Monday, August 31, 2009

Solid Gains in July 2009

Over the first seven months of the year Australian home values increased across every capital city, rising by 5.9 percent nationally.

Combined Brisbane house and apartment values up 3.8% to $437,175 for first 7 months of 2009

Brisbane Apartments were high performing, and outperformed Brisbane houses.

Brisbane Units - days on market = 26 days (almost the best in the nation)

Brisbane Units - 7 months to end of July increase - up 6.25%

Brisbane Units - 12 month Year on Year increase (at end of July) - up 6.58%

Brisbane Units - July 09 increase - up 3.26%

Based on Australia’s largest property database, owned by which includes roughly 145,000 sales for the first seven months of 2009, Australia’s housing recovery has continued in the month of July with solid across-the-board capital gains.

According to the market respected RP Data-Rismark Home Value Index, Australian home values rose by +0.9 percent in the month of July 2009. This brings total capital growth in the first seven months of 2009 to 5.9 percent.

Underpinned by historically low mortgage rates and only small rises in unemployment, Australian home values have now risen 1.8 percent past their February 2008 peak. national research director Tim Lawless, said, “Not only has Australia’s residential property market outperformed the other major western markets, it has also provided superior returns compared to shares, commercial property, superannuation, hedge funds and private equities. Australia’s residential market has been further supported by low mortgage default rates, at just 0.6 percent, compared with 5 percent in the US and 3 percent in the UK.”

“Every mainland capital city has experienced solid growth during the first seven months of the year. “ Mr Lawless said.

Property Blog

A good property Blog, written by Chris Joye from Rismark.

Oaks 08/09 Results

Oaks Hotels & Resorts Ltd net profit was down 33.3% to $9.8 million in the year to June 30, 2009, on revenue up 11.5% to $120.9 million.

  • 38 properties under management
  • 4,788 serviced rooms under management (12% increase over last FY)
  • occupancy rate down 2.11% to 84.38 for CBD properties
  • average room rate $151 for CBD properties
  • new central reservations team -- I wonder what owners are being charged for this?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

From Devine's Report

French Quarter in Alice Street Brisbane

"Continuing to progress the submission of an application for a development approval for this exciting future redevelopment opportunity."

Hamilton Harbour

"Excellent market response to the first stage of the “Hamilton Harbour” residential development"

"Development approval now received and marketing of first stage of residential commenced March 2009. First stage 86% sold."

"Strong pre-sales of residential units in Hamilton Harbour stage 1 with 86% of 257 units now sold. (This project is also a JV with Leighton Properties)"

Commencement Dec Qtr 2009
Est. Completion Staged development over approximately 5 years


Brisbane House Prices Still Falling

Professor Chris Eves, who led the study, said the team tracked high value areas, middle value and establishing suburbs.

"The bottom line is that the market is still declining, and the number of homebuyers has not increased according to expectations in relation to the improving economy," he said.

"Our view is that we haven't seen the worst of the decline yet, and property figures in all areas will remain in decline while the unemployment figures are still rising.

"The most significant decline in weekly property listings for sale in the period from February to May was in the middle-value suburbs, which have seen a 17.7 per cent decrease in weekly listings over the past six months."


FKP Slow to Start Construction

"FOUR years after Transit Oriented Developments were touted as key to housing thousands of people around transport hubs, building is yet to start on any.

Instead projects designed to create a self-contained living, working and leisure environment in Brisbane have been blocked by red tape, rising headworks charges, financing issues and business woes.

It's not that the concept has no appeal. FKP's The Mill project in the inner northern Brisbane suburb of Albion has had strong pre-sales. But in light of changing market conditions, FKP is still awaiting approval after reconfiguring some plans.

The company has also spent years developing plans for another TOD over the railway station at Milton, in the city's inner west, and has revised plans awaiting approval from the Brisbane City Council.

But without approvals in place yet there is no certainty as to when construction will start."

Courier Mail

Could This Be Happening Here?

