Camden Haven Watch Q4 2013

This report is an investigation into the Camden Haven residential market. The region is defined by the suburbs of Bonny Hills, Camden Head, Dunbogan, Kendall, Kew, Lake Cathie, Lakewood, Laurieton, North Haven and West Haven.

Since the beginning of 2013 resurgent market activity saw an increase in demand across all dwelling types, although sub $400,000 houses remained the most traded stock. The 165 transactions in the August 2013 half year recorded the highest house activity since August 2008, equating to a 12-month growth of 57 per cent. A rise in the number of transactions was noted across all suburbs, with Lake Cathie and West Haven recording the most significant increase.

The sharp rise in activity has yet to impact prices. The House and Unit Sales Cycle graph pointed to a rise in median house price while the median unit price eased. The middle price of a house closed the August period at $385,000, representing growth of 5.5 per cent from the corresponding period in 2012. For the same period the median unit price declined by 3.2 per cent, closing at $252,500 in August.

Enquiry levels remained high but have eased in recent weeks with a decline in the number of properties available for sale. Owner-occupiers represented the majority of buyers, with interest from locals, intrastate and interstate buyers. Investor numbers also increased with many looking to move into their investment property in the long term.

The House Price Point chart highlighted changes between the February 2012 and 2013 periods. Increased activity across all but one price points signalled the return of buyers confidence and helped to clear stock that has stayed on the market for extended periods. The $350,000 to $399,999 price point recorded the most notable change, with Aug 2013 sales almost doubling sales in the corresponding 2012 period (up 95 per cent).

Observing the unit market over the six months to August 2013, most strata-titled dwellings in the region transacted between $250,000 and $299,999 (six transactions) while the $200,000 to $249,999 price point recorded five transactions. North Haven registered the regions lowest and highest transactions; at the bottom end of the market a unit on Ocean Drive transacted for $145,000, while toward the top end a unit in the Haven on the Park complex sold for $415,000 in August.

Villas and over 55 dwellings remained in high demand as downsizers searched for high quality retirement accommodation. Smaller dual-occupancy lots also attracted strong enquiry.

A tightening supply of existing dwellings encouraged investment in new estates, with anecdotal sales of englobo sites (a large parcel of land offered as one sale) suggesting a growing supply of residential lots in the medium term.

The Capital Growth graph examined the returns achieved by vendors who exited the market in the past five years. While the average capital growth declined since 2008, houses offered a superior return to units in most parts of the half decade, with the August 2013 half year registering a 2.2 per cent per annum average growth for houses compared to 2.0 per cent per annum for units.

The rental market

Advertised rent prices continued to increase in the year to October 2013, with two-bedroom units and three-bedroom houses representing the majority of stock available for rent. The region registered a higher rental vacancy rate of four per cent in September as several tenants vacated their rental premises to become home owners. The median rent of a three-bedroom house climbed to $380 per week, while the weekly rent for a two-bedroom unit closed at $290.