Canberra’s Light Rail will Affect the Housing Market
There has been a lot of controversy regarding the proposed Light Rail project in Canberra and despite the opposed and proposed views from members of community and our political parties; it will have an effect on the housing market.
To begin with, Labor’s Capital Metro Minister Simon Corbell has stated “cancelling the tram contract would cost between $220 million and $280 million,” slamming Liberals’ promise to scrap the contract as “reckless and lunatic.” The figures were calculated using the formula set out in the termination clause of the development contract. Nevertheless, the Liberals were using the project in the final days of their campaign hoping to swing some votes, even though the outcome of the election did not have direct impact on Canberra’s Light Rail project.
Conversely, Alistair Coe has stated that Labors’ Andrew Barr and Simon Corbell are “trumpeting that the Light Rail will only cost around $700 million, yet they are neglecting the other costs associating with financing, constructing and operating the Light Rail.” The Liberals feel that Labor are trying to lock generations of Canberrans into a contract without being completely honest about the real burden the project will create for future ACT taxpayers. Thus, these opposing views and large numbers are causing some members of the local community to be quite torn as to which leaders will benefit Canberra’s future in the long run.
Nevertheless, this new form of transport will carry an estimated 20,000+ passengers in one corridor during peak hour, opposed to the 2,000 vehicles per hour a freeway traffic lane can carry during peak hour. The ACT Light Rail Committee has deemed it to be the best form of mass transit for the ACT, and will serve as the backbone of an integrated public transport system incorporating bus’s, park and rides, bicycles and active transport. The Light Rail Committee points out that the impact of road congestion is quite staggering. Road congestion is not only a drain on our economy but a drain on our productivity.
What does this mean for the housing market? A number of suburbs set to reap the benefits of Canberra’s Light Rail route have already experienced a spike in value. The ACT government’s Capital Metro line from Gungahlin Town Centre to the city is expected to drive more buyers to properties along the transport corridor and potentially boost home values, experts say. Domain chief economist Andrew Wilson said the introduction of the Light Rail would “absolutely” impact on the value of homes close to the public transport corridor. While it is difficult to quantify the exact impact on house prices at this stage, he said the introduction of light rail would “only be positive for the local housing market,” as you’re always likely to have an increase in buyers, rather than a decrease, in areas with high levels of transport infrastructure.”
The proponents of the Light Rail say it will get people out of their cars and into a comfortable, reliable, high-capacity mode of public transport that is separate from general traffic. Not only is light rail capable of carrying large numbers of commuters as we head towards a population of 600,000, but it can also integrate into the landscape in a way that lets us maintain the character of Northbourne Avenue as the gateway to Canberra. At this stage, only the Gungahlin to Civic route, Capital Metro Stage One has been funded and planned. It is likely that the Russell extension will be built in 2019, with the other routes to follow over the next 25 years.