It’s fair to say that apartments are unlike any investment product on the market. There are considerations and strata regulations that require a different approach in order to fully maximise investor returns.
Kiarna Blythman knows too well about the subtle nuances that put apartments in a category of their own.
This is why, after eight years’ experience across all aspects of property leasing and management, Kiarna has joined M/Property as its Business Development Manager. She has assumed the role with a keen interest in demonstrating the value of specialist apartment management to rural owners of city apartments.
“Trusting your investment apartment to someone who only deals with stand-alone houses is like sending your boat to a car mechanic,” Kiarna said.
“There is no question that an apartment investment offers great benefits to those looking for a low-maintenance foothold in the urban marketplace, but there are definitely aspects where it is advantageous to have someone on the ground with knowledge of strata legislation, maintenance requirements and tenant selection tactics.
“M/Property only deals with apartment leases. It seemed a perfect fit for my scope of experience.”
Kiarna has held both ground-floor to senior positions in property sales and leasing, including Sales Administration, Strata Assistance to Property Manager and Leasing Manager.
She joins a highly experienced team of property experts and is backed by the expertise and resources of M/Group; a company that cut its teeth on apartment developments.
M/Group Managing Director, Mr Lloyd Clark, said the introduction of a property management firm to work exclusively in apartment leasing and management was done to fill a gap in the market.
“As a company, our vision has always been to provide our clients with a holistic experience, and we recognised early that engaging a standard property management business to assist our apartment investors did not provide an ideal outcome,” he said.
“Since we launched M/Property, we have grown to become one of Perth’s largest apartment management companies and have helped hundreds of investors through complex apartment and strata issues.
“Our extensive database of prospective tenants can be effectively matched with a depth of knowledge on most apartments complexes across the Perth CBD, Fremantle and surrounding suburbs.
”Kiarna is a welcome addition to our team and is available to provide more detail about our services and offer to anyone looking to upgrade their current management arrangement.”
For more information or to make an appointment with Kiarna, please contact 0499 909 116 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Downsizing Opens New Doors in LifeRead more
Jillian Marshallsay raised her family in a comfortable home in the Perth hills, but with the kids grown up and children of their own, it was time to consider her lifestyle options and take steps to be closer to her family. She purchased a boutique apartment at M/28 by Match in South Fremantle and hasn’t looked back.
Jillian is one an estimated 2.5 million Australian households with owners over 55 who have already downsized or thought about it (Ref: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI)).
The catalyst for her was when her son found the South Fremantle apartment and said, “mum this is for you – you need to get a life!”
“I do love the hills, the walks in the bush, the birds, (but) when you have aging parents and grandchildren, there’s no way you can actually fit everything in with work,” Jillian said.
“I needed a change for the next stage of my life and I wanted to be by transport and close to the beach. I wanted to walk everywhere; the shops, restaurants, cafes and the beach.
“Moving to the city is a total sea change for me!”
Like many others, Jillian purchased her apartment as part of a transition into retirement. She bought off-the-plan and had to visualise what she had invested in while it was under construction.
“It’s sort of better than I thought actually. It has a bigger kitchen than I visualised and I love the full-length windows. I’m happy with the open plan concept and I do like the big pots and the landscaping in the garden.
“I can just lock up and leave and go travelling if I want to and not have to worry about gardens or maintenance.”
Mr Lloyd Clark, Managing Director of Match parent company M/Group, said Jillian is one of a growing number of baby boomer clients moving into Match apartments.
“It is so rewarding to see many of our clients discover a new lifestyle through our apartment designs. They may have moved to the coast or swapped their suburban residence for the inner city, but most wonder why they hadn’t done it before,” he said.
“Apartment design is so different from cookie-cutter environments of the past that were built purely for investment purposes and to maximise space. Today, good developers consider everything from privacy to light, airflow and other comforts that would appeal to an owner-resident.”
“M/28 by Match has given Jillian and its other residents a central and coastal home-base in the thick of South Fremantle. The lifestyle and environment are hard to beat.”
