But the $2.6 billion redevelopment of the area has breathed new life into Fortitude Valley’s neighbouring suburb, the once-industrial Bowen Hills.
The urban renewal project, developed by Lendlease, has included the construction of two residential buildings, two commercial buildings, a convention and events centre and the 208-room Rydges Hotel. A bevy of restaurants and shops have clustered around King Street, turning the precinct into an unexpected foodie destination just five minutes walk from Fortitude Valley’s popular Chinatown and only 1.6 kilometres from the CBD.
Restaurants and bars in the area include The George Bar & Bistro, Fat Dumpling and the 1000-seat food truck park Welcome to Bowen Hills, which opened in February.
Dominique Barakat, co-owner of King Street Italian restaurant Il Verde, says she has seen the precinct flourish since the eatery opened in 2016.
“It’s turned out to be very good. It’s got a nice feel and a nice vibe,” she says.
“Everyone’s a bit gobsmacked. They say, ‘isn’t it fantastic what’s gone in and what’s still to come?’ “
The King Street boom has clearly drawn attention from investors. Domain Group data scientist Dr Nicola Powell says 80 per cent of the homes in Bowen Hills are leased, signalling an active investment market.
“That is a huge proportion,” she says. “There is obviously a high demand for rental accommodation within that area.”
According to Domain Group figures, the median price for a unit in Bowen Hills has grown more than 10 per cent in the last five years, about double the rate of Fortitude Valley.
Powell says King Street is likely to benefit from its proximity to the Valley, as well as Brisbane’s CBD.
“I think King Street is that up-and-coming area and it is becoming a bit of a dining destination,” she says. “Fast forward a few years and I’m sure it’s going to look very different to what it does today.”
She says the precinct’s location is especially attractive to young professionals.
“Bowen Hills is dominated by apartments and the biggest age group is 20 to 34-year-olds,” she says. “It’s a very young demographic.”
Another group drawn to the area is likely to be interstate investors and first-home buyers, who are increasingly interested in the sunshine state as an alternative to Sydney or Melbourne.
The median house price in Sydney is more than double that in Brisbane, where median prices hover around the half-million dollar mark. Unit prices are cheaper too. The median unit price in Brisbane is $385,955, compared with $506,079 in Melbourne and $736,879 in Sydney.
Queensland’s capital city looks “very affordable” to people from Sydney or Melbourne, says Powell. And interstate migration to the state has been steadily increasing since 2015, thanks in large part to favourable property prices.
“Brisbane’s growth has been at a much slower pace, so house and unit prices haven’t surged as much as the other two cities,” she says. “When you look at the difference in price and what you can buy in each of these markets for half a million bucks, you can understand why many are choosing to relocate,” she says.
Investors from the southern states clearly see a future in the northern capital. Propertyology buyers’ agent and market researcher Simon Pressley told Domain last year that more than half of its inquiries about Queensland property came from Sydney investors.
“I think that part of that is really young professionals and families reevaluating their lifestyle choices,” says Powell. “People are priced out of the markets, in Sydney in particular, and they are looking to more affordable markets to purchase in, whether that’s an investor or whether that’s to uproot the family and actually move.”
The Yards Apartments
One residential project appealing to both investors and first-home buyers is The Yards Apartments, just above the award-winning French bistro Montrachet on King Street.
The Yards, which was completed last year, is the last residential offering on King Street in the heart of the large-scale Brisbane Showgrounds redevelopment scheme. The redevelopment master plan also includes the Royal International Convention Centre and Queensland’s first timber office building, 25 King.
The Yards comprises of 401 one and two-bedroom apartments, some of which are under $400,000. It also includes a 2500-square metre health and lifestyle podium with an outdoor cinema, resort-style pool, outdoor kitchen, yoga lawns and workout stations.
Head of apartments at Lendlease, Ben Christie, says The Yards is the last chance for buyers to invest in residential property on King Street.
“We believe that well designed and unique product that is supported by a vibrant lifestyle and amenity results in strong investment returns,” he says. “The Yards Apartments, sitting at the epicentre of the $2.6 billion Brisbane Showgrounds urban regeneration, delivers just that.”
Christie says The Yards is part of a larger transformation of King Street that will see more than 15,000 people living and working in the area by 2025.
“The rich urban lifestyle King Street can offer and the well-connected inner-city location is appealing to both investors and tenants alike and we are already seeing great interest,” he says.
“The significant price difference in the average investment property when comparing Sydney with Brisbane has opened up a unique opportunity, particularly in these precincts where rental demand and yields are so high.”
Originally Published: www.domain.com.au