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Highest rental vacancy rates in Brisbane

There is a glut of units in Brisbane’s inner city, sitting empty as owners struggle to find tenants.Brisbane Investor

Brisbane recorded a 3.2 per cent vacancy rate in May, up from 3 per cent year on year, Domain Group data revealed.

The figures showed a continued upward trajectory of apartment vacancies at the centre of the inner-city building boom.

New Farm had the most unit vacancies, with 109 apartments advertised for rent, and recorded a median rental price of $400 per week.

Brisbane City had 95 vacancies and a median price of $550 per week, and South Brisbane had 94 vacancies and a cheaper median price of $490 per week.

Other suburbs including Nundah, Fortitude Valley, Toowong and Hamilton,all recorded more than 70 rental listings in May. However, Toowong was the cheapest of the bunch with median rentals at $395 per week.

Top 10 Brisbane suburbs for unit vacancies: May 2016
No. of vacancies
Median rent
New Farm109$400
Brisbane City95$550
South Brisbane94$490
Fortitude Valley75$410
Kangaroo Point68$450
Source: Domain Group


Chermside, Kangaroo Point and Indooroopilly also had high vacancies numbers with more than 60 rental listings. The cheapest was Chermside with a median of $393 per week; the most expensive was Kangaroo Point at $450.

 Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson said it was a familiar trend for Brisbane.

“Brisbane continues to be a favourable market for tenants,” Dr Wilson said.

“We are seeing the building boom is pushing more units into the inner city, which is also driving down the price of apartments.

“Once vacancy rates move above 3 per cent, you really enter that over-supplied market where you find much more choice for rentals.”

Older apartment investors are having to renovate or lower their prices to secure tenants. 

LJ Hooker New Farm principal Brett Greensill said New Farm investors had two options to attracts tenants.

“We are seeing a lot of small renovations in New Farm, where investors are modernising, because it is either renovate or drop prices,” Mr Greensill said.

“There have been drops of up to 20 per cent, but it isn’t as bad as you might expect.

“A big reason for the high vacancy rates, is people taking advantage of low interest rates and are taking a mortgage out in other affordable suburbs.”

Top 10 Brisbane house vacancies: May 2016
North Lakes$42093
Redbank Plains$34088
Springfield Lakes$40064
Source: Domain Group

The house rental market contrasted the unit market, with vacancy rates slightly tightening by 0.1 per cent to 2.5 per cent in May.

However, Dr Wilson said Brisbane still had the second-highest house vacancies in the country.

“Darwin has seen a major improvement, leaving only Perth above Brisbane for house vacancies,” he said.

North Lakes had the highest house rental vacancies in May with 93, followed by Redbank Plains with 88.


Original article published at by Jason Quelch, 15/6/16

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    Brisbane’s Office Market Greenlit for Business

    Brisbane’s Office Market

    Brisbane’s office market continues to shake off the pandemic doldrums with two new commercial towers approved in the CBD and fringe suburbs.

    Property owner PGIM and development partner Indema’s plan for a bold adaptive reuse of a 1970s commercial building at 444 Queen Street has won approval.

    The bronze 22-storey tower opposite Customs House will be stripped back to its core structure and completely remodelled with a new podium, curtain wall facade and an additional two-storey sculptural canopy.

    Indema director Michael Bruderlin said they would be targeting a net zero certification for the building upon completion in the first quarter of 2024.

    Bruderlin said Hutchies had been engaged in an early contractor design and construct contract to help de-risk the project and better understand the technical requirements.

    The Fender Katsalidis-designed tower follows in the footsteps of another of its commercial adaptive reuse projects in Brisbane, Ashe Morgan’s Midtown, now the headquarters for Rio Tinto.

    Bruderlin said retaining and repurposing the existing building is 400 per cent more environmentally friendly. Retaining the existing concrete structure provides a 70 per cent saving in embodied carbon.

    The project will rejuvenate a 48-year-old building at the end of life into an A-grade commercial office asset and increase the net leasable area 40 per cent.

    Bruderlin said the project would have a quicker turnaround than a normal demolish and build project and it would use clever design initiatives to increase floor plates and create a better value proposition for the asset.

    PGIM purchased 444 Queen Street for $54.4 million from the Public Trustee of Queensland and Abacus Property Group in October last year.

    Cornerstone has also won approval for a commercial development in the city fringe suburb of Fortitude Valley.

    The Bureau Proberts-designed tower will capture the heritage brick character of the Fortitude Valley centre “borrowing from the intent of these buildings but with a stridently different and contemporary expression”, planning documents said.

    “This approach is a deliberate counterpoint to the strong and solid brick structures of the immediately adjacent 47 Warner Street and McWhirters buildings.

    “Brickwork or masonry is not used as a material in deference to these neighbouring buildings allowing them to become more evident and make a clear statement about the era of their inception.”