M/28 by Match is a mixed-use building comprising of just 20 boutique apartments on the popular South Terrace coffee strip. The building is deliberately designed to present as understated with naturally inspired materials and palette, which take inspiration from the Fremantle culture and nearby heritage-listed community hot-spot, The Local.
Prices start from $440,000 for one-bedroom apartments and $550,000 for two-bedroom apartments.
For more information visit www.m28apartments.com.au or contact 0432 660 066.
Finding a Match Along Freo’s Coastal CorridorRead more
Chances are you won’t need to travel far along Fremantle’s coastal corridor before you are just metres from a Match apartment or terrace home project. With residences located in the City’s hub, as well as along the coast at the emerging and visionary Shoreline precinct and on the marina the established lifestyle environment of Port Coogee, the company’s growing portfolio of apartments and terrace homes is backed by a staunch confidence in the area and its continued growth potential.
Match entered the Fremantle market back in 2012 with the introduction of a leading-edge environmental design, aptly named The Summer, which received the first 5 star Green Star rating in WA. Match has since had sell-out successes and introduced design diversity to meet the aspirations of those drawn to the area’s unique lifestyle benefits.
Managing Director of Match parent company M/Group, Mr Lloyd Clark, said Match has had a love affair with Fremantle’s stretch of coastline for almost a decade.
“It’s strange to think back to when we first started investing in Fremantle, South Beach Estate was a little more than a concept and not many appreciated the proximity of suburbs just a little to its south,” he said.
“Since then, we have introduced apartments and terrace homes that are as diverse as the people attracted to them, and as we have continued to identify great lifestyle opportunities for our buyers, we’re so pleased that our footprint and architectural influence has expanded to cater to a broad range of lifestyle choices and styles.”
Available Match apartments and terrace homes throughout the area are located within the iconic Heirloom by Match rejuvenation project, M/27 by Match in Parry Street and M/28 by Match on South Terrace, with M/31 Terrace Homes by Match, M/32 Terrace Homes by Match and Form by Match located in the Shoreline Precinct and Port Coogee respectively.
“All our apartments respond to the specific environment in which they are located, so you will get a different look, feel and layout within a beachside apartment like Form by Match than you will with M/27 by Match in the heart of Fremantle, where the design is largely about maximising the amazing parkland views,” Mr Clark continued.
“We have never been one for homogenous design, which is why we have always been so drawn to the diversity and distinction of Fremantle and its coastal corridor. Where else would you be able to explore the broad scope of architectural option and innovations? It truly is a special place.”
Match apartments start from $335,000 and terrace homes from $550,000. They are all architecturally designed and include features such as signature high ceilings, spacious balconies or courtyards, quality fittings and fixtures.
For more information on Match and its apartment and terrace home portfolio visit www.itsamatch.com.au/freo or call 0432 660 066.
M/Construction’s Latest Completion – Quest Joondalup HotelRead more
Cutting-Edge Apartment-Hotel Project Consolidates Joondalup’s Burgeoning Growth
The last 20 years have been pivotal for Joondalup. As Mayor Albert Jacob notes, “The Joondalup city centre has flourished into a successful, highly liveable commercial, civic and cultural destination. Today marks another significant milestone in our journey, as work begins on this outstanding development.”
He was referring to Quest Joondalup, a new apartment-hotel property developed by M/Group and built by M/Construction that is strategically positioned in the primary urban centre of Perth’s outer northern suburbs. The city centre already accommodates the Lakeside Joondalup shopping centre, Edith Cowan University and Joondalup Health campus, as well as substantial local and international office and industrial tenancies.
Quest is Australia’s largest apartment-hotel operator for total properties, which are located in central business districts, and suburban and regional areas – with close proximity to head offices, business centres and key tourist destinations. The Joondalup location on Boas Avenue is seen as an excellent fit with Quest’s ongoing growth model in Western Australia.
Cutting-Edge Features for Contemporary Short-Stay Accommodation
Quest Joondalup is a 90 key hotel comprising studios and one and two-bedroom apartments. Its design concept takes advantage of the fact that studios are considered a great alternative to regular hotel rooms. They feature a comfortable king bed and kitchenette; while the one and two-bedroom apartments are equipped with a full kitchen and laundry facilities, providing a home-away-from-home experience that is ideal for families, professionals and larger groups.