Investor Sentiment - Still Not at the Bottom

"Colliers International’s Investor Sentiment Survey reveals bottom of property cycle now imminent with upswing
predicted to be well underway by 2010. Property investors around the country believe Australia is now approaching the upswing point of the property cycle with the majority of investors believing the industry is currently between 4:00 and 6:00 on the property cycle clock (where 6:00 is considered bottom). This was the major finding of the inaugural National Investor Sentiment Survey conducted by Colliers International. Colliers International surveyed institutional and private clients across Australia to attain their sentiment on the current climate of Australia’s property market, and their views on the next 12 months. The investment calibre of respondents was exceptionally high with 42 percent stating the value of their portfolio was greater than $AUD1 billion. Felice Spark, Director of Commercial Research at Colliers International says the majority of investors believe we are now fast approaching, if not already at the bottom of the cycle, poised for upswing. “36 percent of investors surveyed believe Australia is currently at 5:00 on the property clock with a further 36 percent identifying either 4:00 or 6:00.”
Summary of key findings:
• 72% of investors believe we are between 4:00 and 6:00 on the Property Cycle Clock, poised for upswing
• Residential sector is the standout with values holding steady or possibly growing
• 63% said they were looking to buy property in Australia within the next 12 months"
Source: Colliers
So based on this survey, more than 60% of property investors think that things are going to get worse before they get better.

West End Residents Upset

" West End Riverside residents are fighting Brisbane City Council proposals to turn the former industrial area into a concrete jungle. Secretary of Regatta Apartments body corporate committee Paul Rees said residents of the new Riverside apartment buildings were stunned at learning the Council’s draft neighbourhood plan would allow 12 storey buildings in the area, when the current plan provides for seven storeys, while elsewhere in West End, 30 storey high rise buildings will be allowed.

“What Council is proposing is outrageous,” Mr Rees said. “The draft neighbourhood plan is a plan to wreck our neighbourhood.”

“It’s horrifying that the Council is planning to wreck the heart of West End, with five storey buildings planned for Boundary Street, Vulture Street and Jane Street, and 15 storey buildings on Mollison Street. This may mean windfall profits for the Council’s developer mates but it’s local people and the wider Brisbane community that has to pay.”

Riverside residents from the seven new apartment complexes, as well as residents from “old” West End, will meet at the Big Lizard in Boundary Street at 12.30pm on Saturday before walking en masse to the Council’s community consultation session at the Kurilpa Senior Citizens hall.

“New and old residents alike want to see the old industrial areas redeveloped but it has to be on a human-scale which protects West End’s village atmosphere,” Mr Rees said.

“Residents have made this clear to the Council through countless community consultations but the plan they’ve come up with ignores this input and betrays the community. It appears Council wants to crowd more than 25,000 extra people into the area – the equivalent of the population of Gympie. We want a vibrant, liveable, sustainable community and what they are trying to foist on West End will create concrete canyons, wind tunnels, overcrowding and alienation."


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Recent Brisbane Apartment Sales

  • Admiralty Quays, Apt 164: 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 cars - $2,200,000
  • Admiralty Quays, Apt 90: 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1 car - $580,000
  • 212 Margaret Street, Apt 47, 2 bed, 1 bath, 1 car - $465,000
  • Willahra Towers, Apt 26, 2 bed, 2 bath, 1 car (76m2 internal, 36m2 external. Total area 112m2; white-goods included) - $435,000
  • Parklands 3, Apt 4073: 1 bed, 1 bath, 1 car - $365,000
  • Charlotte Towers, Apt 2305: 1 bed, 1 bath, 1 car - $354,000
  • Casino Towers, Apt 3304: 1 bed, 1 bath, 1 car - $339,998
  • River City, Apt 1005: 1 bedroom, no car, view straight into neighbouring building - $305,000

Sales in Felix

2 bedrooms:

