Thursday, June 18, 2009

Units Gain Market Share

"Instead, many prefer the cheaper priced units and apartments, which also often are closer to the CBD. The affordability is especially a growing factor this year, as that section of the market has become the dominant force in the property market. ...
With the growing market share, units have also shown a stronger capital growth than houses in nearly every capital of the country. In Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra, units showed positive 12 month growth in median value up to February this year, compared to negative growth for house median values. ...
Another key is to make sure there is a parking spot included, something that can make a huge difference in demand, especially if the unit is in an area with few street parking opportunities. “No matter where you buy an apartment, never ever buy it without allocated parking,” says Wakelin.

What not to buy

There are, however, areas where demand is not so strong. For one, stay away from high-rise apartments, particularly in areas of overdevelopment such as the Gold Coast, the Sydney CBD or the Docklands in Melbourne, say experts.

“We find for investment purposes, high-rise apartments do not work,” says Wakelin. “They are very generic, so there’s little scarcity value with them.” Ryder agrees, saying investors should not be swayed by the magnificent views from atop beachfront high-rises in the Gold Coast. Investors should remember they won’t be living in these properties, and in the long run, they don’t show as much capital growth.

“There’s a lot of glamour in buying a high rise, but history shows it’s generally a poor investment,” says Ryder. “Put aside the emotions, and just look at the sums. You’re better off not buying something with an ocean view like in Surfer’s Paradise.”

He also says buying a used apartment is better than buying a brand new one.

“There’s a huge price differential with a new product and equivalent second-hand product,” says Ryder. “That’s simply because the cost of development is so high. The research shows there’s commonly a price difference between 30-40% between new and old apartments.”

That ultimately means for an investor that it’s harder to get capital growth out of a newer product. It might look nicer, but it will cost you in the long run. There’s also little scarcity in some areas for new product, such as the Gold Coast, where new apartments have been built without abandon. And once its no longer new, you actually lose that tag and that value.

“There’s a lot of risk in committing to buy something now and paying two years later, whereas the market can go in the wrong direction in that time,” says Ryder. “Plus developers tend to build that (expected value growth) into today’s prices these days.”


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