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Tasmania’s Stories

Home buyers spend $3.8b

Edition 192_House

Tasmania's housing market achieved record sales totalling $3.879 billion in 2017.

Despite a decrease in the number of homes listed for sale over the past two years, 11,353 transactions were recorded — the highest number in a decade.

Sales of houses for more than $1 million came in at 168, easily eclipsing the previous record of 109 for a calendar year set in 2015.

The majority of these high-end purchases were made by Tasmanian residents (130), with interstate buyers accounting for the remaining 38.

Figures released by the Real Estate Institute of Tasmania (REIT) in February showed that the total value of homes sold in 2017 was about $760 million more than the record $3.119 billion set in 2016.

The buoyant real estate market has seen many Tasmanians enjoy unprecedented rises in their personal wealth and it has also encouraged investors.

Five suburbs and one small town in the south recorded median price growth of more than 30 per cent for the 12 months to November 2017, according to CoreLogic.

Eaglehawk Neck grabbed the top spot with a 40.6 per cent change in its median house price, while West Hobart units showed a 39.2 per cent lift.

Inner Hobart experienced growth of 37.0 per cent, while Herdsmans Cove in the northern suburbs rose 34.7 per cent.

A small, coastal town south of Hobart, Snug, showed growth of 32.6 per cent and its median house price reached $437,500.

Mount Stuart, close to the North Hobart restaurant strip, was one of the most active Hobart suburbs with 36 sales and growth of 31.1 per cent.

Tasmanian building approvals for 2017 increased by 48.6 per cent year on year.

That was the strongest growth, by a big margin, of any State or Territory.

The President of REIT, Tony Collidge, said booming tourism, growing university student numbers, increased job opportunities, housing affordability and the emergence of Tasmania as a lifestyle destination were helping to drive the market.

“We now have unprecedented demand on a somewhat limited housing supply,” he said.

“No one foresaw how our economic condition would change so rapidly.

“Unfortunately, there is no quick solution to the shortage of stock, it is something we will have to work through.

“We estimate that Tasmania needs nearly 5,000 new homes to satisfy its current affordable housing, rental and private dwelling demand."

Interstate buyers bought about one in five of the homes sold in Tasmania in 2017.

First home buyers increased by almost 10 per cent or 120 sales to 1,345. Primarily they bought houses, with 158 units and 276 land blocks purchased by the group.

Hobart was the only capital city to record positive dwelling value growth in January, according to CoreLogic RP Data’s January Home Value Index.

It was also the only city to post a double-digit annual change in median dwelling values at 12.4 per cent.

The next best result was Melbourne at 8 per cent.

CoreLogic Head of Research, Tim Lawless, said Hobart’s high rate of capital gains could be partly attributed to lower prices relative to the big cities.

“Hobart’s median house values are about 59 per cent ($616,000) lower than Sydney’s median and 48 per cent ($401,000) lower than Melbourne’s,” Mr Lawless said.

“With values rising quickly in Hobart and now easing in Sydney and Melbourne, Hobart’s affordability advantage is being eroded.”

Investors in Hobart continue to see strong results with gross rental yields for houses (5 per cent), the second best in Australia behind Darwin.

Newly released statistics from Domain show that Hobart had the best house price growth in the December quarter, as well as the best annual house price growth and best annual unit price growth.

Hobart house prices are now at record levels, while Sydney’s median house price has declined over six months.

“It has been over a decade since Hobart experienced such a surge in house prices over a quarter, and the capital city’s results over the December quarter highlight the growing demand for homes in the Tasmanian capital,” Domain said.

The Hobart City Council issued development permits worth $82 million in January, boosting the tally for the first seven months of this financial year to $215 million. Last financial year the total was $203 million for 12 months.

In Launceston, house prices rose by 4.2 per cent in 2017 following a record-breaking number of sales.

The median house price reached $292,000 over 12 months, with house sales totalling 1,334 – up 280 from 2016 and the highest ever recorded.

REIT’s quarterly report noted the Launceston areas growing the fastest were outer suburbs, while inner-city locations had seen stable or negative growth.

Image courtesy of The Mercury

8 March 2018, Edition 192

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Facts about Tasmania


Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia, located at latitude 40° south and longitude 144° east and separated from the continent by Bass Strait. It is a group of 334 islands, with the main island being 315 km (180 miles) from west to east and 286 km (175 miles) north to south.


Tasmanians are resourceful and innovative people, committed to a continually expanding export sector. In 2012–13, international exports from the state totalled $3.04 billion. USA, China, Taiwan, India, Japan and other Asian countries account for the bulk of exports, with goods and services also exported to Europe and many other regions.


Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka. The Tasmanian islands have a combined coastline of more than 3,000 km.


The main island has a land area of 62,409 sq km (24,096 sq miles) and the minor islands, taken together, total only 6 per cent of the main island’s land area. The biggest islands are Flinders (1,374 sq km/539 sq miles), King, Cape Barren, Bruny and Macquarie Islands.


About 250km (150 miles) separates Tasmania’s main island from continental Australia. The Kent Group of Islands, one of the most northerly parts of the state, is only 55km (34 miles) from the coast of the Australian continent.