  • Floor 36, Apt 361 - $430,000 (April 2009)
  • Floor 35, Apt 356 - $490,000 (January 2009)
  • Floor 35, Apt 355 - $420,000 (October 2008)
  • Floor 34, Apt 342 - $495,000 (October 2008)
  • Floor 32, Apt 325 - $430,000 (March 2009)
  • Floor 32, Apt 322 - $487,000 (February 2009)
  • Floor 31, Apt 314 - $460,000 (June 2009)
  • Floor 29, Apt 294 - $424,000 (September 2008)
  • Floor 27, Apt 272 - $491,000 (May 2009)
  • Floor 25, Apt 256 - $522,000 (August 2008)
  • Floor 24, Apt 245 - $415,000 (July 2008)
  • Floor 24, Apt 246 - $500,000 (October 2008)
  • Floor 22, Apt 225 - $420,000 (September 2008)
  • Floor 21, Apt 217 - $485,000 (Feb 2009)
  • Floor 20, Apt 204 - $440,000 (Dec 2008)
  • Floor 17, Apt 173 - $480,000 (August 2008)
  • Floor 17, Apt 176 - $497,000 (July 2008)
  • Floor 16, Apt 163 - $476,500 (Sept 2008)
  • Floor 14, Apt 144 - $421,500 (Sept 2008)
  • Floor 13, Apt 133 - $465,000 (Sept 2008)
  • Floor 13, Apt 136 - $462,000 (Nov 2008)
  • Floor 11, Apt 113 - $485,000 (Jan 2009)
  • Floor 10, Apt 103 - $475,000 (Oct 2008
1 bedroom:
  • Floor 29, Apt 291 - $340,000 (Sept 2008)
  • Floor 24, Apt 248 - $333,000 (March 2009)
  • Floor 18, Apt 188 - $335,000 (Dec 2008)
Apartment numbers ending in 1 and 8 are Plan B - 51 sqm internal
Apartments ending in 2 and 7 are Plan D - 77 sqm internal
Apartments ending in 3 and 6 are Plan E - 82 sqm internal
Apartments ending in 4 and 5 are Plan C - 62 sqm internal
Some floors have different configurations to this plan, including different sized balconies.


Photos of the Admiralty apartment precinct, on the Brisbane River. From left to right, the apartment buildings are Admiralty Towers Two, Admiralty One, Admiralty Quays and River Place. Note that Skyline and Macrossan are not river front building. Skyline is the gray building behind Admiralty One. Macrossan is still under construction behind Skyline and cannot be seen.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

El Dorado Indooroopilly Update

"Thank you for your enquiry on apartments at the El Dorado Village. We are re launching the project on the 1st of September."

New Apartment Sales in Brisbane

Property market indicators including the "Colliers International Brisbane Apartment Report" indicate that the market for new units is stabilising in the Queensland capital. The report reveals that 207 new units were sold in Brisbane in the June 2009 quarter, up from 87 in the preceding three months

200 Apartments Sold At Hamilton Harbour

"After launching the first residential offering in early March, Hamilton Harbour joint-venture partners Leighton Properties and Devine have achieved their first major milestone – achieving 200 sales.

Selling out more than $100 million worth of apartments in just over four months is a triumph for the developers, which have attributed strong sales to the developments’ Hamilton location.

Devine National Marketing Director Ken Woodley says more than 80 percent of buyers are from Brisbane."

Construction has not yet commenced.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tennyson Reach Auctions

Two apartments went to auction today at Mirvac's Tennyson Reach. Both were 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment on level 3. They have river and mangrove views.
See Apt 4108 listing and Apt 3205 listing.
For both apartments, there were no bids. Passed in.
This does not bode well for Tennyson Reach. So far, there have been no resales, even though there are about 30 apartments listed for resale. In addition, from what I can determine, between 15 and 20 apartments failed to settle.
When compared with similar quality apartments located in inner city areas, I would say these apartments are worth less than a million, but I am not a valuer. I suspect that the owners (who paid more than $1.3M) will take a bath if they sell.
A warning against buying of the plan during a boom.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Vision - Austcorp

Austcorp, the group that was developing the Vision building in Brisbane, is in administration. You can follow the status of the administration here:
It seems that we will find out at the end of September what happens next.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Finding a Good Apartment to Rent in Brisbane


Even though the vacancy rate is increasing in Brisbane, many of the good apartments for rent are hard to find. Often, this is because the existing tenant does not leave, and when they do become available, are snapped up quickly. For the better buildings, a large percentage of the apartments are occupied by the owner, and so are not rented out. Also, onsite managers often control the rental rolls, and don't often advertise on the usual property websites (as they don't need to do so). Some have their own website. Also, onsite managers may have a relationship with executive relocation services, that are fed the better apartments.

