Monday, September 28, 2009

Overcrowding and Illegal Use of Apartments as Short Term Accomodation

A reader, Ruth Bonnett, sent me this:

"I am thankful that our Local Councillor, David Hinchliffe has brought this overcrowding problem to the surface.

Sunday Mail Article

Have any of you noticed overcrowding in your buildings? Are you concerned about the increase in costs to all owners?

Surely there is something Local Council “Can Do”? Can our State Government help?"

The Bottom Has Passed?

"Australia's top institutional and private investors believe the nation is well and truly past the bottom of the property cycle and now heading towards upswing, according to new survey findings released by Colliers International.

The second Colliers International Investor Sentiment Survey, conducted late last month, has shown investors around the country believe that if the property cycle were a clock, with the top of the market at 12 o'clock and the bottom at 6 o'clock, Australia moved upwards to 7 o'clock in Q3-09, after the majority of investors believed the same clock sat at 5 o'clock when they were first surveyed in May for Q2-09. ...

The majority of investors, at 52 per cent, believe Australia is not only past the bottom of the property cycle, but 64% also believe the upswing will occur earlier than indicated in the first survey - by Q2/Q3 2010 or even earlier, instead of in Q4 2010. ...

When asked how they would describe their property investment strategy over the next 12 months, the majority of investors, almost half at 49 per cent, identified they were heading into growth mode, with 43 per cent in defend mode or holding steady. Only 8 per cent were expecting to contract holdings.

Investors also signalled the green light to purchase property is now definitely on. 69 per cent now expect to buy property in Australia over the next 12 months, up from 63 per cent in May. Investors also expect it will become easier to buy property with 47 per cent believing access to debt capital will become easier in the next 12 months, versus just 20 per cent in the May survey.

Most investors, at 45 per cent, are looking to buy office property, with the top 5 buy markets identified as Sydney Office (20 per cent), Melbourne Office (15 per cent), Sydney Residential (7 per cent), Melbourne Residential (6 per cent) and Sydney Industrial (6 per cent). ...

Residential was again the standout property sector with the majority of investors believing values had only declined by 1 to 10 per cent since the peak of the market, while 16 per cent believed residential values hadn't changed at all, or even witnessed some growth. The majority of investors believe there will be no further softening to residential values and 8 per cent believe there will now be growth."

Gabba Central

A reader sent me this comment, that I post without editing:


Don't buy these apartments. In August 2008 there were about 50 unsold apartments, out of 154 apartments in Stage 2 (i.e. Towers 3 & 4). Developer went 'broke' because they wanted to wash all the problems here off their hands. Now the developer's company is still under receivership, and there are still about 30 apartments unsold.

I am an owner (first hand) and have been living here for more than a year. Body Corporate has spent heaps of money fixing building defect (including external walls cracking, plumbing failure resulting in apartments flooded - thank god not mine).

Today the glass of a glass door between my bedroom and the balcony shattered by itself suddenly and without any prior warning! Had to get a glazier in to do urgent replacement and I don't know whether the cost would be covered by Body Corporate's building insurance."

Friday, September 18, 2009

No French Quarter for Brisbane

Devine is not proceeding with its French Quarter hotel and apartment project in Alice Street. The site was listed for sale in yesterday's AFR.

See also The Australian

Also, Story in the Courier Mail:

Twin tower plans for Brisbane axed by Devine
Michelle Hele | September 17, 2009 12:00am | CM

ANOTHER residential tower project has fallen over in the Brisbane CBD, with Devine pulling out of its $1 billion French Quarter development. An international competition was held to pick its designer and it was to house the most expensive apartments in Brisbane – up to $15 million.

Devine spent years buying up individual apartments in buildings which are currently on the land so it could control the site on the corner of Albert, Alice and Margaret streets. Stage one was to feature a tower with a luxury six-star hotel, with apartments on top, retail and commercial space on the lower levels and Parisian-style cafes and walkways.

But with Devine appointing agents to sell the property it seems unlikely it will ever be delivered.

