Land in two of the ACT's newest suburbs is costing some buyers upwards of $1100 a square metre, despite a slight fall in average prices since December last year, down to $868 a square metre in the four months to November.
But while some sales figures were detailed in answers to questions on notice asked by ACT Opposition Leader Alistair Coe during last months' Assembly annual report hearings, the government has failed to produce an up-to-date ACT land and property report since December last year.
The government has come under pressure this year to reduce the price of land across the territory, and has also increased its four-year targets for land release, despite the Suburban Land Agency voicing concerns the new targets may not be achieved.
The new figures show the government sold blocks in greenfield suburbs Throsby and Moncrieff for up to $1159 and $1362 a square metre respectively, from July 2017 to the end of October this year. Maximum prices in the greenfield suburb of Taylor also reached $940 a square metre in the first six months of 2018.
But the figures also show an overall fall in average prices since July last year across the three suburbs, down from $896 a square metre in the second half of last year, rising to $914 a square metre in the first half of this year, and then falling again to $868 a square metre in the July to October period.
The average price of a block in Throsby between last July and this October was between $378,000 and $399,000; in Taylor it was between $345,000 and $349,500 and in Moncrieff it was $238,300.
The figures also showed that, across the three suburbs, the government sold 184 blocks in the last half of 2017, rising to 370 blocks in the first half of this year and falling to just 51 blocks sold from July through to the end of October.
The average size of blocks sold in Throsby rose from 390 square metres to 425 square metres, with minimum blocks of 250 square metres in the same period. In Taylor, the average block size fell from 438 square metres to 390 square metres, with minimum blocks falling from 250 square metres to 144 square metres.
In Moncrieff, with data only available for the first half of this year, the average size of blocks sold was 319 square metres, with minimum blocks of 153 square metres.
Mr Coe said he believed there was a growing sentiment the government had been gouging Canberra home buyers through high land prices, and despite the government arguing it was running out of land, that was not the case given its recent rural land purchases and joint venture at Ginninderry.
Master Builders Association ACT chief executive Michael Hopkins said the city's housing sector was already showing signs of slowing after one of the biggest years for residential building approvals in territory history.
Mr Hopkins said the slowdown was partly due to tougher lending restrictions on banks and tighter finance conditions, which have since been eased for some interest-only loans. Despite some 6600 building approvals in the year to October, housing loans to investors in the ACT fell 5.8 per cent in the same period.
But he said it was no coincidence that those results came at a time when the ACT government had been attempting to sell land for more than $1000 per square metre, and when territory government rates and charges were increasing.
He said he was also concerned the market would be affected by changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax if Labor were to win the next federal election.
Under federal Labor's policy, investors who already own a negatively-geared property would not be affected, but negative gearing would be limited to new homes and the capital gains tax discount would be cut from 50 per cent to 25 per cent.
Mr Coe asked Planning Minister Mick Gentleman why there had not been any reports published since December 2017, to which Mr Gentleman responded in writing that the government had not actually completed any such reports since then.
He wrote that the planning directorate was reconsidering publishing the reports at all, after the 2017 reports' release earlier this year, and the directorate was reviewing the content and purpose of the reports.
"Once this work has been completed, consideration will be given to the regularity of production and publication," he wrote.
Mr Gentleman's spokesman said the government had publicly released the 2017 reports in response to "community and stakeholder feedback, as well as internal considerations", and there would be "more to come in the new year".
The government would not provide land sales data for the period since the end of October this year.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.