At one time, a good specialist website for apartments was However, it seems that some buildings are not using this site anymore, or are not bothering to update their listing on this site. So, although useful, it is less useful.

The largest number of listings are located on, but a number of onsite managers do not use this website.

You have to find out how each manager advertises his/her vacancy.

Generally, you want to avoid any buildings managed by Oaks, as they focus on short term hotel style rentals.

Also, look at the posts and links on this blog. This website has a list of most city apartment buildings, with useful information and links about them. Also, try this customized search engine.

Inner City Brisbane:

I recommend Arbour on Grey at SouthBank:

Also, Saville at SouthBank is one of the nicest buildings if you get a river facing apartment: The best thing to do here is call, because the website is not updated regularly. Telephone 07 3305 2559

If you want to live downtown, then I recommend the Admiralty Precinct. This comprises three first-tier buildings (Admiralty One, Admiralty Two and Admiralty Quays), plus River Place (good location, not as good quality) and Skyline (second tier).

Admiralty One is good value, and has some of the largest two bedroom apartments in Brisbane -

Admiralty Two also has good sized apartments, and the building has great facilities.

Admiralty Quays is newer, and has a great pool, but the apartments are smaller. and it is more expensive.

Nearby on the river in the city is River Place, that is not as good quality, but is likely to have availability as this is a large complex. Careful of Storey Bridge noise. Great views.

On Alice Street in the city, if you can get an apartment in Quay West, that is fantastic, as it has park and river views -- for long term rentals, the best agent to try is Blockside & Fergerson for this building. Half of this building is a hotel managed, so it is easy to get short term accommodation in Quay West. All apartments are privately owned. You want to get above level 7.

For an inner city downtown building, Metro 21 is one of the better quality buildings. It has only 4 apartments per floor -- and tries to be more upmarket so is better than most buildings that aim at students -- it seems to have better availability, and some of the two bedroom apartments have three bathrooms. The baloneys are large:

Apartments in Suburbs

The suburbs that I recommend, due to location, transport and large number of better quality apartments, are Toowong, St Lucia, Taringa, Indooroopilly and possibly Milton and Hamilton. I don't recommend Chermside.

The newest complex in the Toowong / Taringa area is Fresh. This complex has two pools, a gym and great gardens.

Next door to Fresh is Encore, which is a relatively nice complex, with good pricing (but not as nice as Fresh, and some of the apartments are small).

St Lucia is harder to find quality -- there are few onsite managers. So you have to try local real estate agents, such as Ray White (who also has listings in Fresh).

In Indooroopilly, there has been recent construction, so there are a number of new, quality buildings. My two picks are Riva and Ciana.

Riva has apartments with great river views. It is a quiet building, with a pool, and is close to the train station and Indooroopilly Shopping Centre

Ciana is a larger new complex, in a central location, with many large apartments. There is a pool and gym, plus a bowls club!

If you want an apartment complex that feels more suburban, then Parklands at Sherwood is a great choice. Many apartments have park/rural views, and there is a great pool and bbq area

Nearby is Tennyson Reach, where you can get a large new apartment on the river. This is a new complex, but (apart from river views) not a great location.

This is a list by a selling agent about various inner city buildings:

Differences in Value Between Apartments in the Same Building

Usually, it is relatively easy to determine a value or price range for an apartment in a high rise building. This is because there are often a number of sales a year in the same building, and so if you can find an apartment with a similar floor plan that has sold (e.g., an apartment in the same line), that gives you a good starting point. Then, you can look at the difference in floor levels, and determine how the value is different.

For new apartments, developers use a rule of thumb, that says going up a floor is worth another $5,000 or $10,000 per floor. This doesn't seem to hold true for existing buildings, where there is little difference in value between an apartment on level 20 and the same apartment on level 23 (for example). What is more important is the actual view. A lower apartment may not clear another building, and a higher apartment may have a river view. Often, the price jumps at a certain floor, because the view is dramatically better for apartments at that floor and above.

A car park in downtown Brisbane adds about $60,000 to $70,000 compared with an apartment without a car park.

Also, sometimes an apartment is sold furnished, and that cannot be seen from prior sale records. (Furniture usually doesn't add much to the sales price - often only $5,000 or so.)