Twice named ‘Best Temperate Island in the World’ by international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, Tasmania has a mild, temperate maritime climate, with four distinct seasons.


In summer (December to February) the average maximum temperature is 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit). In winter (June to August) the average maximum is 12° C (52° F) and the average minimum is 4° C (40° F). Snow often falls in the highlands, but is rarely experienced in more settled areas.

Annual Rainfall

Tasmania’s west coast is one of the wettest places in the world, but the eastern part of the State lives in a rain-shadow. Hobart, the second-driest capital city in Australia, receives about half as much rain as Sydney.

Annual Rainfall

Annual rainfall in the west is 2,400 mm (95 inches), but hardy locals insist there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. If you travel 120 km east to Hobart, you experience a much drier average of 626 mm (24 inches) a year.


The 512,875-strong community spreads itself across the land; less urbanised than the population of any other Australian state. Hobart, the capital city, is home to more than 212,000 people.

Capital City

Hobart nestles at the foot of kunanyi / Mount Wellington (1,270 m / 4,000 ft) and overlooks the Derwent Estuary, where pods of dolphins and migrating whales are sometimes seen from nearby beaches. Surrounded by thickly forested rolling hills, the city is home to the state parliament and the main campus of the University of Tasmania.

Capital City

Its historic centre features Georgian and Regency buildings from colonial times. Hobart is home port for coastal fishing boats, Antarctic expeditions and vessels that fish the Southern Ocean.

Land Formation

Mountain ranges in the south-west date back 1,000 million years. Ancient sediments were deeply buried, folded and heated under enormous pressure to form schists and glistening white quartzites.

Land Formation

In the south-west and central highlands, dolerite caps many mountains, including Precipitous Bluff and Tasmania’s highest peak, Mt Ossa (1617 m / 5300 ft). More than 42 per cent of Tasmania is World Heritage Area, national park and marine or forest reserves.


Vegetation is diverse, from alpine heathlands and tall open eucalypt forests to areas of temperate rainforests and moorlands, known as buttongrass plains. Many plants are unique to Tasmania and the ancestors of some species grew on the ancient super-continent, Gondwana, before it broke up 50 million years ago.


Unique native conifers include slow-growing Huon pines, with one specimen on Mt Read estimated to be up to 10,000 years old. Lomatia tasmanica, commonly known as King’s holly, is a self-cloning shrub that may well be the oldest living organism on earth. It was discovered in 1937.


Tasmania is the last refuge of several mammals that once roamed the Australian continent. It is the only place to see a Tasmanian devil or eastern quoll (native cat) in the wild and is the best place to see the spotted-tailed quoll (tiger cat), all carnivorous marsupials.


The eastern bettong and the Tasmanian pademelon, both now extinct on the Australian continent, may also be observed.


The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was Australia’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and is a modern day mystery. The last documented thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and although the animal is considered extinct, unsubstantiated sightings persist.

History and Heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for about 35,000 years, since well before the last Ice Age. They were isolated from the Australian continent about 12,000 years ago, when the seas rose to flood low coastal plains and form Bass Strait.

History and Heritage

Descendants of the original people are part of modern Tasmania’s predominantly Anglo-Celtic population.

History and Heritage

Tasmania was originally named Van Dieman’s Land by the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. The island was settled by the British as a penal colony in 1803 and the original name was associated with the convict era. It was changed to Tasmania when convict transportation stopped in 1853.


A resourceful island culture has generated leading-edge niche industries, from production of high-speed catamaran ferries and marine equipment to lightning-protection technology.


Tasmanians produce winches and windlasses for some of the world’s biggest ocean-going pleasure craft; large-scale inflatable evacuation systems and provide specialist outfit-accommodation services to the marine industry.


The Wooden Boat Centre at Shipwrights Point has re-established the skills and traditions of another age and attracts students from around the world.


Tasmania is a world leader in natural turf systems for major sporting arenas and in areas of mining technology and environmental management. Its aquaculture industry has developed ground-breaking fish-feeding technology and new packaging.


Tasmanians sell communications equipment to many navies and their world-class fine timber designers and craftsmen take orders internationally for furniture made from distinctive local timber.


The state is a natural larder with clean air, unpolluted water and rich soils inviting the production of 100 varieties of specialty cheeses, as well as other dairy products, mouth-watering rock lobsters, oysters, scallops and abalone, Atlantic salmon, beef, premium beers, leatherwood honey, mineral waters, fine chocolates, fresh berry fruits, apples and crisp vegetables.


Tasmania is a producer of award-winning cool-climate wines, beers, ciders and whiskies. Other export products include essential oils such as lavender, pharmaceutical products and premium wool sought after in Europe and Asia. Hobart is a vital gateway to the Antarctic and a centre for Southern Ocean and polar research.


The industries in Tasmania which made the greatest contribution to the State’s gross product in 2010–11 in volume terms were: Manufacturing (9.4%), Health care and social assistance (8.2%), Financial and insurance services (7.2%), Ownership of dwellings and Agriculture, forestry and fishing (each 7.1%).

Getting to Tasmania

Travel is easy, whether by air from Sydney or Melbourne, or by sea, with daily sailings of the twin ferries Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2 each way between Melbourne and Devonport throughout the year.

This site has been produced by the Brand Tasmania Council © 2014

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