    The 28-storey commercial tower at 251 Wickham Street features a stepped slanting facade fronting Warner Street, with a four-storey lobby, and an inverted podium.

    There will also be a rooftop terrace, 20m pool and open-plan gym in the commercial tower, with retail offerings at the base of the building.

    Brisbane’s metropolitan office market vacancy was at 16.3 per cent at the end of March and there were few transactions across the quarter, according to Colliers research.

    But yields remained steady, and well above other capital cities, while incentives remained stagnant at 40 per cent.



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    Developer Pitches for $130m Shop-Top Housing on Bayside

    $130m Shop-Top Housing on Bayside

    Brisbane’s bayside could be going up in the world with plans for $130-million highrise shop-top housing in the heart of the seaside suburb of Wynnum.

    Brisbane-based developer Hambros has lodged plans for a 21-storey apartment tower on the vacant lot neighbouring the Wynnum Central Shopping Centre, after winning approval for an small extension to the retail centre late last year.

    The development comprises a 6-storey retail and commercial podium, with a 275-apartment tower above, backing on to Wynnum Central Park.

    Hambros has reportedly spent about $14 million on revamping the Wynnum Central Shopping Centre on Bay Terrace, as part of a $74-million plan to rejuvenate Wynnum, including cinemas.

    According to planning documents lodged with the Brisbane City Council, the tower will be made up of 54 one-bedroom apartments, 148 two-bedroom apartments, and 67 three-bedroom apartments, with six penthouses, which will have private rooftop space and their own pools.

    The building height is well in excess of the allowable five to eight storeys in the Wynnum Manly Neighbourhood Plan, but town planners Gateway Survey and Planning argued the plan was “outdated” and should be overhauled.

    The six-storey podium would contain two levels of parking, a retail tenancy at ground level, a floor of retail, with two storeys of commercial space for office, healthcare and events space on levels 5 and 6.

    Developer Pitches for Shop-Top Housing on Bayside Brisbane

    ▲ Shayher Group won approval for its redevelopment of Wynnum Plaza last year, which included 184 apartments across eight residential buildings.

    In a statement to the council Hambros director Justin Ham said the Wynnum CBD had been left behind “with no development occurring in the last 20 years”.

    “Our project is designed to put Wynnum CBD on the ‘open for business’ map,” Ham said.

    “This landmark development, with a construction cost estimated at $130 million will have a huge financial and community positive impact on the Wynnum CBD and surrounding areas.

    “It’s a once-in-a-lifestime opportunity to create a beautiful space overlooking the best bay in the world.”

    Ham said the development would bring much-needed foot traffic to the heart of the Wynnum CBD and help bolster businesses and landowners he said were struggling to remain profitable.

    Taiwanese developer Shayher Group won approval for a masterplanned retail precinct at Wynnum Plaza with plans for 184 apartments across eight residential buildings as well as boutique cinemas and increased retail space, reportedly worth more than $100 million.

    Work on the Wynnum Plaza redevelopment was due to commence later this year with a completion date hedged for 2024.



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    More room in the Brisbane property price bubble but get ready for a reckoning, says bank

    Brisbane property price bubble but get ready for a reckoning

    Brisbane’s house prices would continue to outpace the nation this year but a significant slump was near, according to the ANZ.

    The bank’s economics team has revised its outlook for house prices and now tips a fall of about 3 per cent nationally this year followed by an 8 per cent fall next year. It had previously tipped a rise of 8 per cent this year and a fall of 6 per cent next year.

    In Brisbane, the monthly growth rate has slipped down to about 2.5 per cent and ANZ expects a yearly rate this year of about 6 per cent with a fall of about 9 per cent next year.

    The higher end of the market in Brisbane was also continuing to outpace the middle and lower price bracket in growth rates.

    The downturn was being caused by higher interest rates and affordability issues and ANZ said the “wealth effect” would come into play which would spread the housing downturn to other areas of the economy.

    “Falling house prices will weigh on consumer spending through the wealth effect, but high savings will provide a solid buffer,” ANZ said.

    It expects the RBA cash rate to get to 2.35 per cent by mid-2023 while the market is tipping a 3.25 per cent. A cash rate of 2.35 per cent meant a variable rate mortgage of 4.75 per cent and a 3.25 per cent rate would increase variable loans to 5.65 per cent.

    It said some people may struggle but forced selling because of higher interest rates was a low risk.

    Meanwhile, CoreLogic said the Coalition’s plan to allow first home buyers to access their superannuation accounts to help pay for a house had some merit but there were downsides, including the possibility that it would only stimulate demand for housing and increase the cost “eroding some of the benefit of dipping into their super”.
    CoreLogic worked out that under the scheme the median amount that could be accessed would be about $10,000, the equivalent of state-based first home buyer grants.
    “CoreLogic data shows the current median dwelling value in Australia is $748,635, meaning the scheme could help increase the size of a standard deposit by around 1 per cent,” the company said.
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