Australia’s capital city – Canberra – is particularly distinctive and quite unlike any of the nation’s other major population centres.
What makes Canberra different?
While most of Australia’s cities grew organically as British colonial outposts, Canberra is a planned city, established little more than a century ago in the aftermath of Australian federation, when the six individual self-governing colonies (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania) joined to form the new Commonwealth of Australia.
After lengthy disputes about whether Melbourne or Sydney – the two largest cities – should be the capital, it was agreed that a new capital city should be founded in a territory separate to the existing states. Canberra was therefore established – in a new administrative district that we now call the Australian Capital Territory – despite being geographically located within the boundaries of New South Wales.
As a planned national capital and administrative centre, Canberra has both a smaller population and a relatively unusual local economy compared to other major Australian cities. Its current population is just over 390,000 – compared with Sydney’s 5 million – and the government is the single largest employer in the city. As such, it has both a higher average wage and a lower unemployment rate than the national average. In fact, residents of Canberra boast a higher level of disposable income than any other Australian state capital.
The government certainly isn’t the only employer in town, though: more than 50 per cent of the city’s workforce is employed by private companies, of which over 25,000 operate in Canberra. Major employers in the area include the building and construction industries, and IT and software businesses, many of which provide information and communications technology solutions to government and defence agency clients.
Housing in Canberra
Property prices in Canberra could be said to be on the high side of average. This year, the median price of a residential property in the city was around $700,000 – that’s equivalent to a little over £402,000. That’s quite a bit higher than, say, Adelaide’s median house price of $452,000 (£260,000) but compares favourably to average prices in other Australian state capitals such as Melbourne ($843,000 / £484,000) and particularly the high property prices found in Sydney ($1.2 million / £690,000).
Canberra has an unusual housing market that has ebbed and flowed over the past decade or so. Demand has varied over the years, as has the availability of housing, driven by the number of new housing developments, which at times has been restricted due to development regulations. Recently the relative performance of property prices has also varied between houses (which performed well in 2016) and apartments (where prices declined over the same period). Overall, though, Canberra boasts a wide variety of property types to fit different budgets in both the purchase and rental markets, so chances are you’ll find something to suit your needs.
Arranging your move
When it comes to arranging your move from the UK to Australia, there are a number of different factors to take into account. It helps to do a bit of research into Australian import and customs regulations, as there may be certain types of furniture or textiles that are prohibited. A good international removals firm will be able to give you some advice on what to expect, and will be able to help deal with import and, where necessary, quarantine procedures on your behalf. Use our online quote generator to compare prices from up to four accredited international movers.
Last reviewed March 2017.