On the discussion panel at The Urban Developer's Residential Development Summit, I spoke to a “trend of extremes” in the Brisbane Unit Market. This term is based on our observations over the past 12 months with settlement risk at an all-time high, largely impacted by poor valuations.
With some of Brisbane’s off-the-plan projects reaching completion and experiencing valuation results containing the greatest shortfalls on record, buyer confidence is understandably low.
On the other end of the scale, Cue had the pleasure of delivering a number of exceptional projects that achieved the highest rate of valuation results to consistently reflect contract prices. This resulted in reduced contract fall overs and fewer settlement delays, not to mention a positive customer experience.
Based on these reports and Valuer feedback, the results can be accredited to a number of factors including; high quality product with stand out amenities, strong comparable sales (within the required criteria) as well as a high standard of finish and presentation upon inspection.
This is where Cue can bring focus and experience. Don’t leave valuations to chance and let the success of your project fall short at the last hurdle. Too often it is the responsibility of the Project Team, Sales Agent or even the Admin staff to present a project to the Valuers and the concept and quality being delivered is not recognised.
The team at Cue specialises in this process, from preparing effective valuation reports containing key project and market data to facilitating professional valuation inspections that best showcase the project and highlight it’s features. Cue is able to leverage established relationships and engage the Valuers early to understand challenges in the market and opportunities within the project, enabling us to mitigate the settlement risk.
Brisbane's apartment and unit market is gradually recovering after an investor boom saw a glut in construction.
Photo: AAP/Darren England
Brisbane’s unit market is “like a snake that’s swallowed a possum” still trying to cope after an unprecedented construction boom, one expert says.
As a consequence, developers are thinking differently about the market, in terms of both what they are building and why.
At a residential property summit held by The Urban Developer in Fortitude Valley on Friday, experts in the retail sector noted how quickly Brisbane had grown up from being a “country town” to a metropolitan space with high inner-city living demand.
“I think probably the simplest way to describe it is the market is like a snake that’s swallowed a possum, and it’s just digesting it for a period of time,” Colliers International residential director Andrew Scriven said.
Mr Scriven said the city had seen “unprecedented” sales several years ago - upwards of 8000 a year - but that rate was rapidly declining. The market was trying to right itself, or “taking a breather”, he said.
“Before we went through this transformational change in the marketplace in terms of investor stock and inner-city living … the Brisbane apartment market was somewhere doing between 1500 and 2000 sales a year.
“Obviously it changed ... inner-city living became a norm, town plans changed to allow for high density and we were able to … import buyers, and we did it exceptionally well.”
Mr Scriven said the “imported” buyers helped change the market but sales were softening and the number of projects being developed had dropped.
“There’s just a little bit of indigestion, so things are working their way out,” he said.
He said while the market was often being referred to as a different market, it was in fact simply returning to the pre-investor-boom market of the early 2010s, with projects still successfully completed.
Despite the hiccups, Brisbane’s situation was positive compared to the southern markets, with growth continuing and interest from interstate continuing, he said.
Cue Property Settlements director Leah Kent described the market as “very challenging” with a “trend of extremes”.
“Projects that have massive shortfalls is one extreme, and that can be anywhere from high price points to neighbouring comparable sales, which is obviously a massive factor when it comes to valuation results,” she said.
“I’ve never seen so many projects that have been successful, and there’s been a real opportunity there for developers to do well.”
Ms Kent noted a similar trend highlighted by other experts at the summit: high value and high quality apartment developments were selling better in Brisbane than lower quality.
As the glut of units left Brisbane’s market in recovery, the focus shifted from quantity to quality, and from investors to owner-occupiers.
Architect and Cottee Parker director Sandra Browne said she was increasingly being called in as part of marketing campaigns to sell high-end apartments to baby boomers with demanding standards.
But wasn't just wealthy retirees are turning back to apartments but families as well.
Instead of owning and maintaining a large house, Ms Browne said some families with children were increasingly turning to apartment living as a more cost-effective and comfortable lifestyle.
The difference was their requirements for a high-end experience.
“It’s fair to say that the amenities have come a long way in the past few years,” Ms Browne said.
“It’s no longer good enough to put in a pool and a gym, you’ve really got to put in a lot more than that at this end of the market.”
Instead, she said, the amenities needed to go beyond retail spaces or open space to such specialised items as firepits, yoga lawns and even wine cellars.
"That was a real conversation starter for that particular project. The agent told me everybody wanted to know about the firepit," she said.
“I think there’s a real emphasis on wellness, so places you can roll your mat out on the rooftop and do a bit of yoga, steam rooms, that sort of thing.
“We’re seeing that is the trend now, the wellness trend.”
Ms Browne said features such as private dining were becoming a standard in high-end properties designed to attract the cashed-up owner occupier.
Source: The Age by Lucy Stone
Settlement Management and customer service go hand in hand but the reward for satisfied customers doesn’t end with settlements. With loyalty comes word of mouth, customer referrals and repeat purchases which will set you apart in an increasingly competitive market.
