A market that has lain dormant for more than half a decade is now seeing an influx of investors and buyer’s agents. But it’s not on Australia’s mainland; the next big thing for property investors requires ignoring the obvious hot spots and crossing the Bass Strait to Tasmania’s capital city.
A fuss-free lifestyle, food and wine scene plus affordable housing established in the very early 1800s with signs of its European heritage still apparent, is what makes the heart of Tasmania, Launceston an increasingly attractive proposition for Australian buyers.
One of the key trends we’re seeing in Launceston and Northern Tasmania right now is an influx of buyers from the big cities in the Eastern States.
In fact, up to 30 per cent of buyers in the market at the moment are from metropolitan Sydney and another 17 per cent from Melbourne. A broad range of buyers, including Tasmanian expatriates, retirees and professionals have been zeroing in on the city that lies 200 kilometres north of the state’s more expensive capital, Hobart.
According to a property report by Core Logic's, while the vast majority of Australia has been challenged by dips in dwelling prices, Tasmania seems to have found all those missing, keen buyers and has experienced strong growth.
While large, the increase is being attributed to factors like population growth and demand, Tasmania has a lot to offer, and as a result, around a quarter of buyers are jumping ship from other states and heading south, while immigration from overseas has also grown (as of March, before the COVID border lockdown).
If you can't understand what all of those buyers are seeing in their new home, our list below will show you exactly why real estate in Tasmania is so charming.
Its most prestigious—and expensive—properties are inner-city historic mansions such as the 1880-built Glenfruin, which set a city price record when it sold in 2018 for A$3.25million. But even its most expensive and luxurious homes present great value, compared to similar homes in Melbourne and Sydney, where the median house price of historic suburbs such as Toorak or Rose Bay are A$4.4 million and $3.5 million, respectively.
It’s this price point that makes Launceston, which has a median price of less than A$400,00), such an attractive proposition for buyers, despite a 10 per cent increase in the March quarter, according to the state’s peak industry body, the Real Estate Institute of Tasmania.
“Launceston is very attractive for mainland buyers in particular,” Mark Bushby, Director at Bushby Property Group said.
“We’re a good-sized regional town with lots to offer in terms of wineries, the beautiful Cataract Gorge; unemployment levels were very low, good proximity to the coastline, no traffic congestion and you have a beautiful character city," he said.
Tasmania has a population of only around half a million people, making it tiny in comparison to major cities like Sydney where over 5 million people live.
While the population has grown over recent years, and demand from mainlanders on the move will likely see it continue to grow, Tasmania offers something few other places can – the rare opportunity to have your cake and eat it too.
Right now, you can live in central Hobart and within around 30 minutes, you can be enjoying the stunning scenery of one of Tasmania's most beautiful and scenic spots, Mount Wellington.
While the city does experience peak hour (that can set you back an hour or two), the size of the city means your destination is never too far away.
Before the arrival of Covid-19 and global restrictions in travel—Australia shut its borders to international travellers on March 8— Launceston real estate agents reported one in three buyer inquiries were coming from Sydney and Melbourne.
One Agency Launceston Director Josh Hart said in an interview with Mansion Global; "Many mainland buyers interested in the city were not just retirees but also highly skilled professionals looking for a better work/life balance.
“Many of these buyers have employers in Melbourne or Sydney and choose to fly-in/fly-out, working three or four days a week in the city and basing themselves here for the rest of the time. Others are self-employed professionals in sectors that are becoming geography-independent, such as consulting or media," Hart said.
The proximity of the Launceston Airport, being 10 minutes from the city and with regular daily direct flights to Sydney and Melbourne, meant reasonable commute times for many who need to travel for work.
Launceston was also one of the first Australian cities to receive the National Broadband Network for high quality and reliable internet connection.
In addition, there is the Launceston City Deal, a 10-year collaborative investment plan among all levels of government that will focus on maximizing the city’s job market, business appeal, population growth, livability and innovation.
It’s already resulted in the revitalization of the Brisbane Street Mall and Civic Square, expansion of the University of Tasmania’s Inveresk campus and new courses. The University of Tasmania is ranked in the top 2 per cent of universities worldwide (ARWU).