Mar­ket braces for leap in list­ings

Es­tates out­side city lim­its are lur­ing wealthy Bris­ban­ites


The hous­ing drought is break­ing, with more homes flow­ing on to the mar­ket as spring heats up and key cities cool af­ter the pro­longed boom and a crack­down on in­vestor lending.

In Syd­ney, the coun­try’s hottest mar­ket for the past five years, list­ings are grow­ing, but not enough to cause a flood or pull prices down dra­mat­i­cally, ac­cord­ing to Ray White chair­man Brian White. “One of the best lit­mus tests of mar­ket change is a surge in list­ings. We are see­ing ad­e­quate list­ings, but no surge for spring, ” he said.

Chair­man of agency Cen­tury 21, Charles Tar­bey, said there had been a “mod­est” rise in stock but this was ex­pected to in­crease over the next few weeks. “The mar­ket (in Syd­ney) is start­ing to weaken. Auc­tion clear­ance rates in Syd­ney were 70 per cent last week­end; they were 80 per cent a year ago,” Mr Tar­bey said.

The with­drawal of in­vestors in the wake of bank­ing re­stric­tions and higher mort­gage rates, the slow­down in Chi­nese in­vest­ment and Syd­ney’s un­af­ford­abil­ity af­ter price growth of 75 per cent since 2012 have taken the heat out of the city’s hous­ing mar­ket.

Syd­ney’s seem­ingly un­stop­pable prices were flat over the past three months while Mel­bourne val­ues lifted nearly 2 per cent, re­searcher CoreLogic found. Price growth in Bris­bane con­tin­ued to be static, while in Perth val­ues fell 1.6 per cent for the three months to the end of Au­gust.

In Syd­ney, the num­ber of homes ad­ver­tised for sale in­creased 5 per cent in Au­gust com- pared with the pre­vi­ous month and was up 12.4 per cent com­pared with Au­gust 2016, SQM Re­search found. In the re­silient Mel­bourne mar­ket, list­ings rose 3 per cent for Au­gust but fell 15.3 per cent com­pared with a year ago.

“Look­ing ahead, we can ex­pect to see a big boost to list­ings in Septem­ber with the ad­vent of the spring sell­ing sea­son,” SQM wrote in a re­search note.

The re­turn of first-home buy­ers af­ter the Vic­to­rian and NSW govern­ments brought back firsthome owner grants would un­der­pin de­mand and prices, the re­searcher said.

“We’ve seen a strong monthly rise in list­ings in Syd­ney, Can­berra and Mel­bourne, with some buy­ers de­cid­ing to take prof­its on their prop­er­ties with price gains be­ing posted in all of those cities.”

John Normyle is sell­ing his home in Syd­ney’s in­ner-city Padding­ton af­ter seven years to take ad­van­tage of the strong price growth and to down­size.

“The kids have grown up and I would like to get rid of the mort­gage and stay in Padding­ton,” the ar­chi­tect said.

Mr Normyle, whose grand­fa­ther owned a pub in the trendy sub­urb and has been a lo­cal since the 1970s, said prices in Padding­ton tended to surge and then go through flat pe­ri­ods, rather than fall, al­ways un­der­pinned by the area’s prox­im­ity to the city.

Com­pa­ra­ble sales in Padding­ton ranged from $1.75 mil­lion to just over $2m, ac­cord­ing to Ray White Dou­ble Bay agent Kim Haye, who listed the home and noted stock lev­els were still low in the area com­ing into spring.

Fam­i­lies want­ing a leafy re­treat are choos­ing acreage life­style es­tates just 20 min­utes from Bris­bane city for a pres­tige home that can have it all.

Long known as a high-end hous­ing area for busi­ness lead­ers in the Queens­land cap­i­tal, the green belt in the city’s west from Chapel Hill, Brook­field, Pul­len­vale and Fig Tree Pocket of­fers sprawl­ing homes with recre­ation fa­cil­i­ties in­clud­ing eques­trian fields on blocks of more than 4000sq m.

In the city’s newer dis­tricts, the pre­mium sub­urbs of Chan­dler and Gum­dale to the south or Bridge­man Downs to the north, acreage lots mea­sur­ing up to 4ha are avail­able for life­style es­tates.

While de­vel­op­ment is com­ing to the ar­eas, in­clud­ing this week’s ac­qui­si­tion of a $30 mil­lion hous­ing site in Chapel Hill by de­vel­oper Sun­land, the outer re­gions re­main known for their large es­tates on sig­nif­i­cant blocks.

The leafy western sub­urbs area is home to some of the state’s high­est-pro­file busi­ness­peo­ple in­clud­ing bil­lion­aire prop­erty de­vel­oper Maha Sin­nathamby, en­tre­pre­neur and tele­vi­sion host Glen Richards and tech busi­ness­man Be­van Slattery.

