Sunday, February 25, 2018

West Village in West End

The West Village development in Boundary St, West End is being heavily marketed at present.

Is this a good place to invest?  I have a number of concerns:
  • The development consists of 11 new apartment buildings, going as high as 22 storeys, with a huge number of new apartments.  It is being developed and sold in stages, with the first two buildings settling at the end of 2018.  If you buy today, not only will you be living near a construction site for years, you will be competing with new apartments as they come online over the next few years.  Hard to resell or rent in this situation.
  • In my opinion, the apartments do not appear to be high quality.  For example, in the two bedroom apartments, the second bedroom is not air-conditioned.  The air-conditioning is not a central system, but a split system with unsightly head ends on the wall.  
  • Most of the bedrooms do not have large windows -- they appear to have one tiny window, and I suspect they will be dark and feel pokey.
  • The bathrooms are small.  (None have a separate bath -- compare Saville Southbank by comparison.)
  • Most bedrooms don't have access to the balcony.  Of itself, this is not an issue, but it makes both the bedroom dark (and for the smaller apartments, the balcony will be dark and alley-like). 
  • The apartment layouts are troubling.  For example, in 1 bedroom apartments, the bathroom is a long way from the bedroom, through the kitchen.  For most two bedroom apartments, the second bedroom is too close to the main bedroom and too far from the bathroom.   
  • The prices are expensive!  For example, a one bedroom apartment is selling for $467,000 on a low floor.  This apartment is 54 sqm internal.   (The balconies are long and skinny, with an air-conditioning compressor on the balcony.  The apartment, especially the kitchen, is likely to be dark.)
  • The 3 bedrooms are being sold for more than $1.6M.  Small two bedroom apartments (only 84 sqm internal) start at $700,000!

    The design is such that you can't even put a sofa in front of the TV!

    It is worth comparing the West Village apartment with a similar recent development nearby, for example, Opera on Cordelia Street that settled about 6 months ago.  A similar size brand new one bedroom in Opera, which I feel is a better quality development is a better location, recently sold for $415,000 on a midlevel floor.  A floor plan for the Opera apartment is below.  When you compare the apartments side by side, you can see that the Opera living room space is bigger, and the design is better.  Opera even has a walk-in wardrobe and a separate laundry, plus more storage cupboards, and an island kitchen bench.  (It is also better quality, for example, deducted air conditioning.)

    So make sure you compare what is currently happening in the market, for existing apartments, before buying in a risky new off-the-plan development.

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