By Matt Demarco For Daily Mail Australia
10:03 10 Sep 2023, updated 10:48 10 Sep 2023
Former Australian test cricketer and ex-St Kilda football player Simon O’Donnell has inked a multimillion dollar deal to sell his sprawling country property.
The horse and cattle farm, located in Willowmavin, Victoria has been occupied by the sportsman-turned-commentator, 60, for the past three decades.
Although O’Donnell could not reveal the exact sale price of the agreement reached late last month, the farm had been listed with an asking price ranging from $4.5 million to $4.9 million.
The property encompasses not only the family residence but also an array of horse and cattle facilities that the couple diligently renovated over their 29-year tenure, also featuring a tennis court and large pool.
O’Donnell revealed that the international buyer of the property has a fascination for horses, but reportedly does not have any ties to the racing industry.
Speaking to realestate.com.au, O’Donnell said that even though the sale was bittersweet, he hoped the new buyer will enjoy the property.
‘It’s always been a happy farm, and we are hoping it is for the new occupants,’ he said.
‘It’s been a fun 30 years and we’re looking forward to the next 30.’
O’Donnell boasts an impressive sports career, having participated in six test matches for the Australian cricket team and 87 one-day internationals.
He also had the honour of captaining Victoria’s state cricket team and represented them in Sheffield Shield matches for nearly a decade.
Prior to this, O’Donnell played 24 games for the St Kilda Football Club.
In addition to his achievements on the cricket and football field, O’Donnell later became a prominent figure in the world of horse racing.
His son James has also embarked on a career in the AFL, being listed as a rookie with the Western Bulldogs.
O’Donnell expressed his excitement for his former team as they prepare to kick off their finals campaign this weekend.
After a correction in the market and a pause in interest rates, new figures reveal which Geelong suburbs are creating first-home buyer havens.
New analysis of PropTrack home price data shows suburbs from close to the city centre to the region’s growth areas were offering an increasing choice in properties at affordable price brackets.
The analysis, which separates Geelong’s inner city, middle ring and outer suburbs showed there were spots in each area where the median house prices were within reach of buyers on a budget.
The cooling property market has seen median house prices retracting in most suburbs, the latest PropTrack data reveals.
Suburbs such as Armstrong Creek, Bell Park, Belmont and Geelong West have seen median house prices falling by between $40,000 and more than $70,000 compared to the same time last year.
Buxton, Highton director Tony Moorfoot said after the market peaked last year, there were middle ring suburbs that were providing more opportunities for price-sensitive buyers.
“Predominantly for first-home buyers it comes back to affordability, then where they can spend.
“The further away from the city prices generally tend to get a little bit lower, so there’s more affordability for them.
“Suburbs like Grovedale and Belmont have seen a lot of first-home buyers coming in and Hamlyn Heights and Herne Hill, Bell Park, Bell Post Hill, Leopold are the kind of areas they focus on because they’ll have a budget they want to spend.”
FIRST-HOME BUYER HAVENS – HOUSES
INNER RING: Thomson, (median price) $556,000; Newcomb, $575,000; North Geelong, $620,000; Belmont, $693,000; Hamlyn Heights, $710,000
MIDDLE RING: Norlane, $450,000; Corio, $500,000; Whittington, $517,500; Bell Park, $620,000; St Albans Park, $620,000
OUTER RING: Clarlemont, $622,000; Armstrong Creek, $680,000; Clifton Springs, $682,000; Curlewis, $690,000; Leopold, $700,000
Median prices for 12 months to August, 2023. PropTrack
Mr Moorfoot said the three-month pause on interest rates had given a lot of potential buyers more confidence in their budget and were back in the market for a home.
Mr Moorfoot said, ring suburbs such as Grovedale and parts of Belmont which developed after the 1970s and 1980s offered comparatively cheaper homes with a bigger land component and were closer to city centre amenities.
Ms Winckle said vendors who were being realistic about their price hopes given the change in the market were being rewarded.
