Developers of smaller apartments projects across Perth say some of the state government’s recent measures to stimulate economic activity and employment in light of COVID-19 are good in theory, but may not meet expectations in practice.
Among the measures is a streamlined assessment process for ‘significant developments’, defined as those projects with an estimated cost of at least $30 million or new residential buildings proposing more than 100 dwellings.
Developer and architect Barry Baltinas hopes the approvals process for the smaller, high-end apartment projects he focuses on could also be streamlined.
“These smaller projects can get off the ground very quickly, helping to create jobs and incomes for Perth families at a time when that is very much needed,” Mr Baltinas told Business News.
“Now more than ever, buyers are putting their health and the health of their family in focus, and boutique living aligns with that.”
Baltinas’s latest project, the $19 million Habitat Residences in Applecross, recently completed construction and features 14 apartments and three penthouses.
Mr Baltinas said the lack of shared facilities at the projects had proved to be a drawcard, particularly in recent weeks.
“It not only means fewer maintenance costs, but brings fewer health implications, which is obviously top of mind for many buyers right now,” he said.
“We’re seeing more activity in the market, in particular from those downsizers who have not been greatly impacted financially by recent events.”
M/Group managing director Lloyd Clark said there had been a lot of speculation about the potential negative impact of COVID-19 on the property industry, but the company’s apartment arm Match, which mostly develops 30-40 dwellings over three to five storeys, had not adjusted its pipeline.
“Boutique product holds its value,” Mr Clark told Business News.
“It’s important to note that the apartment market is heavily impacted by continued population growth, and an emerging generation that values central urban living over the half-acre block.”
Mr Clark said this would continue to increase demand for quality product in desirable locations.
“If the government’s mandate is to stimulate the economy and fast track project development, it needs to approach all areas of the property sector equally,” he said.
“We believe it is absolutely counterproductive for the government to favour one style of dwelling over another in any capacity.
“There is a whole market sector that would never consider high-density living, so disadvantaging them with time delays does not service anyone.”
Excerpt from Business News – 22 June 2020
A Terrace Home Affair for MatchRead more
Most people know that Match has been a significant trailblazer for the Perth apartment living scene. This well-earned distinction was bestowed over two decades ago when the company founders challenged Perth’s planning code and pushed design parameters to protect our streetscapes from large unsightly ‘cookie-cutter’ apartment product.
The introduction of cutting-edge boutique apartment design into our urban environments was something many had not seen before, and the company’s ability to secure highly visible and strategic lifestyle sites made everyone sit up and notice.
Today, Match is still delivering a stunning range of apartment designs and the market is now fully aware of the benefits apartment living can provide.
So, why is the company shifting its attention to Terrace Homes?
After its enormous success in the apartment sector, Match recently stunned its followers by introducing two projects that have moved away from its recognised apartment formula.
M/31 Terrace Homes and M/32 Terrace Homes are located in Landcorp’s visionary Shoreline Precinct in North Coogee.
The two projects are idyllically positioned just metres from the coastline and, like all other Match product, are distinctive in design and layout.
Lloyd Clark, Managing Director of Match parent company, M/Group, said the new category of housing was an exciting shift for the Match design team, but was not such a huge leap in terms of the company’s design philosophy.
“Every one of Match’s projects is distinctive in many ways, because we design specifically for the location and the residents we hope to attract to it,” he said.
“There is no doubt that Perth’s perception of apartment living has changed over the years, and that more and more people are moving away from the half acre block on the fringes of the city to a more lifestyle-driven atmosphere closer to the action.
“When we secured these incredible sites at Shoreline, we saw an opportunity to give our residents an experience that sits somewhere in between.”
M/31 Terrace Homes by Match are well-appointed three-bedroom terrace homes that include open plan layouts that integrate indoor and outdoor living. Each home comes with a double carport, private and sheltered courtyard, and is architecturally designed to maximise light, space and breeze.
M/32 Terrace Homes by Match is based on a unique architectural style that uses beautifully landscaped laneways and a central lawn area to create a sense of privacy, serenity and space. The terrace homes are designed to be ultra-modern and their floorplans are spacious laid out across three stories.
“As the apartment market has evolved, so too has Match’s desire to keep meeting the demand of people who want the best out of their lives and their home environments,” he said.
“We helped to break the mould of apartment living back in the early 2000’s, now we’re looking to bring even more to the table in terms of innovation and style.”
