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Luxury sky homes sell for big bucks in Brisbane despite apartment oversupply fears


An apartment in Castlebar Cove, Kangaroo Point, has just sold for $1.9m.Source:Supplied

BRISBANE’S luxury sky homes are fetching big bucks despite concerns inner-city apartments are languishing because of an oversupply.

Some $15 million worth of prestige apartments have changed hands in the past month in the CBD and surrounding suburbs of Kangaroo Point, Toowong and New Farm.

An industrial chic penthouse in Newstead designed by award-winning architect Justin O’Neill has just been snapped up after more than 100 inspections.

Luxury sky homes sell for big bucks in Brisbane despite apartment oversupply fears

This penthouse at 5a/5 Kyabra St, Newstead, has sold.Source:Supplied

The apartment at 5a/5 Kyabra Street spans a huge 478 sqm, with four bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms.

Luxury sky homes sell for big bucks in Brisbane despite apartment oversupply fears

The French oak flooring in the penthouse at 5a/5 Kyabra St, Newstead.Source:Supplied

It is one of just two residential properties in the building, which was only completed in 2015.

Brandon Wortley of Ray White New Farm negotiated the sale, but the price has not been disclosed.

Mr Wortley and Brett Greensill of LJ Hooker New Farm also just kicked off April with the sale of a three-level penthouse at 10/461 Adelaide Street, which attracted more than 80 inspections.

Luxury sky homes sell for big bucks in Brisbane despite apartment oversupply fears

The top of the penthouse at 10/461 Adelaide St, Brisbane.Source:Supplied

The apartment in ‘The Hudson’ “required a long, patient campaign” according to Mr Greensill, which was indicative of the prestige, inner Brisbane apartment market in general at the moment.

The sale price has not been disclosed, but Mr Greensill said it sold for north of $2 million to a local buyer.

Luxury sky homes sell for big bucks in Brisbane despite apartment oversupply fears

This penthouse at 10/461 Adelaide St, Brisbane, has sold for $2m plus.Source:Supplied

Across the river in Kangaroo Point, a three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment on the ninth floor of the sought-after Castlebar Cove complex has sold for $1.9 million.

Selling agent Simon Caulfield of Place – Kangaroo Point said it was the highest resale in the building for some time.

Luxury sky homes sell for big bucks in Brisbane despite apartment oversupply fears

The view from the apartment at 17E/39 Castlebar St, Kangaroo Point, which sold for $1.9m.Source:Supplied

Considered to be a sub-penthouse, the property at 17E/39 Castlebar Street features polished marble throughout and has been freshly painted.

It offers 180 degree river views to the Story Bridge and Mowbray Reach that cannot be built out.

Luxury sky homes sell for big bucks in Brisbane despite apartment oversupply fears

The view from the apartment at 17E/39 Castlebar St, Kangaroo Point.Source:Supplied

There is also a media room with balcony access, a home office, a powder room and a three-vehicle garage.

Luxury sky homes sell for big bucks in Brisbane despite apartment oversupply fears

Inside the apartment at 17E/39 Castlebar St, Kangaroo Point.Source:Supplied

Also in Kangaroo Point, a three-bedroom, three-bathroom sub-penthouse spanning 261 sqm of living space has sold for $1.85 million.

The property in the Vantage complex at 118/98 Holman Street boasts near 270 degree views through floor to ceiling glass of the city, river and Story Bridge.

Luxury sky homes sell for big bucks in Brisbane despite apartment oversupply fears

An apartment in the Vantage building at 98 Holman St, Kangaroo Point, has sold for $1.85m.Source:Supplied

Mr Caulfield has also sold two apartments off-the-plan in a new riverfront complex in Toowong.

Luxury sky homes sell for big bucks in Brisbane despite apartment oversupply fears

The view from the “sky mansion” in the Banc development in Toowong.Source:Supplied

One of the apartments in the Banc development at 527 Coronation Drive sold for $2.3 million, while the other fetched $2.6 million.

In fact, Mr Caulfield said his office had sold about $13 million worth of apartments in the development in just the past four weeks.

Luxury sky homes sell for big bucks in Brisbane despite apartment oversupply fears

Two apartments have just sold in the Banc development at Toowong.Source:Supplied

And in New Farm, Mr Caulfield has just finalised the sale of a three-bedroom apartment at D4/55 Oxlade Drive for $2.594 million.

The property in the ‘Zahra’ development sold to a local buyer attracted to the “boutique living” aspect.

Mr Caulfield said he was waiting to finalise three more contracts on inner-city apartments in the coming days.

