Saturday, March 28, 2009

Grey Street South Bank

The Brisbane Convention Centre is upgrading and rebuilding on Grey Street at South Bank.

See this video.

This can only improve the values of apartments in South Bank.

Brisbane Apartment Prices to Grow

Real-estate experts are anticipating unit sales will outperform houses throughout 2009, with first-home buyers expected to be the market's driving force.
Brisbane Times

Best Buys for Brisbane Suburban Apartments

I have looked around this weekend, and these apartments seem to be good buys:
  • Ciana at Indooroopilly has about 15 new apartments left for sale from developer. Three bedroom apartment for less than $565,000; large two bedroom apartments from $485,000 to $600,000.
  • Parklands Sherwood - large two bedroom with 2 cars and views $535,000
  • Fresh Toowong - large new 2 bedroom garden apartment at $520,000
  • El Dorado off the plan: 2 bedroom apartments less than $600,000
  • Precinct Toowong - mid size furnished two bedroom listed at $529,000
  • Encore Toowong - 1 bedroom garden apartment listed at $339,000
There is also Tennyson Reach, where off the plan purchasers are trying to sell 2 bedroom apartments for $1,200,000 and three bedrooms from $1.6M. Ouch!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Recent Apartment Sales in Brisbane City

Skyline - Apartment 344 - Level 34 - Two bedrooms - $600,000 (highest bid, did not sell, relisted at $650,000 and did not sell. Current owner paid $695,000)
Aurora - Apartment 439 - Level 43 - Two bedrooms - $460,000
Club Lodge - Apartment 51 - Two beds, two cars - $440,000
Vue - Apartment 2409 - Two beds - $445,000
River City - Apartment 3802 - Two beds - $403,220
Flow West End - Apartment 80 - Four beds - failed to sell at auction

Rive Apartments Hamilton

If you have thinking of buying in Hamilton Harbour, have a look at Rive Apartments first. Similar location, larger apartments, and a lower price.

See also

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Harbour One Launch!

Ken Woodley, the Marketing Director for Devine, left the Harbour One sales office in Hamilton this afternoon with a big smile on his face. As he drove back to his large apartment in the Mirvac Quay West building in Brisbane, he was no doubt thinking about the 85 apartments that his team "sold" by way of expression of interest over the past two weeks in the Hamilton Harbour development.

The glossy brochure for Hamilton Harbour given out at the sales office is very impressive. You can feel the quality in the brochure. It is a shame that the brochure is misleading. There are nice PhotoShopped photos (i.e., fake photos) that show happy people on balconys with impressive river views. However, no apartment in Harbour One will have a balcony with the designs shown in the brochure, and the views will not be anywhere near as impressive (because there are buildings between Harbour One and the river.) And is it correct to say "Waterside Living" for a building on Kingsford Smith Drive that is two blocks back from the river with no direct river views?

The apartments with the best views face West, which is not great in a Brisbane summer.

The apartments are small and expensive. There are only three elevators for 238 apartments! There is no gym included -- you can join a commercial gym being built on the site. The living areas for most apartments have popcorn ceilings with oyster lights -- not the highest quality. Many one bed apartments do not have a car park. And a number of the one bed apartments do not even have a laundry -- not even a cupboard with a washing machine or dryer.

Type A One bedroom
41 sqm internal, 50 sqm total
No river views.
No car park.
No laundry.
Kitchen is a strip of cupboards in living room.
No room for dining table inside -- plan shows dining table on balcony.
Sliding doors to bedroom.
Price range - $295,000 to $385,000.
Price per square metre for most expensive of this design - $7,700
But if you add $50,000 for lack of carpark, then price per square metre is $8,300.

Type C One bedroom plus "extended living space"
54 sqm internal, 64 sqm total
Potential river views.
Kitchen is a strip of cupboards in entry way.
No room for dining table inside -- plan shows dining table on balcony.
No bath - shower only.
Price range - $405,000 to $495,000.
Example: Level 7 apartment is $430,000
Price per square metre for most expensive of this design - $7,734

Type E Two bedroom
73 sqm internal, 84 sqm total
Potential river views.
Second bedroom not near second bathroom
Both bedrooms at front
Price range - $555,000 to $695,000.
Example: Level 10 - $640,000
Price per square metre for most expensive of this design - $8,273

Type F Two bedroom
84 sqm internal, 98 sqm total
Largest two bed apartment
End apartment.
Potential river views.
Excellent glass-fronted wall to ceiling living space -- should give this apartment a wow factor!
Bedrooms at side or back -- second bedroom looks into blank wall.
Price range - $605,000 to $805,000.
Examples: Level 10 - $690,000; Level 12 - $745,000
Price per square metre for most expensive of this design - $8,214

It would be interesting to track re-sales in the recent Devine Charlotte Towers, to see if the apartments were priced too high when sold off-the-plan.

According to REIQ, the medium Hamilton apartment price for December Qtr 2008 was $415,000, which is down 11.6% on the previous quarter. Buying an existing apartment may be better value, or even Portside. For example, a two bedroom apartment in Admiralty Two, with direct river views and absolute river front, can be purchased for less than $650,000 (106 sqm) and is less than $6,000 per sqm. A one bedroom in Quay West, where Ken Woodley lives, is about 74 sqm, includes a car park, and is about $440,000 (less than $6,000 per sqm).

