TAK­ING IT SLOW

It is not only cap­i­tal-city agents who are grum­bling about dwin­dling stock

The Weekend Australian - Life - - PROPERTY - LISA ALLEN Jude Kelly and An­drew Cum­mins with pup Minke at their home at 31 Li­ly­dale Street, Mar­rickville, in Syd­ney’s in­ner west; the Mar­rickville house, top left and middle; a view of the Noosa apart­ment in Hast­ings Park, top right

Mel­bourne and Syd­ney agents are whinge­ing about the lack of qual­ity res­i­den­tial stock hit­ting the mar­ket over the Easter hol­i­days, and even the up­mar­ket coastal town­ship of By­ron Bay is sig­nalling a dis­turb­ing lack of hous­ing sup­ply. How­ever, in Noosa, agent Tom Of­fer­mann says there’s plenty of pres­tige stock avail­able — this de­spite the fact more Syd­ney and Mel­bourne buy­ers are flood­ing into south­east Queens­land be­cause of cheaper hous­ing prices com­pared to the cost of real es­tate in their over-in­flated states.

Ac­cord­ing to Of­fer­mann, the head of Noosa’s Tom Of­fer­mann Real Es­tate, the “south­ern­ers” have noted a sig­nif­i­cant rise in prop­erty val­ues in their home states and when they ar­rive in Noosa they note the great value. “Some are choos­ing to live here rather than in their home-town mar­kets where they per­ceive the mar­ket as plateau­ing,” he says.

“We have some fab­u­lous prop­er­ties on of­fer over Easter such as a three-bed­room apart­ment in Hast­ings Park, an ex­clu­sive com­plex of nine apart­ments di­rectly over­look­ing Main Beach which will be auc­tioned on April 9. The last apart­ment in the build­ing sold for $4.5 mil­lion.”

But the sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent in the ar­guably more elite and pricier north­ern NSW town­ship of By­ron Bay, fur­ther down the east coast.

“For­get what is hap­pen­ing in Syd­ney or Mel­bourne,” says Gra­ham Dunn, di­rec­tor of By­ron Bay Prop­erty Sales, who reck­ons prices are in­creas­ing in By­ron Bay be­cause there is a fi­nite sup­ply of hous­ing on the NSW north coast cou­pled with un­lim­ited de­mand.

But Mel­bourne busi­ness­man Mark Row­sthorn’s four-bed­room 39 Marine Pa­rade, Wat­e­gos beach house re­mains on the mar­ket. Row­sthorn paid $6.5m a few years ago for the house and has re­jected sev­eral of­fers since. Dunn says the neigh­bour­ing Wat­e­gos house just sold for $9.5m so Row­sthorn is un­will­ing to take less than $8.5m.

But in Syd­ney, Prue Hol­combe of Ur­bane Prop­erty says there’s not a lot of stock on the mar­ket in the in­ner west.

There’s none of the panic buy­ing that was oc­cur­ring last year when peo­ple turned up at auc­tions to buy af­ter spend­ing just five min­utes in­spect­ing the prop­erty, Hol­combe says.

“You are not get­ting panic buys, peo­ple aren’t throw­ing money at you. Peo­ple are back do­ing due dili­gence, they don’t have that urge to panic buy,” she adds, not­ing that most in­ner-west buy­ers are lo­cals or empty nesters mov­ing back into the area.

Hol­combe is sell­ing 31 Li­ly­dale Street, Mar­rickville, via auc­tion on April 16 for ven­dors Jude Kelly and An­drew Cum­mins. They had ex­pected to spend a lot more time liv­ing in their Li­ly­dale Street house, which was com­pleted just 12 months ago. But they have found an­other house in the in­ner west that will al­low them to have a pool, shed and veg­etable gar­den, and they hope to reap up to $1.8m from Li­ly­dale Street given pos­i­tive feed­back.