Meanwhile, Austcorp's Vision Tower is still in limbo with no work carried out for months and some of the group's companies in the hands of voluntary administrators.

Work is also delayed on Trilogy Tower, an $800 million project on the site of the former Red Cross Blood Bank, and Metacap scrapped plans for its $500 million Empire Square tower on Elizabeth St.

Geoff McIntyre of Jones Lang LaSalle and Rick Bird of Ray White Transact have been appointed to sell the French Quarter site and will market the property internationally. Mr McIntyre said it was a one-in-a-million site. Mr Bird spent months negotiating the individual purchase of units in the apartment blocks. The agents said the plan was to sell the property to another party which would go ahead with the project.

Devine managing director David Devine said he was disappointed but after a review of operations the company realised house and land packages were providing a better short-term return at lower risk. The group was also reviewing its land holdings in Queensland and would sell some soon.

Mr Devine said the focus now would be on buying more land in Victoria so the group could turn it into profits quickly.

"You can't do everything that you want to do," he said. "It is disappointing but the fact is that our business is exceptionally good on the house and land front where demand is high and supply is low. We have too much land in some areas in Queensland and we are looking at selling that."

Mr Devine said good sites such as the French Quarter site would sell in any market. Offers to purchase French Quarter close on November 12. Mr McIntyre said in a good market the site could make up to $90 million. Mr Bird said with all the work that had gone into planning, a developer would have a significant head start on the project.

Auction Comment - Ray White CBD

"... last night at our Gala Auction event at the Greek Club, 22 properties went under the hammer for sale and again a large crowd was in attendance and there was great energy in the room. Over 60 buyers registered to bid and there was good bidding throughout the night but it was hard work. The first home buyer market has grown smaller as many have now already bought and the first home buyers grant has now been reduced.

Still we had some great results with 9 properties selling under the hammer at auction and a further 3 sold straight after the auctions."

Colliers Sentiment Survey Results

See Podcast for the results of Collier's national property sentiment survey.

For Landlords, January is the best time to find a tenant

Double Click on the above chart, from Pro Rentals

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Yungaba at Kangaroo Point

DEVELOPER Australand will this month begin marketing its $160 million Brisbane apartment development -- to be built on the heritage-listed site where the city's first immigrants arrived in 1887.

The 167 apartments are planned for the Yungaba House site at Kangaroo Point, an exclusive pocket of inner-city real estate on the banks of the Brisbane River.

The development, which has been hotly opposed by the Yungaba Action Group, involves three new apartment buildings as well as the conversion of historic Yungaba House immigration centre into 10 luxury residences. According to selling agents Colliers International, this month's scheduled release of off-the-plan apartments comes at a time of huge pent-up demand from buyers.

"In a Brisbane market paralysed by the credit crunch, buyers have had very limited off-the-plan options," said residential director Ben Langfield said.

"The launch of Yungaba comes at a time when buyers are crying out for a slice of inner-city living."

Built in 1887 as an immigration reception centre, Yungaba accepted its first six residents at the end of that year from the migrant ship the Duke of Buccleuch. Australand Queensland general manager Nigel Edgar said the project, which included the construction of a public multicultural centre, would unlock lost heritage and give residents an opportunity to live in one of Brisbane's most exclusive inner-city areas.

However, Australand's plans have not impressed the Yungaba Action Group, which says the planned multicultural centre is not an acceptable substitute for a building that was the gateway to Queensland.

The Kangaroo Point development, on a 1.9ha site bought by Australand in 2003, will be a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments as well as double-storey sky homes.

The Australian

Prices range from $410,000 for a 77sqm one bedroom to $2.2M for a 286sqm three bedroom apartment.

Live Next Door to the President

The house at 5040 South Greenwood Avenue, next door to the Obama family's residence, hit the Chicago real estate market over the weekend and caused quite a stir.

NY Times article

Sunday, September 13, 2009


"There is the very real prospect that urban planners will have to manage the development of three Australian mega-regions (Sydney, Melbourne, southeast Queensland) each rising to between five and seven million by century's end."

