Hotspot: Darwin's Tiwi a 'sleeping giant'

Hotspot: Darwin's Tiwi a 'sleeping giant'
Hotspot: Darwin's Tiwi a 'sleeping giant'

Not many investors may have heard of Tiwi, the small coastal suburb 12 kilometres north of the Darwin CBD with about 3,000 residents.

But its inclusion alongside the more fashionable big-name suburbs of Potts Point, Sydney and Carlton in Melbourne in the St George National Hotspots 2011 report suggests investors cast their nets northwards.

Rod Hass, residential sales manager at Knight Frank in Darwin, calls Tiwi one of the city’s “sleeping giants”.

He says houses on large blocks of about 800 square metres generally sell in a range between $480,000 and $600,000, mostly via private treaty.

“Currently, houses are selling mainly in line with the market, between $450,000 and $550,000,” Hass says.

Tiwi is within walking distance or a short commute from the Casuarina Coastal Reserve and beach, Charles Darwin University the Royal Darwin hospital and the biggest shopping mall in the Northern Territory, the Casuarina Square, which Hass says all adds to the appeal of the suburb.

The suburb is served by good bus services to the city, and the St George report says private vehicle access to the suburb is good via Trower Road.

In addition, the smaller population in Darwin lends itself to less public transport, and people primarily use private vehicles to travel around the city.

Hass says growth in Tiwi house prices is being boosted by the new sub-division in the neighbouring suburb of Lyons, where Defence Housing Australia houses are being built.

Hass describes it as an established suburb popular with families and owner-occupiers. 

A buoyant market

Nick Mousellis, realtor at Ray White Darwin, tells Property Observer the Tiwi market is “very buoyant” at the moment.

He recently sold a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house at 52 Tiwi Gardens Road with landscaped gardens, after holding the listing for two months.

After “careful renovations” Mousellis says the property achieved a sale price in excess of the asking price – it was listed at $570,000.

“The owner is an out-of-towner who has bought the property as an investment for now and somewhere to move into when they eventually relocate,” Mousellis says.

According to the St George report, “Tiwi’s houses often have significant renovation potential, both internally and externally, while the large land sizes can allow for extensions of dwellings, construction of pools, or possible subdivision”.

Like Hass, Mousellis also highlights Tiwi’s proximity to local amenities as well as its relaxed feel and affordability.

RP Data currently lists the median price in Tiwi at $526,500. House prices have appreciated by 16.9% over the past 12 months, significantly higher than 0.2% recorded for Darwin over the year to March 2011. 

Tiwi versus Darwin prices




Median house price



Median weekly rent






12 month capital growth



Source: RP Data

More than two-thirds (72%) of homes are detached houses, and due to the climate, most have swimming pools.

There is strong investor interest already in Tiwi, with 41.4% of all dwellings rental properties. The percentage of houses that are rentals is 29.3%.

According to RP Data, the median weekly rent has risen to $490, which when combined with the median house price translates into a gross rental yield of 4.8%.

Although the suburb is is adjacent to the ocean, no houses are on the waterfront and according to St George it is “highly unlikely any have a view of the ocean”.

However, as many of the houses offer scope for substantial renovations, extensions or rebuilds, the suburb is well positioned for future median house price growth. 

According to the St George report, houses close to amenities are likely to be the most desirable.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer


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