Question: Where is the source of Victorian apartment demand?
Answer: Local Victorian owner occupiers and increasingly investment demand is coming from New South Wales driven by value proposition and offshore buyers with permanent residency as well as expats are taking advantage of the recent exchange rate variance.
The South-East Corridor with suburbs close to school zones and train stations such as Caulfield, Bentleigh and Glen Huntly continue to compete with inner northern suburbs of Collingwood, Brunswick and North Melbourne. In these locations investors and first home buyers have been looking for 1 bedroom apartments with a minimum 48 sqm size in the $450K-$500K price bracket and couples in the $540K-$620K range with a preference for 66-70 sqm product.
Price point orientated purchasers are setting their sights on inner-city suburbs; defined as within 6kms to the CBD - interestingly potential purchasers are amenable with either the Northern or Southern side of the CBD, previously a North/South 'Side of the River' option would not have been considered.
North Melbourne and West Melbourne will go hand in hand with several development sites transacted on and off market in June and July of this year. The depth of market for Brunswick East & West versus Brunswick proper will be tested with several launches coming late 3rd quarter.
Recent off-market boutique project launches in Elsternwick and Bentleigh have been embraced by the local owner occupier market and upcoming Windsor apex projects are enticing buyers looking at South Yarra and St Kilda.
Couples and young families are embracing vertical integrated communities with proximity to the CBD in South Melbourne and adjoining Fishermans Bend due to the ever increasing realisation of commute times constraining lifestyle choices. We have seen product demand for 2-3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1 car park with nominated budgets ranging from $650,000 to $1 million.
We forsee the lack of new product in Port Melbourne and the strength of demand for South Melbourne and St Kilda as driving interest in Fishermans Bend on top of being the Southbank development extension; the precinct will have the same impact on the market recently experienced in Fortitude Valley, Qld.
Downsizer demand can be characterised by looking at 'promenade' streets including St Kilda Road, Queens Road, Fitzroy Street and projects with view lines opposite parks in the Eastern suburbs of Kew, Hawthorn and South Yarra. The general product size is for 2 bedroom + study/optional 3rd bedroom, 2 bathrooms and 1 car in price bands of $800K - $900K, $1.1 - $1.2 million and $1.5 - $1.8 million.
Interesting that the downsizer market request 1 car park, many couples placing preference on proximity of infrastructure and amenity to not require a second car. Projects just launched and coming to market in Spring will number 6, the success of projects such as Arthur have set the benchmark in this product and location segment.
Value orientated hot spots such as Cairnlea where the ball park price point of a 1 bedroom is $270K-$310K and 2 bedroom from $350K-$380K along with renewed enthusiasm for projects in Footscray where recent Joseph Road Precinct launches are having strong market absorption.
Traditional established housing suburbs such as Bundoora are appealing to local residents where parents may look to downsize and their children are starting a family - we see the scenario of property swaps being a common theme in areas such as this.
Cameron Clarke is the Principal and Founder of My Real Estate Mate (MREM). Apartment Register is an-house brand of MREM and an Urban Melbourne joint-venture organisation.
Lead image/render credit: Laurence Dragomir