Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013 - from Melbourne Australia

This is my 1st posting in 2013 and I am in Melbourne, Australia. I have been looking at extending my collection to Australia and Melbourne does seem like a good place to do it. Since 2008, I have been observing the market here and watching prices more than double and in some neighbourhoods, almost quadruple. There certainly were no regrets as back then, I don't really have the money anyway and the Aussie Dollar has been on a high over 3x our Malaysian Ringgit. RPGT in Australia is almost 50%, so any gains here would be off-set by tax and currency fluctuations. Nevertheless, Australia remains a good side to invest in for the future, considering the lifestyle, children's education, political stability and growth.

Landed properties, especially those in nice suburbs are particularly interesting and is now my main focus. Previously, I have been looking at apartments, a phenomena which is quite new to Australians and largely due to the influx of Asian immigration here. Just before the new year, Australian newspaper The Age reported that a glut is looming in the city. Here's for an interesting read and I would like to mention the Far East Consortium mentioned in the article below, a Hong Kong-based company that is owned by the owner of our ultra-dense expert, Mayland. It looks like they are exporting this concept to Australia...

City apartment 'frenzy'

Marika Dobbin, Jason Dowling

A ''FRENZY'' of apartment towers granted planning permission in one corner of Melbourne's CBD could squeeze thousands of new residents into four city blocks and change the character of the city.
The proposed concentration of developments - many of which include tiny one-bedroom apartments - could see Melbourne follow the lead of Asian cities such as Hong Kong for extreme density, according to a prominent planning academic.

Associate professor in environment and planning at RMIT, Michael Buxton, said: ''It's changing the character of the CBD that people love irrevocably and it's wrecking historic value.'' And property experts fear a glut of apartments could affect property values and rents.

Records from the Department of Planning show 7800 new apartments are proposed for a pocket to the city's west, bounded by La Trobe, William, Bourke and Spencer streets. The area is a microcosm of a citywide trend that began when the residential property market rebounded in 2010, on the back of strong population growth and government stimulus.
Within the Melbourne City Council area alone, about 52,000 new apartments in 201 residential developments are in the planning pipeline. However, researchers BIS Shrapnel, Charter Keck Cramer and ANZ have this year warned of an oversupply of apartments proposed in areas such as Southbank and the CBD that could cause property values and rents to fall.

The developments around King Street include Hong Kong developer Far East Consortium's Upper West Side project on the former power station site at 613-649 Lonsdale Street.

Construction has already begun on the first of four planned buildings of up to 176 metres that will have 2543 apartments, with ground-floor shops.

Another ''city within a city'' is planned across the road at the former Age site at 250 Spencer Street, which is being divided up between developers.

Almost 4000 apartments have been proposed for the site, with Southbank developer Central Equity already gaining planning approval for two towers.

Chinese developer Hengyi Australia has started construction of The William at 199 Little William Street, where 547 apartments are planned to be complete by early 2014.

While history shows many projects never get built, some experts predict the market will hit a record oversupply by 2014.

BIS Shrapnel senior manager Angie Zigomanis said it was ''the greatest concentration of new apartment development or potential for new apartment development'' recorded.

He said there would be a cascading effect through the market as CBD landlords find they have little to no capital growth for several years and have to discount rents to attract tenants.

Mr Zigomanis said this would dampen rents and property values in secondary locations, such as Northcote, Brunswick and Preston, which are also seeing an explosion in new apartments.
Professor Buxton, described the trend as a ''frenzy'' that threatened the viability of Melbourne's apartment market.

He said sizes of just 55 square metres for a one-bedroom apartment were common in overseas cities like Hong Kong, but new for Melbourne.

''The attitude of the approval authorities is, the more construction the better. It's a classic boom and bust mentality,'' Mr Buxton said.

''The government sees cranes on the skyline as indicators of progress, jobs and investment but there just is no oversighting of whether this is good for Melbourne, the danger it represents for small investors and the viability of the apartment market.''

Planning Minister Matthew Guy said Mr Buxton's comments were bordering on the offensive.
''The targeting of Chinese developers based on their ethnicity should be of concern to all Victorians,'' Mr Guy said. ''As usual, Mr Buxton's views are reflective of a zero-growth mentality.''
While many of the planned apartments around King Street will be marketed to offshore investors and financiers, some will never get the money to go ahead. Other landholders in the area will on-sell their sites with new permits, without any construction taking place, a common speculative industry strategy.

This will likely be the case for land behind a historic brick building at 640 Bourke Street, between King and Spencer streets. Australia Post, headed by former NAB chief Ahmed Fahour, has lodged an application that would include 560 apartments and just 249 car park bays.
It has tried to sell it four times, but would have more luck selling the site if it obtains a permit.


Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/city-apartment-frenzy-20121230-2c1hm.html#ixzz2GmN6jdDS

Of particular interests too, read 2500 apartments planned for former power station site

The development, dubbed Upper West Side by the Hong Kong-based Far East Consortium, would lead to 2500 apartments being built on the site of the old Lonsdale Street power station if approved.
Far East bought the site in 2008 and lodged plans with the state government last year to build four towers of between 31 and 50 storeys as well as a low-rise building of six storeys. An application to build a ''display home/marketing suite'' was issued by the City of Melbourne in February.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/2500-apartments-planned-for-former-power-station-site-20100427-tq3k.html#ixzz2GmQGCJ35

and Foreign buy-up flat out

FOREIGN developers have grabbed a 30 per cent share of Australia's apartment market, a trend not seen since the Japanese office and hotel development boom of the late 1980s.
Overseas investors are behind 13,000 apartments in 37 projects across the country. Based on the average number of apartments completed in 2011, that represents market share as high as 32 per cent, research from property group CBRE found

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/business/property/foreign-buyup-flat-out-20111220-1p3x6.html#ixzz2GmQkHzzR

or Asian money pours into city apartments

Frasers Property, a major Singaporean investor in Sydney's Central Park project on the old CUB site in Chippendale, is one of the largest foreign investors, accounting for 2900 apartments.
The second-biggest investor is Hong Kong's Far East Consortium, which is building 2600 apartments in Melbourne's billion-dollar Upper West Side project on Lonsdale Street. Malaysian, Chinese, Korean and Indian developers are huge investors too.

Read re: http://theage.domain.com.au/real-estate-news/asian-money-pours-into-city-apartments-20111221-1p4in.html


Live Long MU Fan said...

If you are looking for a "cheap" apartment in Australia, do consider NRAS apartments. I bought a shoe-size apartment in Melbourne....opposite Victoria Market and RMIT... Gross return is about 9%. However, net after agent fees, city charges is much, much less....

Anonymous said...

Same goes for all those post subprime investments in USA. After all the fees and taxes, maintenance, freeloader tenants, agent's fees, there is not much left even if investors paid 40% below the "bubble price".
Unless one can hold and wait for the next another bubble.