“Build it and they will come” is a fitting catch-phrase to describe the development of Canberra. Parliament, government departments, universities, schools, hospitals, and other business sectors have been drawing people to Canberra for work for many years now.
There is also huge potential for Business to Business (B2B) businesses to service and support these established organisations. Canberra’s secure economy and solid job growth make it an excellent choice for property investors. Here’s why Canberra is the perfect market for your short-term investment:
Only three hours from Sydney, a day-trip to Canberra is realistic even if you drive, but there is also the option of a short sub-one-hour flight – perfect for busy business people. Canberra-based businesses also pay comparatively less rent for their premises than they would in larger hubs, such as Sydney and Melbourne.
There are also good transport links to Sydney and Melbourne, as well as other international cities via plane, train, and a major highway. Singapore and Qatar Airways now fly in and out of Canberra, connecting Canberra to over 180 international destinations.
Canberra is more connected nationally and internationally than ever.
With a population of over 420,000 people, Canberra is still growing.
The Canberra Times reports, “The territory grew by 8935 people in 2017-2018, up 2.2 per cent on 2016-17… Canberra's rapid growth rate was bettered only by that recorded in Melbourne”.
Canberra’s “not-to-big-not-too-small” size make it “just right” when it comes to having enough people to sustain local businesses, without putting pressure on infrastructure such as roads, transport, schools and hospitals.
Canberra’s limited physical size also ensure it is quick and easy to get around. Most locals joke that it takes no more than 30 minutes to get anywhere in Canberra – a dream compared to other major cities!
Canberra is also comprised of a number of smaller centres, including: Belconnen, Gungahlin, Tuggeranong, Woden, in addition to Civic (the city centre). The unique design of Canberra disrupts the traditional traffic “grid-lock” problem caused by everyone working in one location, as many government departments and businesses are evenly distributed across these sub-centres.
Canberra is well-serviced when it comes to amenities such as healthcare, education, retail, and galleries/museums.
Canberra is fortunate to have a number of high-quality healthcare services, including three public and three private hospitals. Many of these hospitals are surrounded by additional healthcare services, providing ample opportunities for employment and supporting businesses in these sectors. It is also reassuring to know that most specialist treatment Canberrans require can be provided without having to leave Canberra.
With two major universities, as well as an abundance of public and private primary and secondary schools, Canberra is an education destination. In addition to students, the city also attracts teachers, academics and thought-leaders that specialise in a broad range of subjects.
If they wish, students can complete their entire education journey without having to leave Canberra. The education sector is a consistent source of short-term accommodation guests thanks to the number of seminars and conferences the City hosts, as well as family visiting students and people working in education.
Canberra has no shortage of international retail chains such as Ikea and Costco, as well as national retailers such as Myer and David Jones. The buoyant retail industry in Canberra has resulted in a number of shopping malls in major centres throughout the Capital, including Belconnen, Gungahlin, Civic, Woden, and Tuggeranong. Each suburb usually has its own group of local shops, including a supermarket or convenience store, bakery, hairdresser, café, takeaway shop etc, so Canberra residents are well-serviced.
In various surveys over the years (such as this one from Numbeo), Canberra is consistently referred to as one of the most liveable cities.
Whilst Melbourne is renowned for its top coffee and established foodie scene, Canberra isn’t far behind, especially when it comes to coffee. Institutions such as ONA Coffee have been founded and flourished in Canberra, with the support of locals who appreciate exceptional, ethically-sourced coffee. Such is the popularity of ONA that they now have four cafés in Canberra, one in Sydney and supply high-quality, locally-roasted coffee to over 100 more.
Canberra’s foodie scene is also growing thanks to a number of estimable and established eateries, such as Boffins, Courgette, Aubergine, Ottoman, Morks, and even the more relaxed Brodburger for flame-grilled burgers and Silo for bakery treats and coffee. There is no shortage of diverse and interesting food options in Canberra.
Closely associated with Canberra’s foodie scene is Canberra’s wine region. Canberra has deservedly earned a respected reputation as a cool climate wine region with renowned producers such as Clonakilla, Eden Road, Gundog Estate, Helm Wines, Mount Majura, Shaw Vineyard Estate, Long Rail Gully Wines, as well as many more. Shiraz and Riesling varieties do particularly well in this region, but many winemakers are experimenting with different varieties and combinations. Canberra’s wine industry is generously supported by many local restaurants showcasing local wines with specific dishes on their menu.
In addition to Canberra’s strong foodie scene, Canberra also has a vibrant artistic community. Museums and galleries such as the National Gallery of Australia, the National Museum of Australia, the National Portrait Gallery, and the National Library attract world-class exhibitions and events that people travel to Canberra to visit. The headline exhibitions often include pieces from galleries overseas (such as the Matisse and Picasso exhibition in December 2019), which provide visitors with a unique opportunity to view pieces they wouldn’t otherwise see in Australia.
Canberra has earned a solid reputation for its high-quality annual events and festivals. Celebrating the start of spring, Floriade is a highlight on Canberra’s event calendar, with the festival attracting 480,540 people in 2018. Tulip Top Gardens on the Federal Highway also attracts its fair share of spring revellers. In addition to the spring events, Canberra also annually hosts Enlighten, Spilt Milk, Summernats, and the National Multicultural Festival, to name a few.
There are also regular markets, such as the weekly Old Bus Depot Markets, Handmade Markets, and the Capital Region Farmers Markets, as well as various trash-and-treasure markets.
These special exhibitions and events are a drawcard for interstate visitors on a mini-break – the bread-and-butter business for investors of short-stay accommodation. You can maximise your occupancy rates for these events by working with your property manager to establish an annual event calendar and putting a marketing plan in place for specific events to attract new guests over these periods, or encourage previous guests to return.
Andrew Barr, MLA Chief Minister captures the essence of Canberra business eloquently: “Canberra is a great place to live, work and do business. We have a strong economy, a vibrant and well-educated community, and a collaborative and innovative business community. And we offer investors a pro-business culture that is actively supported by the ACT Government.”
By continuing to nurture our business community, as well as our local events we can all reap the rewards of investing in Canberra.