“We are sell­ing be­cause we are look­ing down the track as we get to re­tire­ment age,” Kelly says. “My hus­band wants a big­ger yard and a place for the boat. A prop­erty came up that fits the bill. We wanted to stay here a lot longer ... But things hap­pen in life. You hear that things are plateau­ing in the real es­tate mar­ket or are go­ing down, [but] ev­ery time I see a prop­erty, I don’t see any ev­i­dence of that.”

Across the city in the east­ern sub­urbs, Ken Jacobs of Christie’s In­ter­na­tional says prices are hold­ing in the up­per end of the mar­ket be­cause of stock short­ages.

“There are buy­ers out there at the tro­phy end,” Jacobs says. “We are get­ting strong in­ter­est from a va­ri­ety of sources and the trans­ac­tions we are do­ing I won’t say are bullish, but they are at strong prices.

“Most of the buy­ers are lo­cal, but there is still in­ter­est from Hong Kong and main­land China — we are get­ting ex­pats from the UK, and from the US there is some in­ter­est but not at the same level as the UK or Asia,” he says.

Jacobs is mar­ket­ing the Fairfax fam­ily prop­erty Elaine at 550 New South Head Road, Point Piper, ask­ing in the high $20m for the wa­ter­front blocks re­cently carved off the es­tate.

“We have mul­ti­ple buy­ers show­ing in­ter­est in the wa­ter­front blocks of Elaine,” he says. “They ba­si­cally run from road to wa­ter and we have peo­ple in­ter­ested in the Elaine house. There are ap­provals to sub­stan­tially re­fur­bish it.”

In Mel­bourne, Ross Savas, joint man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Kay and Bur­ton, com­plains of the mar­ket’s slug­gish­ness. “We are in a very strong mar­ket due to a lot of lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional in­vest­ment in the res­i­den­tial mar­ket [but] we are in a low turnover mar­ket.

“[How­ever] the Aus­tralian dol­lar is rel­a­tively low and ex­pats around parts of Asia are re­ally look­ing at Aus­tralia as the promised land. Syd­ney and Mel­bourne in par­tic­u­lar are their fo­cus. I think the de­mand is con­stant but sup­ply is low.”

In Bris­bane, pres­tige agent Gail Havig of Havig & Jack­son says there is not a great deal of stock in the higher end.

“We don’t have very many ven­dors putting their houses on the mar­ket,” Havig says. “The mar­ket has not wound up for the year but in the higher end, pres­tige houses seem to be slowly com­ing on the mar­ket.

“Af­ter Easter I am ex­pect­ing there will be more prop­er­ties com­ing on the mar­ket.”

Bris­bane-based CBRE Res­i­den­tial Projects man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Paul Bar­ratt says 2016 is shap­ing up to be an in­cred­i­ble year.

“2015 was an amaz­ing year for Bris­bane, with over 5000 in­ner-city apart­ments sold off the plan,” he says. “This is more apart­ments than the to­tal of those sold over the pe­riod 2012 to 2014.”

Bar­ratt says Bris­bane has been in a state of chronic un­der­sup­ply since 2005, which is why in­vestors in in­ner city prop­er­ties have done so well dur­ing the past decade.

“Pop­u­la­tion growth for the Bris­bane lo­cal govern­ment area [re­mains] ahead of dwelling com­mence­ments, mean­ing that even now we are in a state of un­der­sup­ply and why Bris­bane has the high­est re­turns for in­vestors in res­i­den­tial apart­ments in Aus­tralia,” he says. “This is why over 2015 we saw stel­lar sales re­sults for projects such as Bris­bane Sky­tower, which had over 940 un­con­di­tional sales dur­ing 2015, and the 100 per cent sell­out of projects such as Peak South Bris­bane, Pure at Spring Hill and Light & Co Ra­di­ance, West End.”

‘In the higher end, pres­tige houses seem to be slowly com­ing on the mar­ket’ BRIS­BANE AGENT GAIL HAVIG

BRITTA CAM­PION

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