FIRST-HOME BUYER HAVENS – UNITS
INNER RING: Herne Hill, $360,000; East Geelong, $440,000; Geelong West, $441,000; Newcomb, $485,000; Hamlyn Heights, $485,000
MIDDLE RING: Corio, $400,000; Whittington, $406,000; Norlane, $411,000; Grovedale, $500,000; Bell Park, $510,000
OUTER RING: Lara, $477,500; Leopold, $512,500; Drysdale, $570,000
Median prices for 12 months to August, 2023. PropTrack
Many first-time buyers shied away from bidding at auction due the unconditional nature of the sale method (you can’t buy subject to finance at an auction), Ms Winckle said, but some were prepared to have a go.
Ms Winckle said there were first-home buyers even scouring Belmont, Highton and Newtown for opportunities.
“First-home buyers are struggling to get finance to bid at auctions. But on really good properties, in really good locations with realistic vendors, the buyers will jump through whatever hoops they have to jump through to be able to get unconditional bidding on the day,” she said.
GSC Finance Solutions mortgage broker Matt Turner said inquiry from first-home buyers was at the best level since HomeBuilder, but most were leaning on parents or government assistance to stretch their budgets.
“There’s not too many coming to us 20 per cent ready to put down and buy,” he said.
“The sub-$600,000 properties just aren’t around like they once were, so they’re having to use a lot of their deposit for stamp duty, for example.”
Established homes were the flavour of the month, with many choosing to buy in established areas, or something they could fix up.
“Equally we do have people that are looking in the Armstrong Creek corridor for a home they can move straight in to.”
Mr Turner said couples planning to start a family were now seeking to hold their first property longer.
He advised buyers to get financial advice before starting to look for a home to lock in their budget along with any government and parental assistance available.
Geelong house prices remain in negative territory, lagging Melbourne where growth is the fastest in 15 months, PropTrack data shows. But there are signs things are turning around.
The latest PropTrack Home Price Index showed home values dropped 1.18 per cent in the three months to the end of May to reach a $767,000 median dwelling value.
The region’s median house price dipped 1.29 per cent, while unit values were close to steady, losing only .04 per cent in median value.
PropTrack senior economist Eleanor Creagh said home price growth had been stronger in the capital cities than regional areas this year.
“This is a continuation of the trend that we’ve seen so far this year in terms of capital city markets really taking up the mantle with respect to price growth and outperforming regional markets,” Ms Creagh said.
“We saw in May that capital city markets recorded points .45 per cent growth whereas regional areas are at .03 per cent, so capital city markets are really driving the upswing in home prices at the moment. “
Melbourne house prices grew .22 per cent in May, the fastest monthly rise since February last year.
Ms Creagh said stronger housing demand in Melbourne was likely bolstered by very tight rental markets and the strong rebounding net overseas migration concentrated in capital cities.
“But also it has been the case in prior downturns, where markets that lead the downturn also lead the upswing,” she said.
“That would be another reason why we’re seeing capital city markets coming to the forefront or taking up the mantle with respect to price growth at the moment.
“Regional home prices really outperformed over the past three to four years, so I wouldn’t say it was unusual to potentially see a period of underperformance after such an extraordinary outperformance which was really infused by a very unique combination of circumstances.”
Harcourts North Geelong agent Joe Grgic said he felt the market was on the cusp of change in Geelong.
“There are still certain sectors of the market that are at different speeds, but we are seeing better numbers, more committed buyers,” he said.
“People are really wanting to get a home, whether that’s more competition at auction, multiple buyers on a private treaty. It feels more like 2019.
Mr Grgic said there has been an increase in investor activity and more first-home buyers are comfortable with entering the market.
“Even though my belief is there probably will be another one or two more rate rises, buyers are sensing that the rate hike cycle is coming to an end,” he said.
“And because of that, now is the time to get in because once rates start dropping, there’s a lot of people who are holding back waiting to get into the market and they’ll jump in at the same time and that’ll cause prices to go up.”
The Victorian government has announced plans to abolish the lump-sum stamp duty for commercial and industrial properties, replacing it with an annual property tax.
From 1 July next year, commercial and industrial properties will transition to the new system as they are sold, with the annual property tax to be payable from 10 years after the transaction.
Under the new system, the first purchaser of a commercial or industrial property after 1 July 2024, will have the option to choose to either pay the property’s final stamp duty liability as an upfront lump sum or opt to pay fixed instalments over 10 years equal to stamp duty and interest with a government-facilitated transition loan.
The historic property tax overhaul is expected to inject $50 billion into the state’s economy and comes at the centre of an Economic Growth Package in today’s (23 May) Victorian budget 2023/24.
Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas said the changes would remove barriers to larger investments and speed up business growth.
“Business and industry have told us they want this reform, and we’ve listened,” Mr Pallas said ahead of the release of the state budget.
He stated that the landmark reforms would give businesses the capacity to become “more dynamic, agile, and to grow and employ more workers”, leading to increased employment opportunities.
The introduction of the annual payment system aims to provide businesses with more capital that can be invested in expanding operations and hiring additional workers.
Notably, these arrangements will not apply to the current owner of any commercial or industrial property purchased before the middle of next year.
But once a property enters the new system after this time, stamp duty will not be payable on a transaction and the annual property tax will apply.
The annual property tax, which will replace stamp duty, is set at a flat rate of 1 per cent of the property’s unimproved land value.
By removing upfront costs associated with commercial and industrial buildings, the Andrews government hopes to facilitate easier establishment and growth for businesses, ultimately boosting economic activity, job creation, and overall prosperity.
The government will consult with business and industry in coming months, with the final form of the transition to be detailed by the end of the year.
Notably, the new tax arrangements for commercial and industrial property in Victoria is unique among the states and territories.
While South Australia has abolished transfer duty on commercial or industrial property deals, it has not introduced an annual property tax.
And although the ACT has eliminated stamp duty on transactions below $1.7 million, the territory’s government still imposes land rates.
Meanwhile, the Northern Territory still requires the payment of stamp duty, but does not have a land or property tax.
The announcement to scrap the lump-sum payment also comes as an unexpected move from the state government after Premier Daniel Andrews last week said to the media he was “unconvinced” that replacing stamp duty with an opt-in land tax – similar to the system introduced by the former NSW Coalition government – would be effective.
Changes welcomed by industry bodies
Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Paul Guerra welcomed the changes, which exempted residential properties.
“The Victorian Chamber has been working with the state government on this landmark and generational productivity reform which businesses across Victoria will welcome,” he said.
Mr Guerra highlighted the change is “exactly the type of progressive tax reform” needed to free up stamp duty charges which consequently will “accelerate building upgrades, stimulate investment in commercial property and free up more capital.”
Speaking on the announcement, Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) chief executive Quentin Kilian said the abolishment of the stamp duty for commercial and property sales is an “encouraging sign for the sector and Victorian businesses”.
“We appreciate the Government for opening a door to important tax reform – it shows a listening ear to the sector’s call for change,” he stated.
While the institute lauded the Government taking into account feedback from the industry, Mr Kilian noted the state real estate body will still “review the announcement fully”, and will particularly focus on “ any increase in ongoing property ownership costs and how they impact capital flows and the rental and sales markets in the commercial sector.”
At the end of February, the state government announced the Victoria’s Parliamentary Inquiry into Land Transfer Duty Fees, which aimed to look into issues surrounding land transfer duties, including stamp duty.
Following the announcement, Mr Kilian had urged the Andrews government to consult with property leaders and finance experts to ensure further strain is not placed on the market.
At that time, the state body’s executive cautioned “there is a risk that the state government will jump to a quick fix of replacing one tax with another.”
Responding to Victoria’s Parliamentary Inquiry into Land Transfer Duty Fees in April, the institute has urged the government to consider shifting from the “tired tax” to a broad-based tax.
“The REIV has long sought an abolishment of this tired tax,”Mr Kilian had stated.
“[Stamp] duty has created an excessive burden on home buyers for far too long, with fees for the median priced house currently sitting at approximately 48.9 per cent of a Victorian’s average annual income.”
Echoing his statements last month, Mr Kilian highlighted “stamp duty is a significant barrier to property investment and for as long as it remains in the residential property sector, millions of aspiring homeowners and thousands of everyday mum and dad investors are impeded, which creates a significant negative ripple effect on the rest of the market.
“We look forward to continuing conversations with the Government, and other political representatives, as they engage the property sector on the creation of better policy for the sector.” said Mr Kilian.
Her name is on the door at one of Australia’s biggest architectural firms. But it’s in another pocket of property that Zahava Elenberg has really made her mark.
Elenberg is turning 50 this year and the highly successful business that she “kind of fell into” turns 21. But the architect-turned designer pulls no punches. She says it is a privilege to age and she intends on celebrating the milestone.