What is often missed by purchasers (and some valuers) is that some apartments in a building may have access to special amenities, that other apartments cannot access. A good example is the Admiralty Two building. This building has a high rise section and a low rise section. The high rise apartments have access to a swimming pool and gym on the top floor, as well as a roof deck. Both the high rise apartments and low rise apartments can access the pool and gym on the lower level. So an apartment on level 32 has access to facilities that the same style apartment on level 20 cannot access. Often this benefit is overlooked.

Photos on this page show the exclusive use areas for Admiralty Two in Brisbane - use for the apartments in the high rise section only.

Developer Abandons Project -- Risks for Off The Plan purchasers

"PROLIFIC Kirra developer, the Pikos Group, has moved to sell its Pure tower development site in the southern suburb to focus on projects in Darwin....

Pedro Pikos said the group had intended to start work on the 13-storey project in July after selling 14 of the tower's 33 apartments for an estimated $20 million."


There are a number of people who have paid deposits for apartments in Vision and Trilogy, and are wondering if they will ever see their apartment. Their deposit may be tied up for years.

Population Trends

A useful site for population statistics and estimated population growth projections.
It has each area's projected population by age for each year.
For example, Inner Brisbane City is projected to grow from 3422 in 2007 to 7599 in 2019.
Indooroopilly for the same period will grow from 11,274 to 12,493.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Recent Sales

1/20 Anthony Street, West End - Tempo Terrace House - 3 bed, 2 bath, 2 car, 2 floors - $740,000

8/53 Whitmore St, Taringa - 3 bedrooms - $500,000

603/347 Ann Street - Lexicon - 1 bed, no car, $320,000

206/229 Queen Street - MacArthur Chambers - 2 bed, 2 bath, 1 car, 82sqm - $520,000

Poor returns at Mirvac's Tennyson Reach

I pity the investors who purchased an apartment at Mirvac's Tennyson Reach. The returns are terrible. The quality and size of the apartments are great. There are magnificent river views from most apartments. But the location is pretty terrible. There is no neigbourhood. The tennis centre is very industrial.

As previously reported, Mirvac has sued at least 10 purchasers who did not settle. Valuations for some apartments came in $200,000 or more under contract price. It will be hard for an original buyer to resell without making a loss. There are about 30 apartments listed for resale at present.

As at mid July 2009, there were 23 apartments listed for rent by the onsite manager. There are over 40 rental listings on Rents for unfurnished apartments are:
  • 2 bedrooms: $500 to $600 per week
  • 3 bedrooms: most in the $700 to $790 per week range, although one is listed at $590 per week and another at $600 per week
So let's compare with Parklands at Sherwood. The Parklands apartments don't have river views, and are smaller than Tennyson. But the location is better, and the pool area is superior.

Tennyson - 2 bedroom sold for $990,000 and rents for $500 per week
Parklands - 2 bedroom sold for $495,000 and rents for $450 per week

Tennyson - 3 bedroom sold for $1,400,000 and rents for $720 per week
Parklands - 3 bedroom sold for $700,000 and rents for $570 per week

The Tennyson apartments are double in price, but the rent is not.

RP Data Rismark Update June 2009

"Brisbane Brisbane’s housing market has been relatively subdued in comparison with Sydney and Melbourne. Home values are up just 1.4 percent over the first half of the year compared to the national increase of 4.5 percent. Despite the fact that South East Queensland remains the population growth epicentre of Australia and the city is home to some of the largest infrastructure projects in the nation, growth in home prices has been relatively subdued. Market conditions are improving, however, with houses and units taking just 29 days and 27 days respectively to sell. Brisbane’s unit values, at $337,003, are the most affordable of any mainland capital city providing a very strong value proposition to potential buyers."
RP Data

Oaks "Hotels"

If you are thinking of buying or renting in an apartment managed by Oaks, then you should read the online reviews written by people staying in the building, who are short stay "hotel" guests. The problem with Oaks buildings is that they were built as cheap apartment buildings (not as hotels) but a large number of rooms are rented out (often for a night at a time, via Wotif) to people who think they are staying in a hotel. Thus, both residents and "hotel" guests are often not happy.

Example Reviews:
212 Margaret
Festival Towers
Casino Towers
Charlotte Towers
River City

Similar issues for M on Mary.