The development is accessed off the street-front into a large entry lobby, including a central lift accessing all six levels, with commercial tenancies on the ground level (and the opportunity for a café/restaurant). The ground floor also includes a conference room, guest laundry and gym, plus on-site parking.
According to M/Construction Director Michael Read, the main challenges during construction included coping with busy traffic in Joondalup city’s main street. “This involved well-planned traffic management in advance due to council requirements and neighbours owning the right of way adjacent to the site, as they needed 24-hour access to the laneway for parking at their property.”
Due to the very tight construction program, the building design was modelled using a precast wall & floor system for speed and efficiency.
Hollow-core pre-cast concrete floor panels were used throughout the building to complete a floor each fortnight. This further facilitated the construction program, as the trades were able to gain access to the floor area below to commence their works under the main structure, which would usually be obstructed and inaccessible for a month by scaffold-props if the floor had been an in-situ suspended slab.
“As the design was progressing so rapidly we had to re-think how the balcony structures would be incorporated into the build. It was decided to be a post-fix bolt-on light-weight structure which enabled the main structure to continue unimpeded.
“In addition, the roof design was changed from a structural steel and sheeted roof to a flat concrete roof, which saved M/Construction a month in program time and ensured the building was watertight ahead of schedule and avoided the wet winter months. With the concrete flat roof, it also gave us the opportunity to re-locate all the mechanical plant and equipment as well as hot water services on the roof instead of being installed elsewhere, as there was limited space available within the property.”
Another challenge was the inability to lift or load goods and materials from the main street, so a designated area was created on-site to fit a tower crane and allow panel truck deliveries. “This was difficult with a limited lay-down area,” said Michael Read, “but was overcome by additional coordination and scheduling to ensure no clashes with deliveries.”
Also, when digging out the lift pit and crane base, rock pinnacles were discovered in the ground – slowing down the excavation process. Shared land with a church next door presented another new challenge, which was managed by regular meetings to ensure they were aware of all ongoing works.
Other significant features included:
- Protruding balconies incorporating bold colours to create a feature on the streetscape.
- A custom-designed floating deco-wood feature panel at entry, creating a delineation between the apartment-hotel and ground floor commercial tenancies.
- A fully-cladded lobby with feature wall panelling using a timber-look for a seamless transition from outside to the indoors.
- A landscaping design throughout the building inspired by the original site’s ground cover, which consisted of grass trees and other native Australian plants.
Committed to the Environment… and Enhancing Efficiency
As always with their projects, M/Group were focused on a firm commitment to sustainability. The landscaping featured Australian flora, easy to maintain and care for with minimal water consumption.
Minimum waste was also an important factor, according to Michael Read, and this was achieved by choosing specific products which were all accounted for during the build. “In addition, we used high-quality products and finishes to ensure the building’s longevity.”
The end result was recognised as a resounding success for all parties.
The project was completed on budget and on time, thanks to the implementation of construction suggestions for changes in materials aimed at building with greater speed and efficiency. Most of the changes in materials were structural components, such as the aforementioned pre-cast walls, hollow-core flooring, post-fixed balconies and concrete roof. The flat concrete roof also allowed the building team to waterproof the building faster and therefore create a safer environment for the near-finished apartments below.
As a large international operator, said Michael Read, Quest had strict briefs and guidelines in place. “We navigated these and worked closely with them to ensure these expectations were met to keep the client satisfied and achieve a positive outcome for all parties. We were also able to assist the client with last-minute design changes and upgrade requests; and regular safety and toolbox meetings were held to ensure all parties were informed throughout the build process.”
How to Improve the Occupancy and Profitability of an Investment PropertyRead more
While REIWA reported its September Quarter vacancy rate at an encouraging 2.9%, the stats drawn from apartment property management specialists, M/Property, were even lower at 1.97%. As experts in this sector, they believe there is always scope to improve the occupancy and profitability of an investment property.
