Revealed: Darwin’s top swanky suburb for bargain buys

Fannie Bay has been named Darwin’s top spot to lock down a beer-budget unit in a champagne location.

The latest Herron Todd White Month in Review report analysed Australian property markets to find the suburbs where buyers could enjoy a top location for a fraction of the cost of a house by buying an established unit.

Gavin Hulcombe, managing director of HTW Brisbane, said low property supply and high demand had ensured resilient housing markets across Australia, with house prices surging and good value now being seen in the unit market.

“In recent months I have sighted evidence for certain projects suggesting that construction costs have more than doubled since 2020,” he said.

“Given the cost to produce city fringe units in medium rise towers can be well above the cost of buying an established apartment, many developers are questioning whether it’s viable to proceed with new projects.

“There is still a shortage of tier one and two builders and there is every likelihood supply will be constrained for a while yet.

“I see opportunities in unique, well-located units, whether CBD, city fringe or even a little further out, which offer an attractive space to live.”

The home at 100 East Point Road, Fannie Bay, sold for $2.95m. Picture:

NT-based HTW assistant valuer Louis Cox said that in Darwin, Fannie Bay was the prime spot to nab a beer-budget unit in a champagne location.

“The suburb boasts multiple parks, a beach, cafes and restaurants, proximity to the CBD and local schools, as well as the large leafy nature reserve of East Point – everything one would want from a champagne suburb,” she said.

“We continue to see strong sales throughout the suburb with properties often fetching above $1.5 million, which may seem like a bargain to interstate buyers however represents the upper end of the Darwin market.”

Ms Cox said the suburb was home to East Point Rd, known locally as Darwin’s golden mile, where properties sell in the $2.5m-plus range.

“The sale of 100 East Point Road last year, which would be considered entry-level for this street, set its purchaser back a cool $2.95m,” she said.

Ms Cox said for those looking for something a little less Dom Perignon and little more VB, there were gems for sale for as little as one-tenth the price of the top end of the market.

“As with most premium locations on an affordable budget, some compromises will need to be made,” she said.

“Townhouses and units are a prime example with trade-offs made on the dwelling type, size and lack of land balanced out by an affordable price tag and access to all the amenities the suburb has to offer.”

Units at 4 Kurringal Ct, Fannie Bay, are selling for affordable prices.

Ms Cox said an example of this was the sale of 5/17 Bayview St for $265,000.

“This is a small circa-1970, two-bedroom, one-bathroom, no thrills apartment with one car spot,” she said.

“While tired in some areas and (with) a dated bathroom, the unit is functional, solidly built with brick walls providing a great option for future renovations and is less than a two-minute walk from the foreshore.”

Ms Cox said modern complexes, such as 4 Kurringal Ct, offered newer amenities but less space.

“Unit 5205 recently sold for $323,000,” she said.

“The-2016 built, one-bedroom, one-bathroom unit with one car spot is situated on level two of the four-level, five-building, 162-unit apartment complex and offers a modern fit-out with a good level of common amenities such as a swimming pool, gym and barbecue facilities.”

Ms Cox said in suburbs like Fannie Bay, the security of an established suburb in a good locations, where part of the overall value was drawn from unchangeable features such as a beach, foreshore, or nature reserve, offered an underlying comfort that those attributes weren’t able to be replicated.

“(This provides) superior long-term prospects and more protection from volatile markets, especially in comparison to modern developing suburbs where the location is dictated by the availability of land, not the amenity it offers,” she said.

“As the saying goes, it’s better to have the worst house on the best street than the best house on the worst street.”