Sunday, March 30, 2014

Time to Buy or Sell in Brisbane?

A Brisbane real estate agent, Brad Munro from Position Property, has released a newsletter that states that the Brisbane market is booming.  He specialises in inner ring apartments.  He states "From 6th January of this year, we have seen the market explode!"  Brad then goes on to say that 5000 new apartments located within a 5km radius of the Brisbane CBD are expected to be completed in the next two years, and so there may be an oversupply of apartments, and more sellers than buyers.  Then, he concludes:  "Overall, the long term outlook for the property market in Brisbane looks good, however if you were looking at selling your property over the next 2 or 3 years, the next 3 to 4 months is, in my opinion, the best time to be doing this.  The less competition (other properties for sale) you have, the better the sale price will be, without question."

What this means to me is that now is not a good time to be buying, but wait a little while, and you may do better.

Or another view is that agents always tell property owners that now is the time to sell.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Metro 21, Recent Sales

One of the better inner city apartment buildings is Metro 21.  It has a maximum of 4 apartments per floor, a sky garden, and no short term rentals.

Recent sales (since July 2013) of two bedroom apartments (all with car park, some with 2 bathrooms, some with 2.5 bathrooms):
  • Apt 1104 - $510,000
  • Apt 1204 - $500,000
  • Apt 2504 - $565,000
  • Apt 3201 - $590,000
  • Apt 3003 - $560,000
  • Apt 3401 - $595,000
  • Apt 3101 - $550,000
  • Apt 2101 - $545,000
Note that the first two digits of the apartment number is the floor level.  Some of the apartments on the higher floors have river views.  This building is not riverfront, but is centrally located near George Street.  Rents for two bedrooms, unfurnished, are above $600 per week.

Rents at Madison Heights, Bowen Hills

Madison Heights at Bowen Hills has completed, and apartments are available for rent.  For a 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment,  the listed rent is $445 (with 4 weeks free - so really the rent is $410 a week).  Some are even less.  Under the NRAS scheme, the listed rent for a 2 bedroom is $389 per week.

The building has 308 apartments, with 174 under the NRAS low income rental affordability scheme, which offers apartments for 70% of the market rent (so a two bedroom under this scheme should be $287 a week based on the REA listing quoted above.)  Most of the apartments are 1 bedrooms -- in fact, 228 or about 75% of the apartments in the building are one bedroom apartments with a typical size of 51 sqm internal.

Apt 2901, 2 bedrooms, is for sale for $715,000, which appears to be outrageously expensive.
This two bedroom is $547,000.  67 sqm internal. Crazy!
A one bedroom is for sale for $485,000 -- not a bargain!

Here are some photos of the views from Madison Heights apartments.  The entry to the Airport Link tunnel cannot be seen from these photos, but is just to the right:

Friday, March 21, 2014

UniSon by Mirvac at Newstead

Mirvac has announced another apartment building in Newstead, called UniSon.  This will be located on the edge of the "Waterfront" development site.  It appears that there are a number of buildings to come on this site, so you will have plenty of time to select an apartment now or for many years in the future.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bees Nees - A real estate agent's view of the Brisbane property market

"After a number of years of buyers being firmly in control, here's two telltales for us that we have a market on a new, more balanced playing field:

Buyers are calling us back. We know we're real estate salespeople and shouldn't be surprised when some people don't want to talk to us! But it's been a little lonely in recent years... Now the calls are returned, buyers keen to hear what 'freshies' we might have coming up for them.

The second reason? In the past fortnight I've had 3 real estate agents contact me chasing investments for themselves. Like a Charleville grazier can smell the coming rains, these agents get a sense when the market's on the turn.

It's not all one-sided. Despite the competition we've still seen some price sensitivity from buyers. They're well-informed and most are not yet rushed to pay over the odds. They recognise there's a shortage of listings across many inner city markets and prices, but many are still okay to bide their time. There's more balance but it's too early to say it's a sellers market.

With that said, if you've been holding off selling I haven't seen a market as good as this since 2004.  Many are hoping it will continue 'gaining momentum' and those 'green shoots' will sprout into price growth to make Jack’s beanstalk look tiny."

From Bees Nees.

It seems that houses are selling much faster than apartments in Brisbane at present.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Gold Coast - Soul

From Mantra:

I am a representative of the Mantra Hotels Group, who have recently taken ownership of Sea Temple Surfers Paradise, under the Peppers Brand.

The property has been re-branded Soul Surfers Paradise and Peppers are keen to revitalise both the hotel and the Seaduction restaurant under their luxury hotels brand.

We'd appreciate you letting your readers know of the changes at Soul:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Australian Interest Rates - Predication by Westpac

From Westpac:

Westpac has revised its profile for the RBA cash rate in 2014. Previously we expected that rates would be reduced by 25bps in both August and November. The forecast is now for flat rates throughout 2014. As before we do not forecast a rate hike until the third quarter of 2015 with a 25bp hike in both the September and December quarters. 

