canberra from what I can tell. It’s affordable. Waaaaay more affordable than the inner north or inner south (sorry, don’t know anything about further down south). So: safe, cheap, and close to the city. For example Franklin (circa 10km) is the same distance from Civic as Red Hill (also 10km). But yes, the blocks are teensy.

Jethro Jethro 7:23 pm 04 Apr 11

Gungahlin Al said :

I agree that new is a better option – sidesteps the crappy standard of housing, design and energy efficient that prevails in most of the old housing stock. With good housing design in Canberra, you will be like “Winter? What winter?” and your biggest problem will be remembering to grab a jacket when you leave the house. So get a bare block with good east-west orientation, preferably with the private open space to the north rather than the street to the north, or if you can afford it, a total crap house in a nice area and bulldoze the house.

I dispute the advice against Harrison (or parts of it anyway) based on just lack of broadband. We have this little thing called NBN coming to Gungahlin real soon remember. And the other issues that plague some parts of Gungahlin are not present in the Well Station parts of Harrison – the streets are reasonably sized, ditto most of the blocks, and the parks are good. And it is very close to the city. Traffic? Sure it is a pain – if you insist on driving. Ride a bike – ceases to be an issue.

The thing Tanielle needs to remember is that most people in Canberra look on a drive to Queanbeyan as an interstate trip requiring a packed lunch and even consider packing an emergency overnight bag. Others will happily commute every day from the far south of Gordon etc (nicknamed “North Cooma” by some) but try to say that Gungahlin is just as far, when it is really about as far from Civic as Woden.

Perception and reality in Canberra are not always the same thing. See for yourself.

True about perception and reality. For example, the perception that new is better is bollocks. New housing in the outer suburbs of Belconnen and in Gunghalin is invariably on minute blocks of land in suburbs that are absolutely soulless. Not so much as a tree to relieve the view of grey and brown concrete. Sure you get a newer home, but they are pretty poor quality. I find walking through West Macgregor to be quite depressing. Some of those ‘homes’ look like grey bomb shelters.

Personally, I would be looking for an established home in an established suburb. If you can only afford to live in the outer suburbs look at the established suburbs like Holt or Latham over West Macgregor. You can get a decent townhouse in Holt (right near Kippax shops and a major bus stop) for close to what you would pay for a place in West Macgregor. Some people will say that these suburbs have a bad reputation, but that is by Canberra standards. I have heard (but don’t quote me) that the poorest suburb in Canberra still has an average income higher than the average income in Australia.

Likewise, the outer suburbs of Belco, while further from the city than Gunghalin is, are still a quicker commute due to the terrible infrastructure in Gunghalin. They have plonked 40 or 50 thousand people there in the past decade or so but not supported that growth with things like decent roads. A commute from outer Belco to Civic will take 20-25 minutes at peak hour.

Buying a house is a big decision. I spent about a year looking at homes and locations throughout Canberra before deciding on a location to buy in and a type of home that I wanted to buy. My recommendation would be to have a good look and see what suits you and what you like before taking the plunge.

shadow boxer shadow boxer 7:13 pm 04 Apr 11

Nah, I’m just pointing out that your advice to someone new to the act to “never buy in gungahlin, small blocks, average houses” is flawed and simplistic.

As for judging a places “soul” from driving through it in car, the less said the better.

FD10 FD10 5:22 pm 04 Apr 11

shadow boxer said :

You mean small blocks in Gungahlin like these

http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/act/sale-residential/105-sue-geh-crescent-nicholls-canberra/1316768579011

No, I mean small blocks in Gungahlin like this:

http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/act/sale-residential/45-baratta-street-crace-canberra/1316786236411

In all fairness, yes the 450m2 block was the smallest I found. But I only checked three different houses. Two were 450m2, one was 536m2. Compared to three random houses in Aranda, which were 823.6m2, 895m2 and 901.5m2

But Gungahlin is real big, right?