M/Property is one of the only specialist apartment management and leasing companies in the State. With a dedicated leasing team and over 18 years’ experience in apartment management, the company manages over 600 apartments at any one time.
M/Property Senior Property Manager, Tammy Smith, says that even though the vacancy rate is low in WA, Perth apartment investors can still miss out on valuable and quality tenancies simply by not understanding what is important to the renter.
“We are experiencing a market shift in Western Australia towards long-term renting as a lifestyle choice. This represents an incredible opportunity for property investors,” she said.
“Unlike conventional homes where size and space are often the important factor, when it comes to apartments, location, presentation and flexibility are paramount to both the existing and emerging apartment rental market.”
Tammy says apartments close to community infrastructure, those with access to great facilities and ones outlooks tend to get snapped up, there are a range of other factors that a property investor can control to attract and retain great tenants.
- Sell the dream with professional photography
Rental properties traditionally don’t get the same promotional treatment as homes available for sale. However, in a competitive market, owners will get more interest and potentially higher rentals if they ‘sell the dream’ with professional photography during the marketing phase.
- Add value with furniture
While not for everyone, adding a furniture package to the mix can significantly increase the rental return. A well-furnished apartment can rent out for 25%-75% more than unfurnished apartments. The cost of furniture is also often tax deductable.
- Be flexible with pets
Pet-friendly apartments are increasing in demand as more renters opt for making their apartment a long-term home. In fact, many States across Australia are changing legislation to make it easier for pet ownership in rental properties. Why not get ahead of the game to lock good tenants in early.
- Engage an approachable team
There is nothing more off-putting to a renter than being made to feel like a second-rate citizen. Ensure your property management team are approachable and responsive to not only the renters’ concerns, but also yours.
Tammy says a property management team with a sound knowledge of strata management is also imperative for apartment investors, together with a good relationship with building/facility managers and a solid database of good tenants to source the best tenant for the apartment.
For more information on M/Property services visit www.mproperty.com.au.
Titles Arrive for Large Lot Wellard EstateRead more
Titles have been issued for the first tranche of oversized homesites located at the new-concept boutique estate, The Wedge. The event signals the completion of Stage 1, which already has some 30% of available land sold.
The Wedge is located on one of the last development sites within the sought-after Wellard North community. Homesites have been designed in response to a recognised family preference for larger land, with lot sizes ranging between 350sq.m and 475sq.m
Developer Mr John Wroth, Director of Monument parent company M/Group, said he is looking forward to heightened activity within the estate now that the land is ‘build-ready’. He said, being A-Class titled land with no bushfire conditions, owners will have the flexibility to select from a broad range of home styles and designs.
“There is no question that we successfully acquired a very special piece of land to work with at The Wedge. True to its name, the site is ‘wedged’ within one of the most sought after areas in the region. It is surrounded by the stunning Bulrush Nature Reserve, which is protected land that will continue to provide a natural shelter and lush green backdrop,” he said.
“Once in the estate, however, we are beginning to see a glimpse of the character and lifestyle features planned for the site. This includes large lot sizes based on market feedback, children’s playground and pump-track, walkways and ample public space. Together with the proximity to impressive community amenity, there is little wonder that the initial land release attracted so much momentum.”
The Wedge is located between the freeway and the ocean and is close to public transport, medical facilities, schools, shopping and just 30 minutes to Perth CBD.
It is being developed to a company philosophy that seeks to introduce a sense of distinction and character to an environment through considered design and special features. Such an approach is in keeping with the broader M/Group values and has already been highly successful at sister developments in Secret Harbour and Beeliar.
“As soon as you approach the entry statement at The Wedge, it is quite obvious that this is not a typical land estate,” Mr Wroth continued.
“We look beyond the standard ‘cookie-cutter’ environment to create a new style of estate that really sets it apart from the rest. This approach has now been successful across three consecutive estates and we are thrilled the market is responding positively.”
The Wedge is located on Bertram Road, Wellard North and Stage 1 homesites start from $174,000.