“It could be a very big fortnight in apartment sales,” he said.

Mr Caulfield said most of the apartments his office had sold recently were to locals looking to downsize.

“Buyers are really looking for something special and every single one of those apartments is in a boutique building,” he said.

“We’re finding that in the $2 million and 3 million bracket, there are plenty of people more than happy to invest that sort of money.”

Luxury sky homes sell for big bucks in Brisbane despite apartment oversupply fears

An apartment in the Zahra development in New Farm has just sold for $2.594m.Source:Supplied

Across the country, there were some big apartment sales over the past week as auction activity begins to ramp up again following the Easter lull.

Of the 514 apartments taken to market nationwide last week, 70 per cent sold, according to property data firm CoreLogic.

But Brisbane is still getting back into the swing of things, recording a preliminary auction success rate of only 40.8 per cent last week.


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Market Place

Boomers a ‘Force of Change’ in Retirement Property Market

Property Market

As teenagers they invented pop culture and now—much older, collectively wealthier and arguably wiser—they are defining a new age group and re-inventing retirement living.

Millenials may have surpassed them in numbers but baby boomers are still having significant influence on world economies and trends—not least in the property market.

“The baby boomers are coming through and have become a force for change in the seniors’ market,” said Cameron Kirby, managing director of Kirby Consulting Group, a retirement and aged care specialist.

“The more progressive operators are definitely getting their ducks in a line.

“And there’s a lot of developers interested in dipping their toes in the market for the first time, some of them with more than 30 years’ experience in the development industry, because they can see there is huge opportunity.

“[But] many developers that want to enter into this space are probably a bit reticent because they’re worried about the complexity of it, they’re worried about the unknowns.

“The opportunities, however, far outweigh any of their concerns.

“And if you’re offering what the market wants, you’re going to be successful.”

Kirby will be a speaker at The Urban Developer Developing For An Ageing Demographic vSummit on April 28.

“The sector is continuously changing,” he said.

“You’ve got land lease communities and over-55 developments that have been moving into the traditional retirement village space.

“And, at the moment, there’s a lot of talk about integrated care in retirement living with a greater weighting on having more retirement villages and less aged care.”

Last year, a survey by benchmarking firm StewartBrown showed 58 per cent of aged care homes were operating at a loss, up from 55 per cent the previous financial year, and 32 per cent made a cash loss.

“Aged care has got some major challenges … but in the meantime there’s also the baby boomers coming through,” Kirby said.

“What I’ve seen over the last 10 years is a bit of a slide where low-care people that used to go into aged care are more likely to go into retirement villages and, equally, people that used to go into more traditional retirement villages are now probably more interested in moving into land lease communities and over-55s concepts.

“Land lease communities are growing very fast and are hugely attractive, there’s no doubt about that … but retirement villages have upped the ante enormously as well, they tend to offer much more wellness and are moving more towards the care side of things.

“Certainly, operators who are offering care in retirement villages are going from strength to strength.

“There’s an increasing amount of quality retirement villages with hotel and resort-style living and state-of-the-art amenities coming online. Pools, gyms, spas, saunas, cinemas, you name it they’ve got it. 

“But those retirement living operators that have a full continuum of care solution that’s what the market is demanding … [the boomers] know they’re going to need some support down the line so they’re planning for their future.

“It really doesn’t matter, however, whether you’re doing aged care, retirement, over-55s or land lease community … because demand is outstripping supply. There is a market for all of those and they attract very different types of buyers.”

Kirby said given Australia’s ageing demographic, the seniors and retirement market was a “much more defensive proposition” for developers.

“Just as healthcare is a defensive stock on the stock market, I think seniors living is a much more defensive play in the property sector,” he said.

“It tends to be more needs driven than what a straight-out residential property play would be.

“And so, I think if we are going to be headed towards a softer property market this is an area that can really shine because seniors will still have the wealth and will still want to move and look at downsizing opportunities.”


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Market Place

Houses still in high demand, apartment prices lag


The price growth of apartments continues to lag rocketing house prices in many suburbs across Sydney and Melbourne, with the trend showing little signs of abating.

The widening price gap between houses and units is a long-term trend driven by land scarcity in our biggest cities, with the difference tending to be widest between houses and high-rise apartments.

While house prices in Sydney’s North Ryde soared 29 per cent in the year ended March 31, unit prices in the suburb grew by a mere 6 per cent. Similarly, prices in Homebush grew 29 per cent, compared to unit price growth of just 7 per cent.