Salt in The Australian

Onsite or Offsite Real Estate Agent?

Friday, September 11, 2009

REIQ June 2009 Report

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Trilogy Tower Update

Website says that settlement now due in 2013.
"Due for occupation in 2013, it will dominate the city and waterfront from its landmark position in the CBD's highly prized 'Golden Triangle' location"

Investment in Dwellings

"... the Australian Bureau of Statistics' figures on the country's national GDP expenditure for fiscal 2009 revealed dwelling investment slumped a seasonally adjusted 10.9 per cent. In the June quarter it dived 5.5 per cent."

The Australian

Hamilton Opposition to River Tower

HAMILTON: More than 100 Hamilton residents will challenge Brisbane City Council this week to object to a proposed 15-storey riverfront development on Kingsford Smith Drive. Tenants from 101 units at Bretts Wharf Apartment Complex in Harbour Rd have sent submissions to the council. They say the multi-unit dwelling, which features short-term and hotel accommodation, will be inconsistent with the area and create traffic chaos. ``Fifteen storeys is a joke in such a tiny area,’’ Tony Hall, who lives on the eighth storey of Windermere tower, said.

Indooroopilly El Dorado Update

El Dorado Indooroopilly redevelopment, which is running a year behind schedule. Prices have risen dramatically! It seems that about nine contracts have crashed since this time last year, as in Sept 2008, the price list showed that there were 25 or 28 apartments remaining for sale. Now:

"Apartments are now selling off the plan with the development due to start in 2010 and the expected completion date is early 2013.

34 apartments are still available as per the attached list and an initial deposit of $5,000 is payable at the time of signing an EXPRESSION OF INTEREST. Body Corp Fees range from $79.41 to $100.90 per week depending on whether you are buying a 1, 2 or 3 bedroom apartment.

More information along with floor plans is now available on the websites below."

Three bedroom apartments, were $805,000, now listed for $925,000
Large two bedroom apartment, was $595,000, now listed at $780,000
Small two bedroom apartment, was $585,000, now listed at $705,000
One bedroom apartment, was $420,000, now $475,000

Noosa Luxury Development

Firstlight Noosa, on Hastings Street.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Admiralty Two - Recent Sales

Recent sales in Admiralty Two in Brisbane in May to July 2009
  • Apt 20, level 4, 2 bed, 2 bath, 1 car, 103 sqm - $725,000
  • Apt 80, level 14, 2 bed, 2 bath, 1 car, 103 sqm - $725,000
  • Apt 97, level 17, 2 bed, 2 bath, 1 car, 116 sqm - $780,000
  • Apt 106, level 18, 2 bed, 2 bath, 1 car, 116 sqm - $750,000
  • Apt 137, level 24, 2 bed, 2 bath, 1 car, 116 sqm - $815,000
Source: Email from Alan Caughey, Harcourts

Thursday, September 3, 2009


  • What will happen to the inner city Brisbane apartment market if foreign students stop coming to Brisbane?
  • When interest rates rise, will Brisbane apartment prices fall?
  • Will Meriton build a building in Brisbane that is lesser quality than Devine? Is that possible?
  • When will Felix have its river views blocked by development?
  • Will rental returns to owners in Oaks buildings decrease this year?
  • Will apartment prices in Brisbane continue to fall into 2010?
  • When first home owners stop buying, will sellers who have not sold become desperate?
  • Are the only investors buying at present the vultures and bottom-feeders?

96 Albert Street

The property located at 96 Albert Street is listed for sale as a development site, zoned for high rise development. If developed, this will have a significant impact on the views from Festival Towers and M on Mary.

Pets and Prices

"But real estate agent says pet-friendly apartment buildings are worth more than those that prohibit pets. "Any small apartment block that doesn't allow pets is crazy," Leonarder Collins says. "Owners are just doing themselves out of money."


Residential Property Prices in Brisbane

Valuer's Report

Herron Todd White Valuers report in their August 2009 report that the Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast apartment markets are at "the bottom of the market". They report no change in any market indicator factors over the past month.