New Brisbane Apartments Hit All Time High

NEW apartment prices have jumped to a record high despite a drop in the number of sales.

The latest Brisbane Apartment Essentials report by Urbis shows the average sales price increased by $87,000 in the last quarter, driving the weighted average price up to $767,000 – the highest ever recorded by the property analysis firm.

The increase was driven by the higher average sales prices being achieved in the inner East Brisbane precinct ($1.33 million) and the Brisbane CBD ($1.28 million), according to the report.

It comes at the same time as a penthouse sold off-the-plan in the Brisbane CBD for over $6 million — six times the city’s median unit sales price.

The four-bedroom luxury pad has sold to a local Brisbane buyer, and is located on the 47th floor of the 443 Queen Stdevelopment being constructed by Cbus Property.

It is one of two penthouses in the striking building, with the second one launching to the market soon.

“We have already received a number of enquiries for the second penthouse and we are confident this will sell off-the-plan,” Cbus CEO Adrian Pozzo said.

Urbis Property Economics and Research director Paul Riga said owner-occupier buyers were responsible for the increased price points in the last quarter, representing 48 per cent of all buyers.

“Importantly, the majority of these sales are in projects that are in presale stage or under construction — indicating that buyers are becoming more willing to transact off-the-plan if the right opportunity presents itself,” he said.

Local and interstate investors accounted for 19 per cent and 16 per cent of sales respectively, according to the report.

Overall sales were down from 154 in the first quarter to 130 in the last quarter.

The Inner South (32 sales) and Inner North (33 sales) precincts both offered more affordable stock at $569,000 and $676,000 respectively, representing one third of all sales, according to the Urbis report.

Meanwhile, the latest Quarterly Apartment Report from Place Advisory is also predicting green shoots for the local apartment market, with that report suggesting prices had increased 1.7 per cent in the last quarter.

Place Advisory director Lachlan Walker said Brisbane remained a buyers market, with a lot of units available for 2008 prices.

But he warned that trend would not last, with no new major releases expected over the next six months.

“175 unconditional sales were recorded in inner Brisbane during the June quarter, up 31 from the previous quarter, and totalling $118 million,” Mr Walker said.

“The weighted average price — it’s a modest increase, but it’s promising.”

Currently on the market for under that average is a two-bedroom apartment on level eight in Bohemia at West End ($625,000), the last remaining off-the-plan two bedroom apartment in Lume at Kangaroo Point ($615,000) and a two-bedroom apartment in the Brisbane Skytower in the CBD (from $492,000). Just three apartments are left at the now completed Mode Newstead development.

The Place report said that at the end of the June quarter, only 21 per cent of the total new apartment market remained available for purchase.

Mr Walker said there were currently 54 projects being sold off the plan in inner Brisbane, but several of those developments had pushed back their expected completion dates.

“Of the 1936 new apartments currently available for sale, 30 per cent are expected to complete construction in the second half of 2018, 31 per cent in 2019 and the balance in 2020,” he said.

“This means remaining supply will settle in a more staggered nature, softening any potential negative impacts to the market.”

Realm Projects managing director Shane Foley, whose company markets new developments including Mode, said many buyers were also now opting to see the finished product before committing to a sale.

“From 2013 to 2016, off-the-plan sales were very strong in the Brisbane apartment market … but now, as the market has shifted, buyers are waiting for projects to finish construction, and as a result, sales figures for newly-completed developer stock have risen,” he said.

This trend was also recognised in the Urbis report.

“Resales of new product is certainly impacting the overall demand, but it also highlights that interest in Brisbane is still present, with positive investment and employment drivers giving buyers, particularly investors, added confidence.” Mr Riga of Urbis said.