Prices for M/31 Terrace Homes by Match start from $550,000 and M/32 Terrace Homes by Match start from $685,000.
Government Grants a Welcome Injection for Land BuyersRead more
Government incentives to buy land and build new homes has sent demand for land skyrocketing, according to Perth land developers.
“We are only weeks in from the state and federal governments’ stimulus announcement and the response has been significant,” Monument parent company M/Group Director John Wroth said. “So much so, that we expect to sell our current stock across all projects within a month.
“This is absolutely monumental. People are quickly responding to the prospect of up to almost $70,000 in incentives. Those who previously could only budget for outer-fringe areas might now be able to afford the more desirable land close to the city such as Beeliar, Piara Waters and Treeby.”
“However, this is a finite window of opportunity and I would strongly encourage anyone looking to get a foothold in the more sought-after areas to act quickly before prices adjust to demand.”
Cuttone Property Group Managing Director Phil Cuttone has also witnessed a significant growth in interest.
“We are seeing a significant spike in sales with most developers having to now consider constructing more lots to bring on new stock as quickly as possible before the December 31 grants deadline,” he said.
“The next three to four months should see titled stock being depleted across all urban areas around Perth, especially in affordable first homebuyer areas.”
“Lifestyle areas such as North Dandalup and West Pinjarra are also benefiting from land uptake where a significant increase of sales is evident.”
While this current period may be welcomed by developers, the future of the land market is dependent on a number of factors, from employment and migration growth to affordability, according to Mr Cuttone.
“Once we can look beyond the COVID-19 implications, the outlook may be positive in Western Australia compared to the eastern states, where the land prices have been at artificial highs compared to Perth which has experienced the opposite,” he said.
“I have an optimistic view of the recovery in the Perth land market for the future, anticipating that land prices will be steady for the next few years after the end of the grants, given that there is an oversupply of affordable land coming onto the market in the future.”
Mr Wroth said while land stock was being quickly bought up, buyers were spoilt for choice.
“Land buyers are certainly not starved for choice with four corridors of development and some very attractive infill land sites on the table,” he said.
“The market shake-up could have some impact on zoning, with some high-density zoned sites possibly changing to direct land subdivision.”
“However, this will all be dependent on the state and federal governments’ ability to maintain demand and stimulate the economy through the job creation, migration and improved relations with our South East Asian neighbours.”
“It is important to recognise that the property market is strong aligned to a good economy.”
The land market has been performing well recently, according to REIWA data witnessing 5049 sales for the year to March 2020, with a median price of $248,000 and 5.1 per cent change in prices for the year.
Piara Waters and Baldivis we two hotspots for land sales, witnessing 201 and 192 sales, respectively.
While the average days on the market for the land was 60, some areas like Bedford and Kinglsey witness an average of 299 and 329 days on the market, respectively.
Most areas of Perth have seen price increases, with Perth south eat witnessing a 7.1 per cent increase for the year, while the inner suburbs or Perth suffered and 10.1 per cent decrease.
Excerpt from The West Australian Property Report, 20 June 2020
Not All Land Estates Are The SameRead more
How to make your Government incentives work harder for you
It’s an exciting time for land buyers! Government incentives have made it the most affordable time to build your own home in over a decade, and land options are plentiful across all four corridors of Perth’s metropolitan areas.
But before you dive into making the dream of building your own home a reality, it’s important to consider the long term value prospects of this extremely rare opportunity.
According to Mr John Wroth, Director of Monument parent company M/Group, your choice of estate today could have a massive impact on how much the home delivers in the future.
“These are unprecedented times for those looking to build their own home. The Government incentives could effectively save up to $70k on a house and land package, and we are already experiencing the thrust of buyers wanting to take advantage of the opportunities,” he said.
“However, not all land estates are the same and there are clear indicators that you can look for in an estate now that will give you a higher return when you’re ready to sell in the future.”
Here’s how you can increase the value of your Government incentives.
Stay close to the action
Homes in the inner suburbs of the city will invariably attract higher values than those on the fringes.
Equally, as the population grows and subdivisions expand, the inner suburbs will become more sought-after due to the limited supply of land availability.
People will always want to live closer to the action, and the closer you are, the higher the price you will achieve.
Look for good amenity
Being close to shopping centres, schools, transport and community infrastructure, such as parks and walking trails, will always add value to a home.
Today, some developers are investing a great deal into high-quality amenity and facilities that not only attract a thriving community but also gives residents a broader lifestyle experience that extends beyond their four walls.