She founded Elenberg Fraser in 1998 with Callum Fraser at the tender age of 24, but says moving into the furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) space was where she found her niche.
In 2002 she and a friend were asked to do a furniture fitout of a project in Docklands back when it was “emerging out of the scum of the Yarra”.
“The budget they gave us was ridiculous, there was no way we could do a fitout with that. But I like a challenge,” she says.
From that experience the seed of an idea germinated and Move-in was born. Elenberg says it is impossible to count how many spaces they have fitted out over the years but says it’s “tens of thousands” of apartments, about 5000 student accommodation rooms, ski resorts in New Zealand and hotels all around the world.
▲ The purpose-built student accommodation sector has invested heavily in furniture fitouts and art in communal spaces to level up the lived experience for students. PHOTO: Lisa Cohen
The FF&E business was the first of its kind, with a focus on Australian-made products, good design, and a vision for shaping the world we live in.
“If you tip a building upside down and shake out all the things we put inside them, they’re what makes the lived experience. Nobody notices if you use a cheaper paint or a lesser tap fitting. But if you put an uncomfortable bed in a hotel that will be remembered.
“When I started the business, nobody knew what FF&E was. It’s a specialist area like any consultancy but it dictates the way a place feels. It’s not just about putting products in a room and ordering 20 TVs. It’s that emotional connection you have with a space or a place. We straddle that place between design and commercial reality.
“It’s a comprehensive end-to-end solution for design, manufacturing, procurement and logistics, and we don’t want it to be an afterthought that is value-managed out of a project. It is critical.”
Elenberg says in the beginning they would design and make furniture and fittings and provide furniture packages but they have moved away from that now.
“In our early days we were working with developers managing their risk to fit out fully furnished apartments. They would get better yields having fully furnished properties.
“Over time we just moved with the market.”
Moving with the times included major hotel fitouts across Asia, including Vietnam and Malaysia, and the establishment of an office in the Middle East, which closed in 2008 as Elenberg juggled motherhood and a multi-national business.
▲ Move-in has been very active in the hotel space internationally and recently completed the FF&E for Sebel Silverwoods. PHOTO: Cox Architecture
While Australian projects across the eastern seaboard are the major focus for Move-in now, Elenberg says it’s “extraordinary” what she and her small team based in Melbourne’s Fitzroy are achieving.
Elenberg’s team includes designers and logistics experts, which she believes sets them apart from others in the burgeoning industry.
Circular economy is something that is on Elenberg’s radar as she looks to the future of the industry. Move-in recently inked a deal with You Matter, a support service, which helps to fit out properties for women fleeing domestic violence.
Elenberg says they strategically over-order for projects and the surplus sits in a warehouse until warranty is done. She says this program enables them to divert products from landfill.
“There’s lots of people out there in need and then there’s lots of land fill,” she says.
“Circular economy is something that we are constantly thinking about in our space. We just donated nearly 400 products at the beginning of this year.”
They also look to adopt products that can have a second life when they cycle out of hotels and other spaces.
“We try to choose high-quality products so we know where they have come from and how they can have a second life, whether that’s through recycling or repurposing,” she says.
“We like to give our clients the option to buy locally and there has been a shift towards it because the prices of products have increased and the shipping costs have blown out significantly.
“Even if it’s not everything, but a few pieces, it is supporting local manufacturers and businesses.”
▲ The build-to-rent sector is emerging as a growth area for the FF&E industry according to Elenberg. Move-in completed the fit out of Home Richmond (pictured). PHOTO: RotheLowman
Elenberg says the purpose-built student accommodation developers were the most proactive in supporting local designers and sustainability initiatives.
“It’s a really interesting market, they’re game-changing leaders in that space. They have a big focus on design and fit out of big communal spaces in their developments and are commissioning artists to create pieces for their developments.
“The common spaces and areas are where life happens and there’s a lot of thought that goes into that. No longer are they cheaply priced prison cells.”
Elenberg says the blossoming build-to-rent market was a growth area for Move-in and also had a vested interest in quality fit outs.
Reflecting on 21 years of business Elenberg says while the colour schemes and fashions have shifted significantly, the drive to create beautiful, liveable spaces and help developers to bring their vision to life was what continued to drive her.
“I want Move-in to be synonymous with great FF&E and amazing spaces.”