In Sydney’s Pennant Hills, house prices grew 24 per cent, while unit prices were flat, figures from CoreLogic show.

It is the same story in many parts of Melbourne, with Essendon North house prices growing by 19 per cent over the same period, while apartment prices fell by almost 1 per cent.

Houses in Melbourne’s Canterbury saw their prices jump more than 14 per cent, while units dipped 4 per cent. In inner-city Hawthorn East, houses were up 9.6 per cent, compared to a 6 per cent fall in unit prices.

Earlier analysis by CoreLogic showed more expensive property markets, particularly those close to CBDs and in areas where there are high numbers of units relative to houses, tend to have the biggest price gaps.

Eliza Owen, head of research at CoreLogic, says one of the reasons for the relative recent poor price performance of unit markets is COVID-19 related travel restrictions, including the closure of Australia’s international borders.

Demand for investment units in urbanised centres likely fell because of their high exposure to migrants and international students.

During the height of the pandemic, many units were empty, particularly in inner Melbourne.

The re-opening of international borders is seeing arrivals from overseas rising quickly, which should help to support the prices of units in both Sydney and Melbourne, she says.

However, Owen says one area of concern remains the prospect of higher mortgage interest rates, with prices of investment units more sensitive to rate movements than houses.

Many analysts expect the Reserve Bank of Australia to start increasing official interest rates this year, possible as early as June, with lenders expected to pass on any hikes in their variable rate mortgages.

Following two years of surging property prices, the big gains made over the past year appear to be over.

Sydney house prices were 0.1 per cent lower in March after being flat in February. Unit prices were 0.5 per cent lower in March and 0.3 per cent lower in February.

In Melbourne, house prices down 0.2 per cent lower in March, following flat prices February. Unit prices were 0.2 per cent higher in March and 0.1 per cent higher in February. However, those small gains came after big falls in inner-city unit property values during COVID-19 restrictions.

Coming off the back of strong annual growth, falling affordability continues to be a key factor affecting property market conditions.

A surge in the cost of living and rising rents is restricting the ability of prospective homeowners to save and borrow.

In last month’s federal budget, the government expanded the number of places available in its low-deposit scheme.

The program allows first-home buyers, and others, to buy new or existing dwellings with a deposit of only 5 per cent, instead of the usual 20 per cent that is needed to avoid paying expensive lenders’ mortgage insurance.


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Brisbane house prices leave units in the dust

Brisbane house prices

The gap between house and apartment prices in Brisbane is now the widest in at least two decades, but is set to shrink over the next 12 months as housing affordability bites and buyers choose cheaper options, Colliers says.

Colliers residential director Queensland, Andrew Roubicek, said the price difference between houses and apartments in Brisbane has reached 45 per cent compared with an average of around 20 per cent between 2003 and 2015.

Brisbane house prices further escalated with the onset on COVID-19 when people placed a higher value on privacy with interstate migration to the Sunshine State also propelling Queensland’s property market.

Property data company CoreLogic estimates that Brisbane house prices increased 32 per cent in the year ended March 31 compared with 15 per cent growth for units over the same period.

CoreLogic said house price growth is slowing faster than units and Mr Roubicek predicted that Brisbane apartment values will rise by “at least” another 15 per cent in the next 12 months.

Mr Roubicek said rising construction costs have hit the new apartment market hard and that comparable established stock costs about 25 per cent less.

“There have been several examples of new developments achieving pre-sale [targets] only to have developers refund deposits and tear up contracts because building costs escalated to a point where it was financially unviable,” he said.

“As a consequence, developers who are looking to acquire new development sites are forced to increase their projected sales prices by around 20 per cent.

“Just 18 months ago a two-bedroom apartment in Brisbane might have sold off the plan for $9000 per square metre.

“But to build that apartment today the developer would need to achieve a sale price of $11,000 per square metre for the project to stack up.”

He said as result new stock is selling slower than established units, a trend that will play out through the rest of this year.

“The market is coming to terms with those newer prices and are seeing in the short-term better value for money in the established unit market.”

He said it is a similar scenario to when GST was introduced in 2000.

“When GST came into the market overnight the cost of housing went up 10 per cent and put more demand into the established market, where the prices of stock grew and the difference between new and second hand became narrower.”

Mr Roubicek said he believed the record price gap between houses and apartments will contract through the year.

“If you believe in history, if you believe in charts, and take a long-term view you would have to think that gap is going to narrow because everyone’s talking about affordability, everyone’s talking about interest rate movements,” he said.

“Natural forces will push what would have been a buyer of a detached home back into the unit market because of affordability.”


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