Spinks and Co di­rec­tor Rachael Spinks says in­ter­state and in­ter­na­tional buy­ers were in­creas­ingly join­ing with lo­cal fam­i­lies to live in the acreage es­tates, given the value for money the big blocks rep­re­sent.

“It is rep­re­sent­ing bet­ter value,” she says. “The in­ner city has be­come re­ally ex­pen­sive again. Peo­ple think if I’m go­ing to spend $2m to $3m, it’s hard to get some­thing in the in­ner city that is on a big­ger block. “It’s a life­style de­ci­sion.” She says ac­cess to in­ner-city pri­vate schools, the in­ner city and air­port links had been fa­cil­i­tated by the in­stal­la­tion of the Legacy Way toll road that links the 17km from the city to Brook­field.

The sub­urbs are also close to the $1 bil­lion In­dooroop­illy Shopping Cen­tre, which un­til re­cently was the big­gest mall in the south­ern hemi­sphere.

It has pro­pelled moder­ate growth of the me­dian house price, by 11.7 per cent in the past five years in Brook­field and 23 per cent in Up­per Brook­field.

Pul­len­vale is a $1m sub­urb, where the av­er­age sale price in the past year was $1.1m.

Fig Tree Pocket, which fol­lows the Bris­bane river, is also record- ing $1.03m me­dian pric­ing, ac­cord­ing to the Real Es­tate In­sti­tute of Queens­land.

The area emerged from tim­ber plan­ta­tions in the mid-1800s, when river and creek trans­port was used to open it up.

For­est ar­eas were trans­formed from the 1980s but the hills of Ken­more, Pul­len­vale and Brook­field re­tain their green, coun­try char­ac­ter.

Ms Spinks, who is ne­go­ti­at­ing the sale of a multi-mil­lion-dol­lar home af­ter it had been on the mar­ket for 1½ years, said the western Bris­bane sub­ur­ban acreage sites had long been blue-rib­bon fam­ily homes.

The ru­ral-res­i­den­tial es­tate on Up­per Brook­field Road is high on the ridgetop look­ing out to the north­east and More­ton Bay.

Inside, the grand room cen­tres the home with a wood fire­place, 14-foot ceil­ings and French doors.

While tightly held, there have been 20 $2m-plus sales across the district in the last year, in­clud­ing a $6m river­side plot span­ning 1ha on Aminga Street in Fig Tree Pocket.

Bris­bane Real Es­tate’s Ty Bab­bidge says the ridgetop in Pul­len­vale, where he has a list­ing for a 1060sq m mod­ernist home for sale on Her­ron Road with an ask­ing price of $5m, is Bris­bane’s closet acreage. “It is mil­lion­aire row along the ridge,” he says.

“Peo­ple are look­ing for pri­vacy, and the ‘coun­try feel’, as well as easy ac­cess to the city.”

The 2007-built home opens out to moun­tain views past the ten­nis court and pool, and in­cludes five bed­rooms and five bath­rooms.

A Brook­field seven-bed­room mod­ernist home on Roys­ton Street with a full ten­nis court and 18-ve­hi­cle garag­ing is built across 1ha of land, con­cealed from the road in a nat­u­ral am­phithe­atre.

Ray White agent Sharon King says the prop­erty is unique and its size, scale and de­sign mean it can ac­com­mo­date a range of fam­ily types.

“You can have adult chil­dren and ex­tended fam­ily liv­ing in the one house, as there are so many spa­ces for peo­ple to be as pri­vate or so­cial as they want to be.”

At the other end of the city, about 20km south of the city cen­tre, Chan­dler of­fers large homes on lots de­vel­oped from the late 1990s that can fetch mul­ti­mil­lion­dol­lar list­ings.

Queens­land Sotheby’s Tyson Clarke says the tightly held area has four prom­i­nent acreage streets with high-qual­ity hous­ing in a range of ar­chi­tec­tural styles.

“We’re blown away with the scale and the qual­ity and the ar­chi­tec­ture of them,” he says.

“There is not a high vol­ume of trans­ac­tions in the area but they are high value.

“I’ve had a lot of peo­ple come down from (es­tab­lished in in­nercity sub­urbs) Hamil­ton, As­cot, Padding­ton, who said “we didn’t know this was here”, but since they’ve had a look around they’ve be­come Chan­dler devo­tees.”

On his books is 652 London Road, a Geor­gian-in­spired sev­enbed­room, six-bath­room home on 1ha of man­i­cured land, com­plete with a long en­try drive­way, foun­tain and porte-cochere. It has a list price of $5m.

Clock­wise from left: 654 Up­per Brook­field Road, Up­per Brook­field; 117 Her­ron Road, Pul­len­vale; and 652 London Road, Chan­dler

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