South Brisbane has been ranked Australia’s top property investment destination in Your Property Investment Magazine’s September edition which comes as no surprise for local developers.
Established 4101 peninsula developers, such as Pradella, Aria, Stockwell and Metro, have experienced a swift trade in the sale of their near-city apartments recently. Whilst many of the buyers are newcomers to the peninsula, local agents report a strong loyalty to the postcode for existing residents, who tend to upsize or downsize rather than leave the area.
Brett Lentz, project developer at Pradella Developments, which has at least six large scale residential developments in the area, says the shift from industrial/commercial to residential use has spearheaded the change of complexion in the 4101 property market. “The changing land use with a lot of opportunities presented by old industrial sites on Riverside Drive and Montague Road has changed the dynamic of the area to a more residential mixed use, and together with the investment of government in facilities, particularly the South Bank and cultural precincts, this is set to continue,” he says. The area’s “village feel”, riverside locality and proximity to the CBD has kept interest high for Pradella’s current developments at Water’s Edge on the river at Hill End and the company’s newest development, Canvas, a ground commercial floor with 15 levels of residential apartments at the Peel Street end of Boundary Street. Mr Lentz says the Pradella family remains strongly committed to the area, living in Highgate Hill and maintaining its head office in Melbourne Street at South Brisbane. The LNP State Government has recently relaxed height restrictions in the part of West End between Montague Road and the Brisbane River south of Davies Park. Brisbane Lord Mayor Councillor Graham Quirk has described the increase in heights as “common sense” and says the Council will meet to increase heights in Precinct 6 of the South Brisbane Riverside Neighbourhood Plan in the coming months. “I’m about planning for Brisbane’s future and this old industrial part of South Brisbane is the right place for higher density residential living given its close proximity to the CBD, public transport and essential services,” Councillor Quirk has said in a statement.
Councillor Helen Abrahams from The Gabba Ward believes development potential in South Brisbane is different to that along Montague Road in West End. She urges developers to give back to the community and notes there needs to be provision made for land for additional schools, sporting fields and community halls. “New residents want to identify with the diversity, community groups and support structures that already make West End a great place to live,” said Councillor Abrahams. Metro Property Development advertising and communications manager Peter Hobbs says demand in 4101 is strong, reporting that in just five weeks, 115 of the 168 one to two-bedroom apartments in Metro’s latest development, The Plaza, on the corner of Russell and Manning Streets, have been sold. For Metro, which has undertaken major residential development of up to 260 apartments in Fortitude Valley, Bowen Hills and Kangaroo Point, the 4101 area meets its criteria, requiring that sites be next to public transport, major employment hubs, major infrastructure development, be close to the CBD and have a solid rental market. Demand for “good quality” one and two-bedroom apartments has been particularly keen over the past 12 months, according to Chris Mitchell, head of development at the family-owned developer, Aria Property Group.
Aria has sold all apartments in its eight to 10 storey developments at Vine in Russell Street, Artisan in Merivale Street and Station 16, also in Merivale Street, where construction has just been completed. Aria has a further application for development with Brisbane City Council at the moment. Mr Mitchell says pent up demand for residential property in the area is partly due to a long period when residential development was stalled, but also the result of a rise in the number of commercial businesses setting up in the area. “There has been a significant increase in the commercial office market in South Bank and people who work in the precinct like to live close to their work,” Mr Mitchell says. Aria has committed to South Brisbane as the core focus of its business, moving its premises from the city to Edmondstone Street. “It is really a world-class precinct when you consider South Bank, the galleries, its proximity to the city and the investment of state and local government in the area’s amenities,” he says. Angus Commins of Space Property South Brisbane says marketing of new residential developments is heavily focused on investors interstate, however local appetite for one and two-bedroom apartments is also reflected in the demand for existing stock. “Price point is the major factor that is dictating sales,” he says. “There is also a move for people to downsize. We are seeing people, whose kids have left home, move out of larger properties into largesized apartments or units in the area.”
A diverse range of public and private housing types have also been a hallmark of the West End area and affordable housing remains a critical issue for Brisbane. Brisbane Common Ground, a new government-funded development of 146 units of social and affordable housing was recently opened in Hope Street. Common Ground was constructed as part of the Commonwealth Government’s National Building Stimulus Plan, with community organisation Micah Projects appointed to provide support services and the Queensland Department of Public Works project managing construction. A spokesman for the Minister for Housing and Public Works Bruce Flegg says a good mix of public and private housing will be maintained by encouraging partnerships with not-for-profit community housing organisations and private developers. “There are more than 540 social housing properties in the 4101 postcode. No further capital projects are currently planned. The Queensland government is actively seeking ways to grow the involvement of the non-government sector in the provision of social and affordable housing,” the spokesman says. The surging residential development on 4101 peninsula, and its associated influx of residents and workers, looks set to continue for some time to come. The postcode’s suburbs — West End, South Bank, South Brisbane and Highgate Hill — will be shaped by the enriched diversity and energy of all these new people.
Words by Maria Ceresa | Images supplied by featured companies