Find something special
If an estate stands out for you now, chances are the future buyer of your home will feel the same.
Take notice of carefully considered features within an environment that help to create an important point of difference. This could be the deciding factor between your home and another when someone is considering a purchase.
Also make sure the estate isn’t too large. An over-supply of similar stock will increase the competition when your home hits the market.
Fastrack your investment potential
It’s easy to be swept away by the potential of an estate, but how long will it take to get the promised amenity.
Most estates progress in line with the number of lots sold, which means earmarked shopping centres and schools may be pushed out longer than you anticipate depending on market factors.
Ideally, find a location with established infrastructure. This will not only give you immediate access to the benefits the amenity provides, but also the assurance that your home ‘package’ is ready for sale when you choose to hand it over.
Not all estates are the same. Monument is a boutique land developer that offers infill land sites within established areas. It prides itself on delivering a well-considered development design that introduces something unique and special into the marketplace – enhancing future resale or rental prospects.
“Monument tries to tick all the boxes in terms of maintaining and improving property values for its owners. We design our estates around the environment’s natural topography, materials, rocks, trees and other plant life and we are always looking for ways to weave creativity and interest throughout our developments,” Mr Wroth continued.
“Our estates continue to attract a great deal of attention and it’s an added bonus to us that we can future-proof our buyers’ investment.”
Monument’s current land portfolio includes The Wedge in Wellard North, Atop in Beeliar and Hamelin Park in the coastal community of Secret Harbour with other opportunities coming on board in the near future.
For more information visit www.landbymonument.com.au.
Can isolation inoculation hold for apartments?Read more
Prices and sales of apartments are stable, but developers are calling for more stamp duty reform.
Western Australia’s property developers hope the physical isolation that has helped mitigate the worst of COVID-19 in this state will also insulate the local apartment market from a contagion of a different kind.
While sales of off-the-plan apartments on the east coast are reportedly down 15 per cent or more in recent weeks, that trend is yet to fully materialise in Perth, at least anecdotally.
Apartments in central Perth have remained relatively resilient during the past three years in terms of maintaining their resale values, according to research analysts PropertyESP.
Director Samantha Reece said this resilience, paired with Perth’s location, had so far buffered the market from the economic fallout of COVID-19.
“For the first time in history we are actually glad that we’re isolated,” Ms Reece told Business News.
“While there will be some national companies that feel the effect from the east coast – there is a bit more of a lag happening there than here – those companies based in WA, I believe, will actually continue on business as usual.”
That appears to be the case for Subiaco-based Stirling Capital, which recently achieved practical completion at its 26 on Charles mixed-use development in South Perth.
Stirling Capital sales and marketing director Daniel-Paul Filippi said just a small number of the 28 boutique apartments and four levels of commercial office space remained for sale.
“In terms of valuations, we’ve had zero impact,” Mr Filippi told Business News.
“I’ve had all the major valuers through our Charles Street project and we’ve had no problem.
“People are waiting to see if there’s going to be those sorts of big drops that have been reported [on the east coast]. We didn’t have a lot of foreign buyers anyway, so I don’t see as much impact.”
Mr Filippi said the market’s saving grace could be the resources sector, as one of the key drivers of the state’s economic activity.
“The fact is, WA is still ticking along, so everything is indicating that maybe WA and Darwin will be the least affected by all of this,” he said.
M/Group managing director Lloyd Clark said there had been less disruption on projects than initially anticipated, with inquiries returning just as quickly as Perth moved through the easing of restrictions. Mr Clark said inquiries had also tended to be more qualified and ready to buy.
Given that market confidence, the group is pushing ahead with plans to start construction on its M/27 apartment development in Fremantle.
“In terms of valuation, Perth is in a unique position comparative to the rest of Australia,” Mr Clark said.
“Our property values were already at the lower end of the property cycle, and apartment prices currently represent excellent value for money.
“While the fallout of the pandemic might create value variances in other states, I believe it is unlikely in Perth.
“In light of the activity over the last few months, I would expect to see apartment prices on our projects hold as the market restabilises and returns to growth in 2021.”
M/Group is progressing plans to start construction on its M/27 40-apartment development in Fremantle.
Apartment developer Paul Blackburne is also expecting prices to remain steady, and said COVID-19 had not yet affected sales, with most of his apartment stock already sold.
