It’s billed as Australia’s biggest transport project and is set to open in a fortnight, but property prices along the Metro Northwest have seen no signs of recovery despite the region being one of the country’s economic powerhouses.
The project links Chatswood to Rouse Hill through 13 stations and property prices have fallen across the board. At the eastern end, Chatswood houses prices dropped by 5 per cent in the past year to a median of $2,272,500 while at the western end, Rouse Hill fell 9.3 per cent to $1.031 million.
Though the Hills district has been subject to the broader property downturn, Commsec senior economist Ryan Felsman said the metro project had encouraged significant redevelopment, boosting population and new business activity.
“There’s been a 3 per cent increase to about 167,000 now living in the Hills Shire,” Mr Felsman said. That figure is expected to gain an extra 200,000 people in the coming decade.
But increased apartment development had accelerated price declines in the region, he said, and while suburbs like Epping, Castle Hill and Bella Vista would always be sought-after because of transport links, universities and retail, it was “a different kettle of fish” for suburbs further west of the train line, like Marsden Park.
Agents have reported that improved accessibility made the area more appealing to buyers — helping offset some price declines — and that the metro had become front of mind for those in the market as it nears completion. But not all are in favour.
Phillip Nicholas of McGrath Rouse Hill said 90 per cent of prospective buyers asked about the metro. Many of them would not have previously considered the region.
“Some people, but not many, don’t want to be too close to it, with high density going around it,” he said.
While some buyers are looking to move out because they fear the area will become overcrowded, potential sellers are holding off in a bid to capitalise on the metro once it is operational, said Sunny Gandhi of The Agency North.
Jennifer Carr, of Louise Carr Real Estate, said many of her buyers wanted to purchase in the area because they would be within walking distance of the metro. “The only people who aren’t happy about it are the old-time locals who don’t want anything to change.”
|Source: Domain. The median price is based on sales over the year to March 2019. Medians were not calculated when there was fewer than 50 sales.|
|PROPERTY PRICES ALONG THE METRO NORTHWEST|
|Suburb||House median||YoY Change||Unit median||YoY Change|
Domain research analyst Eliza Owen said while infrastructure projects could increase the appeal and value of an area, any uplift in property prices typically occurred shortly after a project’s announcement.
“In the early stages of a project there will be a period of speculation … but because it’s priced in at the early stages, you won’t necessarily see uplift in prices as it’s nearing the end of construction,” she said.
Apartment prices in the region spiked following funding for the rail link in 2011, Domain data shows. The region’s median jumped over 20 per cent in the year to June 2012, while the greater Sydney median increased just 3 per cent.
This may have reflected the sale of new, off-the plan stock in the region, where units had typically been dated and less connected, Ms Owen said.
Stuart Benson, director of Benson Auctions, felt the region’s main drawcard remained its schools, bigger blocks and community, but said improved accessibility would increase the appeal of homes along the line and of acreage suburbs like Dural and Annagrove, which would also become better connected.
“There are a lot of commuters who cannot wait to jump on at their local station,” Mr Benson said. “Had this launched two or three years ago, it’s hard to imagine what some of these houses might have gotten. Houses in and around train station zones will still perform better … but it is still relevant to the marketplace.”
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