For more information visit www.thewedgewellard.com.au or contact Damyn Strang 0434 070 654.
M/28 by Match is a modish addition to the eclectic South Terrace neighbourhood built with a nod to the past and a high five to the future in one of the most desirable and vibrant corners of the greater Fremantle area.
Located in the heart of South Fremantle on the iconic South Terrace café and restaurant strip, M/28 by Match is a three-storey mixed-use development comprising of 20 apartments and 6 commercial tenancies to the ground floor designed to achieve a 4-star green rating. Of the 20 apartments, there are four 1×1, three 2×1 and thirteen 2×2 apartments with a mixture of single and split-level apartments.
M/28 is designed with coastal dwellers in mind including most South Terrace facing apartments enjoying views across the harbour whilst the apartments on the south-side of the building benefit from two private courtyards for entertaining and outdoor living.
The apartments are accessed from the pine-tree-lined Charles Street into a private lobby which includes a lift to all levels and a main stair-well showcasing feature tiling and a timber slatted ceiling with detail lighting.
Michael Read, Director of M/Construction (part of M/Group), said “The building appeals more to the owner occupier market and astute investors typically wanting two-bedroom apartments. The considered building layout creates a diverse housing solution that responds to changing social demographics.”
Designed by David Barr Architect in collaboration with Cameron Chisolm Nicol the building includes protruding box shapes on the north and south elevations finished with a Venetian plaster creating a standout feature along with unique vertical slats that encompass the building in certain areas. These elements help set M/28 apart from its surrounding structures.
The slatted balconies along South Terrace also incorporate a full length shelf angle which is beneficial to the residents as a countertop for décor and entertainment. In addition, the residents have access to a common courtyard on the first floor with Australian native planting in concrete planters. Greenery and vegetation has also been added to the southern rear entrance off South Terrace.
Designed with contemporary coastal living in mind while respecting the fabric of South Fremantle’s past.
In collaboration with the architects, M/Construction Project Manager, Joshua Stott explained how plans were amended to change levels of the original building design.
“The building’s form and scale were developed with respect for neighbours, stepping from three storeys at one end to two at the other, thereby negotiating the height change between an existing heritage pub on one side and single storey housing on the other.
“On its southern boundary, where the project abuts an existing heritage house, the building height was stepped down and then later, following negotiation and collaboration with the local authority and neighbours, altered to further reduce the effects of overshadowing and overlooking.
“The two-storey high brick boundary parapet wall on the eastern side, which was originally part of the existing factory that was demolished, had to be incorporated into the new building design.
Internally, the finishes of the apartments flow from the industrial to the contemporary which is achieved using timber and light, concrete-look colour schemes along with matte-black accents. The project team were also able to accommodate purchaser design changes with minimal disruption to the program.
Each apartment has a contemporary and eclectic mix of materials, textures and finishes that evoke a uniquely South Fremantle feel.
For the external finishes Joshua noted that “Due to the close proximity of the ocean, the project required extra attention to the selection of some materials and products such as stainless-steel hardware and treatment of the external metal work finishes.
“All screens were originally designed to be timber. However due to the fire requirements & regulations they were redesigned to be aluminium wood-look screens which is better for future maintenance and longevity.”
Minimum waste was another important factor and it was achieved by choosing specific products which were all accounted for during the build.
Coordinating a project amidst the busy pedestrian and road traffic of South Terrace was a logistical challenge for Joshua and his construction team. “Main challenges included ensuring neighbours, including residents and businesses, were not impeded by our construction schedule. There was pressure from both boundaries regarding their concerns with disruptions.
“To combat this both myself and the Site Manager had regular meetings with them, providing open communication, and keeping them up-to-date with different construction milestones and all potential impacts to them.”
All challenges were able to be overcome and therefore enable construction of the project to be completed three weeks ahead of schedule.
M/Construction have a transparent and flexible process on delivering the best possible outcome to the client, while at the same time maintaining a strong sense of control over a project’s development. This approach provides a number of benefits — shortened program times, improved value and the opportunity for innovation.
Find out more about M/Construction here www.mconstruction.com.au