Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Finding A Great Apartment to Rent in Brisbane
Finding a good apartment or home unit to rent in Brisbane is not easy, particularly in January and February when the demand for apartment rentals is high and many tenants are looking.
In the best buildings, the existing tenants do not often leave, and when they do move out, the apartment is often 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, and the better apartments may be provided to corporate tenants. For the mid-quality buildings, many apartments are furnished and rented on a short term basis, sometimes even overnight. Thus, there may be few apartments available for rent.
At one time, a good specialist website for apartments was http://www.seqrents.com.au 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.
A newer website that has a number of rental listings is CityApartmentSales, and is used by a number of the onsite managers to list apartments for rent. The largest number of listings are located on RealEstate.com.au, but a number of onsite managers do not use this website. Also, try Central Apartments for rentals in Pradella buildings.
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.
This website has a list of most city apartment buildings, with useful information and links about them. Also, try this customised search engine.
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). Recently partially opened just behind these buildings is Meriton's Soleil (budget quality).
Admiralty One is good value, and has some of the largest two bedroom apartments in Brisbane, but is a smaller building. It is direct river front - http://www.admiraltyone.com.au/
Admiralty Two also has good sized apartments, and the building has great facilities. http://www.admiraltytwo.com.au/
Admiralty Quays is newer, and has a great pool, but the apartments are smaller than the two Admiralty buildings listed above, and it is more expensive. http://www.admiraltyquays.com/
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. Great pool.
Soleil has only just opened. It is currently the tallest building in Brisbane. A large building with over 400 apartments, but less than half have been sold. In late December, the Soleil website said that there were currently no apartments available for lease.
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. About half the apartments in this building are hotel managed, so it is easy to get short term accommodation in Quay West, but difficult to find an apartment for a long term lease. 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:
M on Mary has recently been taken over by new management, so it will be interesting to see what happens in this building. It was not high on my list previously, but that may change with the new management.
Parklands at Roma Street also has some good apartments.
I recommend Arbour on Grey at SouthBank: http://arbour.com.au/cms/welcome.html
Also, Saville (Mantra) at SouthBank is one of the nicest buildings if you get a river facing apartment. The apartments are level 8 and above. Below level 8 is a hotel. The best thing to do here is call to find out availability. Telephone 07 3305 2559
There is likely to be some availability in some of the riverside West End apartments. These include Waters Edge, Flow, Koko and Left Bank.
Some of the better apartments not on the river road include SL8 and Tempo.
In my view, all of the above West End apartments are too isolated.
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.
In Indooroopilly, there has been very little recent construction. Two of the newer, quality buildings 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. It has good onsite managers, but apartments rarely become available here.
Ciana is a larger new complex, in a central location, with many large apartments. There is a pool and gym, plus a bowls club!
The newest complex in the Toowong / Taringa area is Fresh. This complex has two pools, a gym and great gardens, and a large number of apartments are owned by super funds and thus are rentals. Try here.
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). This complex flooded in January 2010.
St Lucia is harder to find quality -- there are few onsite managers. So you have to try local real estate agents.
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. It was badly flooded. You can rent a high quality apartment at a reasonable price here, if you don't mind the location.