Blackburne’s Marina East development, located in Ascot Waters, finished construction in May with 80 per cent of apartments sold.
“The past 12 months have been our highest-selling year on record with $203 million in sales in just the first nine months,” Mr Blackburne told Business News.
“Now that things are opening up more and the major threat of the crisis is most likely over, people have started buying in larger volumes.
“Prices had gone up for four months in a row. The next year would have seen 3 to 5 per cent growth.”
Outlook Data compiled by real estate services firm JLL revealed that apartment sales in the inner city were down 3.9 per cent in the 12 months to the fourth quarter of 2019.
However, apartment sales activity was up 12.5 per cent in the fourth quarter on the preceding three months.
JLL manager of strategic research Ronak Bhimjiani said this had most likely been fuelled by the 75 per cent stamp duty rebate on off-the-plan purchases.
Additionally, Mr Bhimjiani said apartment values increased by 1.7 per cent in Perth between November 2019 and February 2020, a figure not seen since mid-2013 during the peak of the resources boom.
“The long-awaited recovery in Perth’s apartment market is likely to be delayed, as COVID-19 keeps conditions challenging in the short term,” he said.
“However, it is important to note that current economic and property market data does not yet fully capture the full impact of COVID-19.”
Any anticipated drop in demand could be partially offset by supply, with construction expected to cool off beyond 2020.
Mr Bhimjiani said there were about 380 apartments across a handful of smaller boutique developments likely to be completed in 2021.
Meanwhile, for larger developments previously set for 2021 completion, he said project timelines had been pushed out to 2022, with further economic uncertainty potentially limiting new starts.
“Many of these projects that are in the early stages of marketing or at the development approval stage could slip into later years or be abandoned if sufficient pre-sales are not achieved and economic conditions do not improve,” Mr Bhimjiani said.
“The impact on pricing will ultimately be dependent on the supply versus demand dynamics in the Perth apartment market.”
Finbar managing director Darren Pateman said stamp duty relief would be the best way to boast sales and development activity.
The ASX-listed property development company recently announced it had completed construction of its One Kennedy Maylands project, with sales of $23.5 million secured to date, representing 43 per cent of apartments.
Mr Pateman said there hadn’t been any immediate shift in apartment values, with all recent Finbar contracts at pre-COVID-19 pricing.
“The Perth market was already at one of its most affordable levels pre-COVID, in contrast perhaps to eastern states markets, which were experiencing far higher levels of growth,” Mr Pateman told Business News.
“WA has done it tough for near on five years and pre-COVID we were clearly entering a recovery phase, while eastern states markets have been boiling over for some time.
“Extending the stamp duty rebate beyond off-the-plan sales to projects under construction and new completed stock to encourage commencements will allow vital capital to be redirected to new job creating projects for thousands of Western Australians.”
Mr Pateman said this would help revive the WA economy as it moved into the recovery phase post COVID-19.
Mr Blackburne shared similar thoughts and said further stamp duty reform could also lead to long-term reductions in local council rates, with the greater rates flowing from higher-density developments better supporting council operations and budgets.
Mr Clark agreed and said the role of government was critical to maintaining buyer confidence, which could be achieved by additional stamp duty relief by way of rebate or discount.
“This is about keeping the market moving in the right direction and buyer incentives are proven and successful in this space,” he said.
“Government and industry alike have a significant role to play here.”
Business News – Katie McDonald, Thursday, 4 June, 2020
Subiaco offices at unrepeatable valueRead more
Why rent when it’s cheaper to buy, says Amanda Spagnolo, who is selling two new offices at 217 Hay Street, Subiaco. “It is remarkable value for prime commercial real estate,” Amanda, project sales manager at M/Property, said.
They are the last remaining offices in the Rhythm by Match building, which has a total of 27 commercial offices and 9 apartments. Priced from $285,000 plus GST, No.11 is 75sq.m and comes with a car bay. No.18 is slightly bigger and has two bays. The 87sq.m office is on the market from $335,000 plus GST. “They are being offered at well below replacement value, creating an incredible opportunity for the future,” Amanda said. “Both have never been occupied so are brand new ready to fit out as desired.”
Other tenants in the building include a newsagent with a licensed post office, accountant, life coach, real estate agent and a beauty salon. The architect-designed building stands out from other commercial offices in the strip because of its timber-cladded façade. At its centre is a patterned, perforated screen that provides natural light into the common areas. For more details, phone Amanda on 0432 660 066 or email@example.com
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.”