There *may* be some advantages to sterile-Gungahlin (I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt), but please don’t try to argue that it has large block sizes. That is just insulting everyone reading.

bryansworld bryansworld 4:57 pm 04 Apr 11

shadow boxer said :

Kerryhemsley said :

shadow boxer said :

FD10 said :

Don’t ever buy in Gungahlin. Small blocks, average houses, to drive through the place gives of a ‘sterile’ feeling. It has no soul. And also no roads leading in and out, so you had better be an early riser or invest in a bicycle (enjoy the 0 degree commutes to work on the bike, too!)

Stick with Belconnen the district, but not Belconnen the suburb. At the risk of sounding like a broken record – look at places like Aranda, Cook, Macquarie, Weetangera, Hawker, Scullin.

You mean small blocks in Gungahlin like these

http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/act/sale-residential/105-sue-geh-crescent-nicholls-canberra/1316768579011

Aranda dreams about being a big house in Gungahlin, instead its old and crappy and cold and built next to freeway for real people.

Seriously Gungahlin has some of the most spectacular houses in the ACT, I know of one that is 75 squares.

My house is bigger than your house punch drunk.

Commonly known as McMansions.

Geez, Gungahlin can’t win, we get bagged out for having small houses and then get bagged out for having big houses…….

Have fun heating that house this winter!

shadow boxer shadow boxer 4:35 pm 04 Apr 11

Kerryhemsley said :

shadow boxer said :

FD10 said :

Don’t ever buy in Gungahlin. Small blocks, average houses, to drive through the place gives of a ‘sterile’ feeling. It has no soul. And also no roads leading in and out, so you had better be an early riser or invest in a bicycle (enjoy the 0 degree commutes to work on the bike, too!)

Stick with Belconnen the district, but not Belconnen the suburb. At the risk of sounding like a broken record – look at places like Aranda, Cook, Macquarie, Weetangera, Hawker, Scullin.

You mean small blocks in Gungahlin like these

http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/act/sale-residential/105-sue-geh-crescent-nicholls-canberra/1316768579011

Aranda dreams about being a big house in Gungahlin, instead its old and crappy and cold and built next to freeway for real people.

Seriously Gungahlin has some of the most spectacular houses in the ACT, I know of one that is 75 squares.

My house is bigger than your house punch drunk.

Commonly known as McMansions.

Geez, Gungahlin can’t win, we get bagged out for having small houses and then get bagged out for having big houses…….

Kerryhemsley Kerryhemsley 4:24 pm 04 Apr 11

shadow boxer said :

FD10 said :

Don’t ever buy in Gungahlin. Small blocks, average houses, to drive through the place gives of a ‘sterile’ feeling. It has no soul. And also no roads leading in and out, so you had better be an early riser or invest in a bicycle (enjoy the 0 degree commutes to work on the bike, too!)

Stick with Belconnen the district, but not Belconnen the suburb. At the risk of sounding like a broken record – look at places like Aranda, Cook, Macquarie, Weetangera, Hawker, Scullin.

You mean small blocks in Gungahlin like these

http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/act/sale-residential/105-sue-geh-crescent-nicholls-canberra/1316768579011

Aranda dreams about being a big house in Gungahlin, instead its old and crappy and cold and built next to freeway for real people.

Seriously Gungahlin has some of the most spectacular houses in the ACT, I know of one that is 75 squares.

My house is bigger than your house punch drunk.

Commonly known as McMansions.

KB1971 KB1971 4:11 pm 04 Apr 11

shadow boxer said :

FD10 said :

Don’t ever buy in Gungahlin. Small blocks, average houses, to drive through the place gives of a ‘sterile’ feeling. It has no soul. And also no roads leading in and out, so you had better be an early riser or invest in a bicycle (enjoy the 0 degree commutes to work on the bike, too!)

Stick with Belconnen the district, but not Belconnen the suburb. At the risk of sounding like a broken record – look at places like Aranda, Cook, Macquarie, Weetangera, Hawker, Scullin.

You mean small blocks in Gungahlin like these

http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/act/sale-residential/105-sue-geh-crescent-nicholls-canberra/1316768579011

Aranda dreams about being a big house in Gungahlin, instead its old and crappy and cold and built next to freeway for real people.

Seriously Gungahlin has some of the most spectacular houses in the ACT, I know of one that is 75 squares.