Friday, March 13, 2009

Gold Coast Still Not Golden

Queensland development group Pikos Group has announced it will slash prices by 25 percent, or up to $600,000, on all beachfront apartments in its three Gold Coast projects so it can keep its staff and contractors employed and pursue further beachfront acquisition opportunities.

The Brisbane-based company, headed by Pedro Pikos, has responded to the property market slowdown by discounting prices on all remaining stock. Source

REIQ Apartment Price Report for Brisbane - Dec Qtr 2008

As house prices escalated, units and townhouses were the most affordable – and often the only – option for first home buyers. But with the $14,000 and $21,000 boost monies now available, many first-time buyers can now afford to buy a modest house instead.

“This trend, plus investors not yet comprehensively returning to the market, means the unit and townhouse market has been affected by lower overall demand in the December quarter. Over the year, however, most areas recorded steady price growth,” REIQ chairman Peter McGrath said.

Brisbane City - Median December 08 Qtr - $460,000, with 2.2% increase over the Dec 07 results.
Indooroopilly - Median December 08 Qtr - $375,000, with 6.6% increase over the Dec 07 results.
Taringa - Median December 08 Qtr - $365,000, with 10.4% increase over the Dec 07 results.
Toowong - Median December 08 Qtr - $342,500, with 14.9% increase over the Dec 07 results.
West End - Median December 08 Qtr - $524,000, with 7.9% increase over the Dec 07 results.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

French Quarter - Site Plan

Devine is proceeding with the French Quarter development, on Albert, Alice and Margaret Streets in Brisbane. Devine has applied for Council approval for a commercial tower (tower 3) at 111 Margaret Street.

Gold Coast:: Heading Up or Down?

A recent story in the Gold Coast Bulletin, which seems to try only to have positive stories about Gold Coast real estate, states:

"New apartment sales slumped during the December, 2008 quarter with just 77 unconditional transactions taking place for a total of $62.6 million, according to Colliers' latest Gold Coast Apartment Report. The figure was the second lowest on record since the research was first compiled in December 1996.

The research found sales in the December 2008 quarter, dropped significantly from the two previous periods, with 121 sales recorded in the September quarter and 448 sales in the June quarter. It was the worst quarter on record since December 2000, when 74 sales were recorded for a total of just $28.5 million. In the past two years, the number of sales per quarter has averaged 356. The report found the level of stock had also increased, with 2259 new apartments now available for sale, approaching the record figure of 2574 available in June 2007."

The story is titled "The only way is up for unit sales" and the remainder of the story rationalizes why this is the bottom of the market on the Gold Coast, and why it will get better for the remainder of this year. I disagree. My view is that the Gold Coast apartment market is still overpriced, and will see a significant decrease in price over the next 9 months.

Soleil Tower Price List

Prices as at 9th Feb 2009
All apartments for sale start from level 31

One Bedroom apartments priced from $346,000
Two Bedroom apartments priced from $489,000
Two Bedroom plus study apartments from $529,000
Three Bedroom apartments priced from $774,000

Expected settlement at the end of 2011.

Water's Edge Progressing But Slowly

Pradella reports as follows:
"Waters Edge has received a fantastic response since its October launch late last year and has now achieved 50 sales in total to date. Despite the uncertain times, investors are regaining confidence and returning to the property market. Waters Edge, located on the river at West End, is testament to this with 2 apartments sold within the last week, with a further 3 expressions of interest obtained."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Resort Corp

Resort Corp, which is developing the Quay West Noosa Resort, has gone bust.

The Australian

Coastal Apartment or Working Class House?

"There are few more iconic sea-change destinations than the Gold Coast, which has earned a reputation as the king of population growth in Australia.

But it's a long way short of being the king of capital growth.

Capital growth on the Gold Coast over the past five years has been half that achieved next door in downmarket Logan City, according to Real Estate Institute of Queensland figures.

The Moreton Bay region, a municipality that encompasses cheap mortgage-belt suburbs in Brisbane's north, has achieved considerably higher capital growth than the Sunshine Coast next door.

Within the Sunshine Coast municipality, the market leaders on capital growth are the railway towns in the hinterland (such as Beerwah and Landsborough), not the sexy coastal locations Noosa and Mooloolaba."

See Terry Ryder

Hamilton Harbour Floor Plans

Devine has released floor plans for Hamilton Harbour.

The apartments are small.
Example one bed sizes are:
  • 41 sqm internal, 50 sqm in total
  • 45 sqm internal, 53 sqm in total
  • 54 sqm internal, 64 sqm in total (see plan above).
Example two bed two bath sizes are:
  • 73 sqm internal, 84 sqm in total
  • 74 sqm internal, 90 sqm in total
  • 84 sqm internal, 98 sqm in total (see plan above).
All have fully ducted air conditioning. There appears to be 22 levels of apartments, with about 12 apartments per floor.

"The residential buildings Harbour One and Harbour Two are each placed to take best advantage of river views. While being 22 and 19 storeys respectively, the buildings make a deliberate effort to present architecturally appealing building facades to the nearby neighbourhood while providing occupants with the best available living environment within the apartments."