What our congested cities mean for property investment

We are driving less.  Our per capita travel by private vehicle has been dropping over the last ten years.

For mine, the cost of petrol is an obvious reason; though I think technology has something to do with it too – what with the dramatic impact it has on our ability to stay put while connecting (well, if you want to call it that) with just about anyone, anywhere, any time – without even having to sit upright.

But what’s on the mind of many of us actually driving is traffic congestion.

Alleviating congestion has become a focus of city planners, but how congested, really, are our cities?  Some science behind the whinge might help matters.  It usually does.

And to the rescue comes Tom Tom (without the Lone Ranger), who have undertaken extensive studies on congestion levels in urban areas around the globe & they’ve come up with the Tom Tom Congestion Index on traffic movement by location, time & day.

Here are a few pertinent stats for Australia & New Zealand (yes they do have traffic there too!) And if you want to download the complete study, you can go here.

[sam id=36 codes=’true’]Most congested cities – Sydney & Perth.

Least congested cities – Brisbane (hard to believe hey!) & Canberra.

Congestion levels – Sydney’s overall score is 33%, the same as Los Angeles – the most congested city in the United States – & far less than the most congested city in Europe – Moscow 66%.

Perth gets 30%; Melbourne & Adelaide 28%; Brisbane 25% & Canberra 18%.  This compares to Auckland & Christchurch 28% & Wellington 24%.

Congestion here is measured 24/7 & not just during peak hours.

Morning peak hour  – Sydney wins most congested & rises to 70% which even exceeds LA’s 56% (we feel your pain, Sydney); Melbourne moves into second place (56%); followed by Perth (55%); Adelaide (50%); Brisbane (45%; & Canberra (41%).

Top three increasing in congestion – Perth, Melbourne, Sydney.

Top three decreasing in congestion – Auckland, Christchurch & Brisbane (It still doesn’t help when stuck in traffic on Moggill Road!)

Likely delay per hour driven in peak periods – Brisbane 28 minutes; Canberra 22m; Adelaide 28m; Melbourne 33m; Perth 33m; Sydney 40m.  Across the ditch: Auckland 40m; Christchurch 30m; Wellington 36m.

So I assume from this that Brisbane’s traffic congestion is kinda okay, until shite hits the fan somewhere, & it gridlocks up, causing, on average, 28 minute delays, during peak periods.

Best peak periods of the week – For Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth & Sydney, the best peak periods occur Mondays pm & Fridays am.  For Canberra, best peak periods are Fridays am & pm – in other words, they only work a four day week in the nation’s capital.

Worst peak periods of the week – Tuesdays am for all cities except Canberra (Wednesdays am); and Thursdays pm for all cities except Perth (Wednesdays pm) & Sydney (Fridays pm).


My comments

The market is placing much higher value on convenience.

Travel times are part of this.

But I think living downtown or closer to an urban centre, has more to do with amenity & being able to walk to things, rather than the time saved when it comes to driving to work, shopping, schools etc.

We are seeing this when it comes to new subdivisions.  Those developments that spruik easy access to surrounding facilities, are not as attractive as those projects which offer the amenity within the development itself or within a pleasurable walking distance.


We will not give up our cars….

We might not drive them as much, but far too many things can only be accessed by private vehicle.  Urban consolidation doesn’t equate to fewer actual cars, just fewer & shorter driving trips.

The market (both buyers & renters) still places a premium on cars.  It is very difficult to sell a new one-bedroom apartment in inner Brisbane without a car parking space for over $350,000.

But buyers pay well over $400,000 for a one-bedroom apartment with a car space.  The premium for the car space within a new inner Brisbane development ranges depending on location, but averages close to $75,000.  The apartments with car spaces – being one space for a one-bedroom apartment & on those rare occasions these days, two spaces for a two-bedroom apartment – mostly sell first.


Don’t believe me?

Well you ask a downsizing baby boomer couple – who are looking to leave suburbia & live a more urban lifestyle & who can only afford to buy a two-bedroom/one car space apartment – who is going to forego their car.  Icy silence.  And wave bye-bye to that sale.

Where are the Lone Ranger & Tonto when you need them?

“Hey Kemosabe, maybe a townhouse might do the trick!”


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This Matusik Missive, like all of them, is commentary & not advice.  Readers should seek their own professional advice on the subject being discussed.
Michael is the director of independent property advisory Matusik Property Insights and writes the  Matusik Missive which is free, however, reprinting, republication or distribution of any portion of this material, or inclusion on any website, is strictly prohibited without the written permission of Matusik Property Insights and may incur a charge.



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Michael is director of independent property advisory Matusik Property Insights. He is independent, perceptive and to the point; has helped over 550 new residential developments come to fruition and writes his insightful Matusik Missive

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