Growth in housing finance has been very strong, up 26.9% for the year to December and 22.3% for the year to January. Within that, loans to investors slowed from 40% (in December) to 28.6% in January. Owner occupiers slowed from 19.4% (December) to 18.6% (January). The “time to buy a dwelling” index from the Westpac Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Survey is down by 16.8% from its September peak. There are tentative signs that housing lending might be slowing. As discussed, that slowdown, which has always been core to our forecasts, appears to be evolving. However, such a slowdown was a necessary but not sufficient condition for lower rates. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

A victory for miniature dachshund dog ‘Sebastian’ over the Committee

It seems that Body Corporate Committee members are officiously and uncaringly trying to prevent apartment owners have pets, even though there is no legal or other justification to do so.  A recent case involving a miniature dachshund dog called Sebastian highlights these issues.  The apartment owner was allowed to keep Sebastian in her apartment.

See Bougainvillea [2013] QBCCMCmr 448 (11 November 2013)

"Both the Committee and many submitted appear to believe that By-law 11 prohibits pets in the scheme. That is not correct. Adjudicators have consistently held that by-laws like By-law 11 are ‘permissive’ in that they allow the keeping of pets, albeit with prior consent. 

Adjudicators have further held that where there is a permissive by-law, the body corporate cannot impose an automatic ‘no-pets policy’. A body corporate may have a preference against pets, but it cannot override the potential in the by-law for consent to be given by imposing a policy of banning all animals. Under a by-law of this nature, the committee must consider each request for a animal on its merits and exercise discretion in whether to approve an animal or not. Accordingly the Body Corporate must consider each request on its merits.

Some schemes have tried to adopt by-laws that ban all animals, but this has been found to be contrary to section 169 of the Act. Section 169 provides for by-laws to regulate the use and enjoyment of lot, but does not authorise a by-law prohibiting such use and enjoyment."

"One submission notes that some tenants may have phobias to dogs. Another is concerned that some children could be frightened by the dog. While there may be some basis for genuine concerns about larger dogs, it is more difficult to perceive such difficulties with such a small breed of dog. In any event, if the applicant were to always ensure that the dog was carried or adequately restrained during its brief transits across common property, there seems to me to be little risk of any adverse impact."

See also Sunwaves [2013] QBCCMCmr 433 (30 October 2013)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

REIQ reports improving market for apartments in last quarter of 2013

The median price of units and townhouses across South East Queensland grew over the December quarter, according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).

The REIQ’s latest Queensland Market Monitor (QMM), released 28 February 2014, also found the preliminary numbers of unit sales increased six per cent over the year.

REIQ CEO Anton Kardash said the unit market was continuing to improve in-line with the house sales market – albeit centred around the southeast corner.

“A key difference between the Queensland house and unit markets is that predominantly the lion’s share of these types of properties are located in the southeast as that is where demand for housing is the greatest,’ he said.

“In fact, demand for units in Brisbane has resulted in record numbers of off-the-plan sales lately. According to recently-released research, more than 1,000 new apartment sales were transacted in the December quarter – the highest level since 2002.”

Click on chart to make bigger:

The most sales where in the Brisbane CBD, followed by New Farm, Nundah and St Lucia.

The largest one year change to the median price were in Wynnum West, Highgate Hill, Windsor and Paddington.  The worst performing suburbs were Northgate and Kedron.

Is Housing Market Slowing?

From an RP Data press release:

Mr Lawless said we will need to see further months of flat to negative movements before we can confidently say the housing market is slowing. “Our view is that housing market conditions will start to wind down later this year as affordability constraints and low rental yields dampen market conditions. Additionally, with a belief that mortgage rates are likely to start tightening later this year, it may help to quell some of the exuberance we have been seeing,” he said.

Brisbane apartment prices (to 28 February 2014):
February 2014 - up 0.3%
Quarter - up 1.5%
Year on Year - up 3.1%
Year to Date - up 1.1%
Median price based on settled sales of Brisbane apartments over the quarter - $387,000.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Florida Foreclosures

It is interesting to see that in Florida, it is possible to buy a one bedroom apartment for less than $80,000, including whitegoods.


Makes the Gold Coast look very overpriced.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Rising Market

Valuer, HTW, reports that both the Brisbane and Sunshine Coast apartment markets are currently "rising markets".

See March 2014 Month in Review.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Soda Goes Soggy

It has been reported recently that the Soda apartment development in South Brisbane did not receive development approval from the Council.  Although 129 out of 131 have sold off-the-plan, the developer had not obtained development approval to build the building.

A newspaper report states that the apartments do not have sufficient ventilation, ceiling heights are too low, and there is not enough visitor car parking.  "The only outlook of many of the habitable room windows would be to a (future) adjoining development in very close proximity."

Well-known property law David Colenso said:  "Contracting 98% of apartments without a development approval contravenes all the basis risk parameters of property development.  Judging by the extent of councils refusal, this developer may need to redesign the development which puts at risk all contracts under Queensland's disclosure regime."

When I looked at this development in October, I thought that it was expensive.  It now looks to be very expensive, due to what appears to be poor quality design.

Investors buying off-the-plan should look at the checklists and information in this book.  Ceiling height, aspect and cross-ventilation are important to consider, and are often not disclosed in the glossy sales brochures.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Admiralty One

Apartment 59 in Admiralty Towers One sold at auction this week for $585,000.  It is a two bedroom apartment, in one of the best buildings in the city.