Having been almost entirely rebuilt twice, once due to Japanese air raids during World War II and again after being devastated by Cyclone Tracy in 1974, Darwin is one of Australia’s most modern cities.
The Northern Territory, with Darwin the dominant influence, ranks No.1 in Australia on numerous economic and real estate criteria. It currently has the lowest unemployment rate and is the national leader on growth in building approvals, by a considerable margin. It is also the national leader on growth in loans to owner-occupiers and loans to investors.
Housing demand is high and supply is limited, which is why Darwin has the highest residential rents among the capital cities, both for houses and for apartments – and by a considerable margin. The median house rent for Darwin is now $650 per week, while the typical apartment fetches $550.
Darwin experienced big rental growth in 2012 – median house rents up 16% and apartments rents up 20%, according to Australian Property Monitors – with prices following suit late in 2012 and early in 2013. It is undeniably the market growth leader among the state & territory capital cities. The Greater Darwin Plan, is based on projections that Darwin’s population will grow at least 50% by 2030.
Darwin is the main service centre for industries headed by mining, offshore oil & gas production, pastoralism, tourism and horticulture. The Port of Darwin is the main outlet for Australia’s live cattle export trade into South East Asia. The most important mineral resources are gold, zinc and bauxite, along with manganese and many others. The energy production sector is mostly offshore with oil and natural gas from the Timor Sea, although there are significant uranium deposits near Darwin.
Tourism employs 8% of Darwin residents and is expected to grow as domestic and international tourists are now spending time in Darwin during the Wet and Dry seasons. Federal spending is a major contributor to the local economy as well.
The announcement of the final investment decision for the $34 billion Ichthys gas project in January 2012 has put Darwin on an irrevocable course for growth. The development of the Marine Supply Base adjacent to East Arm Wharf, secures the city’s future as a major oil and gas supply and service centre. For Darwin – strategically placed as Australia’s closest capital to Asia, the growth opportunities over the next 20 years and beyond could not be brighter.