Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Admiralty Quays - Apartments for Sale

It is rare to see apartments for sale in Admiralty Quays, one of the better buildings in Brisbane downtown.  It is a quality building, with direct riverfront and a fantastic riverfront pool.  Some of the two bedroom apartments are smaller than the other Admiralty buildings, but they are still a quality product.

Apartment 68, two bedrooms, is listed for sale for $815,000.  See also here listing this as a deceased estate sale.

A three bedroom apartment is listed for sale for $998,000.

There are a number of apartments for rent, with two bedroom furnished apartments listed for rent at $815 a week.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Gold Coast Bottomed!!

After a recent auction, Ray White Gold Coast is saying positive things, yet again, about the Gold Coast property market.  In every press release that I have seen over the past 10 years from Ray White Gold Coast, they appear to be saying that now is the time to buy!   Always optomistic.

When I visited the Gold Coast recently, it looked old, tired and tatty.  It is not a nice resort town.  Even if the prices halve again, I would have trouble buying on the Gold Coast.  (Another recent story:  Brisbane residents prefer to vacation in Melbourne rather than the Gold Coast!)

From Fairfax:
The value of some homes on the troubled coastal strip have halved since 2007 and data from Australian Property Monitors shows the median house price in Surfers Paradise fell 33 per cent in a year. Apartment prices dropped 5 per cent. Property can sit on the market for months – even years. While it was still too early to be talking about recovery, Sunday's result showed that prices had stopped falling, he said. "I've got no hesitation in saying the market has bottomed," Mr Bell said."
See Fairfax

Sunday, January 27, 2013

An agent's view on inner city apartment rentals

"There’s now fewer rental homes in our CBD than we had in 2006, according to new data on Brisbane’s housing market. The Residential Tenancies Authority stats for the December quarter show our CBD rental pool shrank yet again.

The RTA track all rental bonds and in Brisbane CBD and Spring Hill the total has reduced by 700 since its 2007 peak. For example for the full year 2012 the rental pool in postcode 4000 grew by a miserly 3 homes, despite the completion of Adelaide Street’s “Soleil Tower” with 464 apartments.

And there’s no large additions to the rental pool on the horizon.  There’s just one big tower under construction in the CBD but it’s a long way from completion. So we’d expect it’s going to be well into 2014 before we see any worthwhile increase in supply.

Despite this we haven’t yet seen any big jumps in rent and 2012 finished with a modest 3% growth in Brisbane’s rents. Our team [at Bees Nees] and other real estate agents are reporting a busy January market and we’re overall optimistic.  But renewing tenants are generally not agreeing to big rent increases and rent affordability remains top of mind. Inner city tenants do often move further out to save money. Landlords are still cautious too and they don’t want to risk a vacant home. So it looks most likely that 2013’s rent rises will be steady.

As a sidenote we often see new apartments being sold off-plan with forecast rents that must have some large increases expected on today’s rents. ‘Ambitious’ might be the polite way to describe some of their estimates. Let’s hope those investors do their homework."

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cheaper to buy than rent

There was a story in the AFR yesterday (page 7) with the headline "Cheaper to buy than rent". However, take care with such stories. First, it is based on a report by a mortgage broker, that wants to encourage people to buy and take out loans. Second, it uses average loan sizes and average rents, and so does not compare apples with apples. Third, it does not take into account rates, water fees, body corporate, stamp duty, maintenance or insurance. The article says that it is $800 a year cheaper to buy in Brisbane, but once these additional costs taken into account, it is clearly cheaper to rent than buy even on these misleading figures.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Two Bedroom in Park Avenue

Is this Brisbane's most expensive two bedroom apartment?  It is in the Park Avenue building at South Bank (which is on a 99 year leasehold).  Only $1,195,000!  There are no internal photos, and it is unclear how big this apartment is, or on what floor it is located.  And there is no open for inspection.  (Is this a real listing, or a joke?!?)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Radius Apartments

The developers of Radius Apartments at Woolloongabba recently announced that they have sold the management rights to Oaks Hotels and Resorts.  In my opinion, this is a good reason of itself to avoid Radius.  Two bedrooms including furniture from $465,000.  Settlement expected in about 18 months.  The Radius website has floor plans, but does not give the size of any of the apartments, so I am guessing that they are tiny.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Infinity Tower Grows

The Courier-Mail has learnt Meriton has since last March been seeking permission from the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Transport to operate a crane at a height of 311m for two weeks during the ongoing construction of the 81-storey, 262m Infinity tower in Herschel St.

In spite of the 10-month wait, Meriton said the project remained on track for a November completion and the developer remained "confident the application will be approved in the near future".

Courier Mail

Friday, January 11, 2013

Investing in Brisbane Apartment

The 2nd edition of "Investing in Brisbane Apartments" is now available in the iTunes iBook store, and can be downloaded for iPads, iPods and iPhones.  Look here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Rising Market?

Matusik says that the Brisbane property market is on the upswing.  See presentation and blog post.

"The astute investor – and contrary to what the mass media says – knows that the property market cycles and that it turned the corner around the middle of last year.  The table below outlines the past eleven residential cycles in Australia.  Things might be slow, but they are looking up."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

RP Data end of 2012 review

Here are some slides from RP Data's recent end of year review.  Click on slides to mark larger.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Renting in Brisbane


At this time of year, finding a good apartment or home unit to rent in Brisbane is not easy.  In January and February, the demand for apartment rentals is high and many tenants are looking for a place to live.

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 fewer than expected apartments available for rent. 

The largest number of listings are located on, but a number of onsite managers do not use this website.  A newer website that has a number of rental listings is the REIQ website.  CityApartmentSales is sometimes used by onsite managers to list apartments for rent.  Also, try Central Apartments for rentals in Pradella buildings. is used by real estate agents and private owners, and so may have properties listed that are not listed elsewhere.

