“We are not discounting [the original prices of] apartments in Brisbane, but rather managing an orderly sell down of any remaining stock we have,” Metro marketing and sales general manager Phil Leahy said.
The FIRB has revealed a fall in foreign investment in new apartments in Australia.Source:Supplied
FOREIGN investment in Australia’s housing market has fallen, amid waning investor appetite and tighter lending standards.
OFFICIAL data has confirmed a collapse in approvals for foreign investment in Australia’s housing market, amid waning investor appetite, higher charges and tighter lending standards.
The Foreign Investment Review Board’s annual report reveals a 67 per cent fall in residential real estate approvals last financial year — down from 40,149 approvals to 13,198.
The value of FIRB approvals also plunged, from $72.4 billion to $25.2 billion in fiscal 2017.
The report reveals 18 per cent of approvals to foreigners were for residential real estate in Queensland in 2016-17.
Victoria and New South Wales remained the favourite destination for investment, accounting for nearly three-quarters of all approvals granted.
The FIRB said a significant factor contributing to the reduction in approvals was the introduction of application fees from December 2015.
“The introduction of fees resulted in investors only applying for properties they intend to purchase,” the report said
“Prior to the introduction of fees, individuals often made several applications earlier in the process when considering multiple properties, even though they might have only ended up purchasing a single property.
“This suggests that the resulting reduction in approvals may not imply a corresponding a reduction in actual investment in residential real estate. That is, the actual decline is likely to be lower than implied by the data.”
Along with the introduction of state-based taxes on foreign investors, the FIRB said weaker demand from China was another factor behind the decline in approvals granted.
Investment in new apartments from mainland Chinese investors dropped significantly in 2016-17.
AllenWargent Property Buyers chief executive Pete Wargent said the figures would have some significant impacts on the new apartment sector, construction trends, and the broader economy — especially in Sydney.
Mr Wargent said he expected Sydney to experience the greatest number of failed apartment projects, with increasing signs of discounting on new apartments.
“Perhaps this was an inevitable end-game for this cycle, where development has been too much skewed towards apartments for investors, and too little towards the types of medium-density dwellings that people want to reside in,” he wrote in his blog.
But Chinese international real estate website Juwai.com chief executive Carrie Law played down the reported decline in Chinese demand.
Ms Law said that in the second half of 2016, Chinese buyers were investing in Australian real estate at an almost irrational pace.
“It was like money falling from heaven for vendors and developers,” Ms Law said.
“In early 2017, capital controls, financing restrictions, and foreign buyer taxes reduced Chinese investment to more reasonable levels.
“Since November 2017, we seem to have entered a period of more sustainable long-term growth.”
Ms Law said Chinese buying enquiries for Australian property in March were 5.7 per cent higher than the month before and in April they were 22.3 per cent higher.
“Unfortunately, this year’s FIRB data is not directly comparable to that of prior years, due the change in regulations and buyer behavior,” she said.
“The big declines are partly due to lower demand, and mostly due to the changed application fees.”
Couple turns $145k into $7.5m
The massive 1.97Ha site of their family home sits in the middle of Wakerley, about 16km to the east of the Brisbane CBD – a popular area with families that’s been targeted for major subdivision work.
Property records released last week show a $7.5m deal was struck off market in late March, while just two years ago, the site was valued around $1.1m. It’s believed the property was bought for $145,000 in 1987.
Preparation for the development approval began last year, with the couple then selling to a firm that then filed a development application to split the site into 27 housing lots in the first stage and five lots in the second stage.
The large “rural” home site was surrounded by residential subdivisions on three sides and fronts Manly Road – one of the main feeder streets to the area. The new plans mean it will join seamless into the other subdivisions in the area.
The company that bought the site received development approval from the Brisbane City Council in May and waived the appeal period.
The previous highest price fetched in Brisbane’s east was at 114 Virginia Avenue, Hawthorne – an ultra-modern six bedroom, five bathroom, six car space home that sold for $7.48m in six years ago.
Built in 2008, the Viriginia Avenue home has solid concrete walls and floors over all levels, with full walls of glass fronting the river.
Metro Property’s discounts leftover Brisbane apartments
Want a bargain? Metro’s Newstead Towers in Brisbane has 20 per cent discounts. Supplied
Real estate agents are offering 20 per cent discounts on apartment sales at four of Brisbane-based developer Metro Property Development’s Brisbane CBD projects as the apartment market continues to face headwinds.
Along with 20 per cent discounts on one and two-bedroom apartments, buyers were being offered a 4.5 per cent rental one-year guarantee at Aqua Newstead, Broadway on Ann, Canterbury Towers, and Newstead Towers. These apply to apartments priced between low $400,000 to nearly $600,000.
The oversupply problem in Brisbane is heating up, with the Queensland Treasury now warning its apartment market could take a turn for the worse, especially if the bigger Sydney and Melbourne markets begin to falter.
But Metro said the discounts applied only to residual stock, not entire projects or launch prices, with residual discounting being part of a business-as-usual stock clearance.
“The heat has certainly come out of the Brisbane market from where it was a couple of years ago, but we see it as just back to normal market conditions with good buying opportunities and plenty of growth potential in the coming years to buyers entering the market now.
“We have already secured buyers for the four buildings and are in the run up to settling the last of these units over the next couple of months.”
He said discounts were sometimes offered by agents on their own accord, hoping developers would accept the lower prices.
“We see this all the time, however I can confirm there is no discounting to our [original] price lists and we have been successful in maintaining pricing levels thanks to the locations, amenity, inclusions and designs offered in the apartment projects we have been selling,” Mr Leahy said.
Discounts aside, a 4.5 per cent rental guarantee was reasonable and agrees with SQM Research’s data which show the latest rental yield for two-bedroom units in Brisbane was close to 5 per cent.
“We are taking an average of 18 days from handover to secure a tenant via our in-house rental team. Given this strong demand, we do offer a one-year rent guarantee to investors,” Mr Leahy added.
“We are having excellent success getting investors from both Melbourne and Sydney to look at Brisbane as a more affordable investment option than the other wo capitals vis-à-vis lower purchase prices with high rental yields.”
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