Contact Cue today to find out how your project could benefit from our tailored services.
by Leah Kent
by Leah Kent
by Leah Kent
by Leah Kent
Whichever side of the fence you sit on Brisbane’s apartment supply debate, don’t bury your head in the sand when it comes to settlement risk.
Let me share with you, my top five tips for reducing the risk of cancellation while promoting my other two key objectives, increasing referrals and encouraging repeat purchases.
Standard & Poor’s has waded into the volatile debate on Australian apartment prices, noting a rising shadow of depreciation.
The ratings agency, in its latest report into the state of the Australian housing market, echoed statements from the Reserve Bank in saying “settlement risk” was on the rise, particularly in two of the nation’s top three markets.
“There is growing concern over the large volume of new unit stock coming to the market, in addition to the already-existing supply, particularly in inner-city postcodes. This is more pronounced in Melbourne and Brisbane,” S&P said. “The increase in supply of units, coming at a time of tightening in lending conditions, could raise settlement risk.”
The S&P report came as building approvals data released yesterday revealed the apartment building boom had yet to fade. The Australian Bureau of Statistics data showing an 8.1 per cent jump in multi-unit dwellings during April.
The Housing Industry Association said apartment approvals were driven by the eastern seaboard states with approvals jumping by 20 per cent in Queensland, 19 per cent in NSW, and 7 per cent in Victoria. South Australia also posted an increase of 3 per cent.
Off-the-plan developments were the primary source of concern for S&P, with the lag between the contract being signed and final settlement potentially seeing some buyers walk away.
S&P said property prices could be affected by the spectre of oversupply along with the tighter lending standards.
“While some of the decline in investment demand has been offset by increased demand from owner-occupiers, we believe falling participation by investors in the property market has affected property price growth to some extent,” the report said.
However, the ratings agency sees little chance of a “sharp correction” in the near-term and believes the market is more immune to an economic downturn than the average, given incentives pushing Australians to pay off their home loans quicker, robust regulatory standards and a strong local culture to pay off debts.
Source: The Australian by Daniel Palmer
Inner-city apartment prices could be affected by a wave of new properties coming onto the market at the same time as some off-the-plan buyers struggle to settle on their purchases, Standard & Poor's says.
The credit ratings agency has highlighted fears of an oversupply of apartments in Melbourne and Brisbane especially, alongside "settlement risk", caused by tougher bank lending rules.
Despite the commentary, which comes after the Reserve Bank warned about the risks to bank loans of property developers building apartments, S&P said it did not expect an increase in home loan defaults.
Reserve Bank figures, published on Tuesday, also showed further slowing in housing credit growth in the year to April, led by weaker growth in lending to investors.
Amid an apartment building boom in many of Australia's biggest cities, S&P analysts said in a report published on Tuesday that the balance between supply and demand for property, appeared to be narrowing, especially in the apartment market.
"There is growing concern over the large volume of new unit stock coming onto the market, in addition to the already-existing supply, particularly in inner-city postcodes. This is more pronounced in Melbourne and Brisbane," the S&P report said.
Settlement risk increases
The new units will be coming onto the market at the same time as banks have tightened their lending to property investors, especially those from overseas and buyers of high-rise apartments.
Many banks are requiring investors to stump up bigger deposits, which raises "settlement risk" if off-the-plan buyers had assumed they could get a bigger loan when they put down their 10 per cent deposit.
"This is of particular concern for off-the-plan developments, which have a lag between the contract being signed and final settlement. Property prices could be affected, particularly if new units coming up for settlement are in competition with existing supply," S&P said.
Moody's also said last week that settlement risk had increased because of a fall in inward investment in residential property from China.
Westpac, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank have all in recent months tightened or stopped lending to overseas buyers, who tend to be big buyers of off-the-plan apartments.
Banks also cracked down last year on lending to domestic property investors, in response to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority's 10 per cent cap on housing investor credit growth.
Figures from the RBA on Tuesday showed housing investor credit growth slowed to 6.5 per cent in the year to April, from 7.1 per cent.
ANZ Bank economists said the slower growth in mortgage lending would be welcome news to officials who had been concerned last year about the market overheating, especially as the May interest rate cut was likely to stimulate the property market.
Lending to owner-occupiers rose to 7.3 per cent, while business credit also strengthened, lifting to 7 per cent, its quickest annual pace since early 2009.
The Reserve Bank also said in April there was potential for banks to make "large losses" from soured loans to property developers, amid concerns of a looming glut of apartments in parts of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Even so, the latest round of financial results showed low levels of mortgage stress, despite some lift in troubled loans in mining areas.
S&P's report, an annual overview of the market for mortgage bonds, which lenders issue to raise money, says the proportion of mortgage borrowers falling behind on their repayments has drifted higher for the past five months, especially in mining states Western Australia and Queensland.
The rise in arrears was the result of mining workers moving into lower-paid jobs, it said, adding that as the jobs market was "relatively stable" it did not expect higher arrears to translate into a rise in mortgage defaults.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald by Clancy Yeates