Boomers take smart op­tion

Herald Sun - Property - - REGION REPORT - CARO­LINE JAMES

HOUS­ING in Mel­bourne’s leafy east is go­ing through a mas­sive ver­ti­cal trans­for­ma­tion led by all buyer groups.

De­vel­op­ers say the age of lux­ury apart­ment liv­ing has dawned in sub­urbs east of the CBD.

“It (the east) is clearly the strong­est de­vel­op­ment arm by any mea­sure,” said Cas­tran Gil­bert di­rec­tor Michael Lang.

“If you fol­low the train line you can see it strong in many parts all the way (to the Yarra Ranges) ... and it’s not just in­vestors cash­ing in their su­per­an­nu­a­tion to buy but mums and dads; I am cur­rently selling 70-to-80 per cent to firsthome buy­ers or empty nesters.”

Cas­tran Gil­bert’s port­fo­lio — like many of its ri­vals — has a strong eastern sub­urbs’ bent.

Its cur­rent projects in­clude Eve­lyn, a 45-apart­ment de­vel­op­ment in Ring­wood, and Knoxia, an 87 lux­ury apart­ment pro­ject op­po­site West­field Knox shop­ping cen­tre in Wan­tirna South.

Other eastern sub­urbs’ de­vel­op­ments in­clude CBRE’s The Cotham Kew, Kar­rina in Kew, 22 lux­ury prop­er­ties at Nue Hawthorn, the soon-tobe-launched Hawthorn Club pro­ject and Vic­tory House in Cam­ber­well.

Lit­tle Projects also had “a num­ber of projects in the pipeline”, in­clud­ing Belle Box Hill, which was soon to be­gin con­struc­tion, and its sold-out 12-town­house Lux & Mod­ern in Kew East, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Michael Fox said.

Asked if fu­ture de­vel­op­ments would change the look of the eastern re­gion, Mr Fox said: “De­vel­op­ers need to be cog­nisant that de­vel­op­ments fit the lifestyle and ex­pec­ta­tions of would-be res­i­dents in the area.”

“Box Hill, for ex­am­ple, is an up-and-com­ing sub­urb that will al­most be a city in it­self ... so for our Belle Box Hill de­vel­op­ment, we de­cided to build 100 apart­ments with a level of amenity that other apart­ments in the area do not have.’’

Er­fa­nian De­vel­op­ments di­rec­tor Sean Can­telo said there had been a strong re­sponse to the July launch of the James Kerr Apart­ments in Croy­don.

“A mix of first-home buy­ers, in­vestors and se­nior down­siz­ers” had al­ready bought eight of the pro­ject’s 56 apart­ments, he said.

Its other projects in­cluded a 26-apart­ment de­vel­op­ment — also on Mt Dan­de­nong Rd in Croy­don — and two de­vel­op­ments in Boro­nia, although avail­able stock was lim­ited, he said.

“Nor­mally with apart­ments it’s just first-home buy­ers but it’s not any­more, it is a real mixed bag,” Mr Can­telo said.

“Re­tire­ment liv­ing is be­com­ing so ex­pen­sive and so apart­ment liv­ing is very pop­u­lar with down­siz­ers be­cause it of­fers an af­ford­able op­tion and they love be­ing able to walk to ev­ery­thing.”

Mr Lang said baby boomers now drove big vol­umes of offthe-plan pur­chases in Mel­bourne’s east.

“They are selling their fam­ily homes in Wan­tirna and other eastern sub­urbs for $1 mil­lion or more and say­ing, ‘let’s spend $500,000 to $600,000 and buy a nice lux­u­ri­ous, large two or three-bed­room apart­ment home, en­joy the ex­tra money and travel and no more fix­ing gut­ters on our week­ends. This mind­set shift has hap­pened fast and it’s chang­ing ev­ery­thing.”

The Belle Box Hill apart­ment de­vel­op­ment by Lit­tle Projects (above) and the soon-to-be­launched Hawthorn Club pro­ject.

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