Pffft, 1.3 mil for a 974m2 block????

I have a block thats 980m2 but didnt pay near that much, If I was going to pay 1.3 for a house it would want to be good.

The thing is with Gunners & a lot of new subdivisions is they build the houses so there is not much block left. Our house has plenty of room, large bedrooms, great insulation & is economical to run. We also still have planty of room for the kids to have a trampoline, a swing, a cubby, vegie garden ect.

To me that house would be way too much for the average punter to live with.

Beserk Keyboard Warrior Beserk Keyboard Warrior 4:00 pm 04 Apr 11

shadow boxer said :

FD10 said :

Don’t ever buy in Gungahlin. Small blocks, average houses, to drive through the place gives of a ‘sterile’ feeling. It has no soul. And also no roads leading in and out, so you had better be an early riser or invest in a bicycle (enjoy the 0 degree commutes to work on the bike, too!)

Stick with Belconnen the district, but not Belconnen the suburb. At the risk of sounding like a broken record – look at places like Aranda, Cook, Macquarie, Weetangera, Hawker, Scullin.

You mean small blocks in Gungahlin like these

http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/act/sale-residential/105-sue-geh-crescent-nicholls-canberra/1316768579011

Aranda dreams about being a big house in Gungahlin, instead its old and crappy and cold and built next to freeway for real people.

Seriously Gungahlin has some of the most spectacular houses in the ACT, I know of one that is 75 squares.

Replace “spectacular” with “large and ostentatious” and you have described Nicholls accurately.

shadow boxer shadow boxer 3:30 pm 04 Apr 11

FD10 said :

Don’t ever buy in Gungahlin. Small blocks, average houses, to drive through the place gives of a ‘sterile’ feeling. It has no soul. And also no roads leading in and out, so you had better be an early riser or invest in a bicycle (enjoy the 0 degree commutes to work on the bike, too!)

Stick with Belconnen the district, but not Belconnen the suburb. At the risk of sounding like a broken record – look at places like Aranda, Cook, Macquarie, Weetangera, Hawker, Scullin.

You mean small blocks in Gungahlin like these

http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/act/sale-residential/105-sue-geh-crescent-nicholls-canberra/1316768579011

Aranda dreams about being a big house in Gungahlin, instead its old and crappy and cold and built next to freeway for real people.

Seriously Gungahlin has some of the most spectacular houses in the ACT, I know of one that is 75 squares.

luther_bendross luther_bendross 2:50 pm 04 Apr 11

You can’t judge any suburb in Canberra based on other people’s opinions. You need to check each property and street individually. Banks is a (relatively) long way from Civic, but it’s closer to a long list of places that are a lot more interesting than Civic. Charnwood has a (somewhat unfounded) bad reputation and some of the houses out there are fantastic. Lyneham is close to heaps of amenities but also to heaps of property crime. Queanbeyan (yes, it’s a suburb of Canberra) has a typically lower household income, but you get far better bang for your buck than anywhere in the ACT.

My advice: take all our opinions with a grain of salt and spend a few weeks looking around with your own eyes. Oh, and don’t move to Crace.

KB1971 KB1971 12:50 pm 04 Apr 11

Don’t discount Tuggeranong & Woden.

Tuggers has some new development right in the town centre with resitential units across from the main park. They are even building another one right next to the interchange & the Tuggernanong Hyperdome.

Greenway across the lake is quite nice too.

Buses, there is one every 5-10 minutes from the interchange & the ride is only 1/2 an hour to the city form the interchange.

I guess the choice will come down to your workplace, if you are working in Belco then Tuggers would not be an option. If you are working in the City or surrounds then it can be.

Don’t listen to the northsiders who say its too far or its shitsville, I have lived in Belco (Evatt & Kaleen), Watson, Rivett, Jerrabomberra & Tuggers (Richo & now Lanyon). In the 19 years I have been here I have lived south the longest & love it. Most of the knockers have not actually lived south of the lake.

There really is no “bad” part of Canberra, some areas are just better than others, its your choice. Just take your blinkers off & you will see.

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