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