Comment

Editorial

Mr Fluffy block sales a pot of gold with first land auctions

The impending sale of the first 10 remediated Mr Fluffy blocks next month will be a test for both the ACT government and the property market.

While experts have predicted there will be strong interest in the vacant blocks of land, it will be interesting to see just how much money buyers will part with to get a clean slate to build on in an established suburb.

It is rare for an undeveloped or cleared block of land to go on the market in an older suburb and as such these blocks will be highly valuable as they don't come with the costs of demolition.

The first 10 blocks for auction are spread throughout both highly desirable inner suburbs and those considered more affordable, so it will be a litmus test for how much money the ACT government is expected to reap from the buy-back scheme.

If the prices that Canberrans have been willing to pay for blocks in new suburbs recently are any indication, the Land Development Agency is likely to be considering each a pot of gold.

While the agency is advertising the blocks as an opportunity for people to buy in established suburbs, it is by no means a chance for the first home buyer, but the cashed up competitor.

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The most recent release of land in Throsby netted about $48 million, with buyers forking out $11 million more than the reserve prices.

In the past couple of years this has repeated in every drip feed land release the territory government has conducted with huge interest shown by both family buyers and the building industry in every block.

The Canberra Times has reported that six of the 10 blocks to be sold – in Scullin, Fraser, Downer, Campbell, Macgregor, Pearce, Duffy, Waramanga and Chapman – have dual occupancy planning permission.

It is this that has some neighbourhoods concerned about their suburbs changing forever.

What remains to be seen is how many of the remediated blocks will be bought back from the government by the home owners.

It is not likely to be many given the criticism of the ACT government over the scheme and the injustice felt by many affected home owners.

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