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.

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

Generally, in my opinion, 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.  And see

You can also look at prior posts on this blog regarding rentals.

Downtown Brisbane:

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 and Skyline (second tier).  Recently opened just behind these buildings is Meriton's Soleil (in my opinion, lower quality).

Admiralty One is good value, and has some of the largest two bedroom apartments in Brisbane, and is a smaller building.  It is direct river front -

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 than the two Admiralty buildings listed above, and it is more expensive.

Nearby on the river in the city is River Place, and is likely to have availability as this is a large complex.  Be 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 a large nunber have not been sold.  It has short term rentals.  This link lists Soleil apartments for rent.

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.  Try to rent above level 7 for the better views.

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 downtown 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:

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

West End

There is likely to be some availability in some of the riverside West End apartments.  These include Waters EdgeFlow, 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 and restaurant! 

One of 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 buildings with onsite managers. So you have to try local real estate agents.  The best buildings are riverfront, and are expensive.

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.

Median Price Reports Not Always What They Seem

Often, newspapers report on the growth or decline in property values, or identify certain areas as hotspots, or have articles such as "What is your home worth?"  This articles are often based on changes in median price over a period of time.  However, care must be taken when looking a median price reports.  First, the data set may be small.  For example, it is not uncommon for the median price for a suburb to be calculated on less than 20 sales.  Second, there may be a change in the mix of what is sold.   For example, if in one year, many 1 bedroom apartments are sold, and in the next year, many 2 bedroom apartments are sold, then the median price will show growth, when in fact, the values of 2 bedroom apartments may have declined.  Another example is if a large new apartment building completes.  This happened a few years ago in West End -- the newspapers reported dramatic price growth in West End; the change in median price was in fact due to the completion of more than 150 apartments in 2 developments, not due to property values increasing.

It is easy to identify "hotspots" on this basis -- just look to where a number of new apartments buildings or subdivisions are nearing completion.  But this is really misleading.  

The Courier Mail, that often publishes such reports, identifies the risk of looking a median prices:

"A change in median price, more often than not, reflects what has been sold during the two time periods rather than actual price growth.  The only real way to test price growth is to look at resales - the same dwelling resold over time."  Courier Mail Real Estate Section, page 2, 5 January 2013, by Matusik.

Realty Times makes the same point in this article.

As Matusik states "You can't always believe what you read."  [I guess he is referring to the Courier Mail here?]

Living In Strata

Living In Strata is said to be a resource for people living in strata titled buildings.

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Edition of Kindle Book

A new edition of the popular Kindle Book Investing in Brisbane Apartments - A Guide for Successful Investing (2nd Edition) has just been published.  This second edition has been updated and revised.  This book is helpful if you are considering buying an apartment in Brisbane as an investment or to live in.  If you don't have a Kindle, then get a free Kindle App or buy a Kindle: Kindle, 6" E Ink Display, Wi-Fi - for international shipment.  Also available in iTune store.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Charlotte Towers Sales

Let’s have a look at the four most recent sales in Charlotte Towers (as set out in government records) located at 128 Charlotte Street in Brisbane:
  • Apt 4403 - a very good two bedroom apartment, purchased August 2005 from the developer for $585,000, resold October 2012 for $560,000
  • Apt 3010 - purchased October 2004 from the developer for $380,000, resold October 2012 for $365,000 to well known Brisbane property investor Sarina Russo
  • Apt 3705 - purchased September 2004 from the developer for $374,000, resold October 2012 for $350,000
  • Apt 3007 - purchased from the developer in May 2006 for $533,000, resold February 2009 for $485,000, resold again in September 2012 for $497,000
As can be seen from the above, every purchaser from Devine who purchased off the plan has lost money.  The losses are greater than those shown above once stamp duty and agent's selling fees are taken into account.
Charlotte Towers was developed by Devine, at that time run by David Devine and Ken Woodley, who now run the Metro Property Group.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

RP Data-Rismark December Hedonic Daily Home Value Index Results

Capital city home values fall over consecutive years, down -3.8% in 2011 and -0.4% in 2012.  With capital city dwelling values falling by -0.3% over the month of December, home values recorded an aggregate decline of -0.4% over the 2012 calendar year.
Highlights over the quarter:

  • Best performing capital city: Darwin +2.5 per cent
  • Weakest performing capital city: Hobart, -3.7 per cent
  • Highest rental yields: Darwin houses with gross rental yield of 6.1 per cent and Darwin Units at 5.9 per cent
  • Lowest rental yields: Melbourne houses with gross rental yields of 3.6 per cent and Melbourne units at 4.4 per cent
  • Most expensive city: Sydney with a median dwelling price of $580,246
  • Most affordable city: Hobart with a median dwelling price of $317,500
According to RP Data Senior Research Analyst, Cameron Kusher, we have now seen two successive years of annual value declines, however the annual rate of declines has improved substantially compared to last year.

“Home values in Brisbane, Perth and Hobart remain below where they were five years ago, whereas the other mainland cities have all recorded significantly lower rates of growth in home values over the past five years than they did over the preceding five year period."

Brisbane apartment prices (to 31 December 2012):
December 2012 - down 2.8%
Quarter - down 0.9%
Year to Date - down 3.5%
Year on Year - down 3.5%
Median price based on settled sales of Brisbane apartments over the quarter - $363,000.

Arena South Brisbane

A new development is being proposed for Edmondstone Street in South Brisbane, called Arena.  It has a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments, and seems to be more up-market than a number of the other apartment complexes planned for South Brisbane.  The development appears to consist of 2 towers, each 12 floors high.