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Citinova has picked up one of the last major industrial development sites in Northcote in Melbourne’s inner north-east for $20 million.
The 1.2ha property at 24 Leinster Grove was acquired after a highly contested off-market expressions-of-interest campaign.
Colliers International’s Joe Kairouz and Robert Papaleo, who negotiated the sale, said the campaign resulted in 11 serious offers from bidders pursuing a range of investment and development strategies.
Kairouz said that a scarcity of infill property of scale with inherent flexibility for ongoing or alternative use had meant competition for the site was always going to be high.
The sale is the latest in a string of significant development sites sold off-market in the Northcote precinct by Colliers this year—combining to about $100 million in transactions.
The Northcote site is made up of two separate 5800sq m blocks north and south of Gadd Street. The creek and parkland, including the contested Northcote Golf Course, are nearby.
Records show the vendors include Ensign Services and HT Propco 1, whose shareholders include the Spotless Group.
North Melbourne-based Citinova, chaired by Ross Pelligra, specialises in residential, hotel, commercial and industrial property assets.
The developer has extensive experience with infill sites, and said the acquisition would further bolster its strong Victorian pipeline of projects across multiple asset classes.
Futher west in Braybrook, Citinova is readying plans for its last site acquisition, a 4000sq m site at 13 Kent Street it purchased in late 2020. That eventual development will hold views towards the adjoining Sunshine Bowls Club and Pritchard reserve.
In a statement, Citinova director Nathan Minicozzi said the Northcote site would offer the developer a unique opportunity to continue “supporting the gentrification” of Northcote.
“We are looking forward to working with council and all local stakeholders to design and develop an incredible built-form environment, which complements the surrounding neighbourhood,” Minicozzi said.
While Minicozzi didn’t disclose whether future development for the site would be residential or commercial, the suburb has been gaining popularity for homeowners in recent years—now regarded as Melbourne’s most liveable suburb, based on a recent PwC report.
The suburb is underpinned by the high quality of parks and open spaces, public transport, food and beverage offerings, location and access to the CBD and other suburbs.
Nearby, busy developer Time and Place is moving ahead with plans for a $500 million mixed-use project at Northcote Plaza. Time and Place acquired the site from developer Les Smith’s LAS Group for $60 million in 2021.
Meanwhile, Metro Property Group is delivering a 74 townhouses masterplan at Beavers Road, overlooking the Merri Creek. The project, which incorporates concrete that cuts embodied carbon by as much as half, received $54 million in funding from the federal government’s green finance fund.
Young Group is also delivering a $23 million boutique apartment project between 243 and 249 St Georges Road comprising 27 apartments and MAB Corporation is advanced on its development at 20 Walker Street comprising a mix of apartments and split-level homes fronting Merri Creek.
Sydney’s house prices have effectively become unaffordable for the average resident and some other capital cities are not far behind, but one city is offering a better deal for people willing to make a move.
New data shows only 11 suburbs in Sydney have a median house price sitting at or below the borrowing capacity for buyers, based on the average income of about $90,000.
In Canberra there are only six, while in Hobart there are 10 and in Darwin there are 23.
Melbourne has 54, while Adelaide has 124 and Brisbane has 125.
But Perth has a much bigger availability with 216.
The metric is based on the assumption a single income buyer has a 20 per cent deposit saved, with a borrowing capacity based on $2000 per month in expenses and post-tax income based on their state’s average annual earnings.
PropTrack economist Angus Moore told NCA NewsWire every capital city faced a slightly different scenario.
Mr Moore said it was widely understood Sydney was a very expensive city.
“For someone on average earnings for NSW, which is about $93,000 or a little bit over if you’re working full-time, there’s not an awful lot of suburbs that fall under what you could currently borrow with that sort of income,” he said.
“Now, many people have more than one income earner, so this is not necessarily saying no one can afford to buy in Sydney.
“But it is, I think, quite indicative of the fact that Sydney is an expensive housing market, even relative to its reasonably high income.”
Mr Moore said people struggling to buy a house might be better off looking for a unit.
“Not everyone will be looking for a house. Some people will want units – those are more affordable,” he said.
The top five affordable suburbs are:
- Emerton – $700,000
- San Remo – $697,5000
- Mannering Park – $690,000
- Airds – $688,000
- Blackett – $688,000
The Victorian capital faced a similar situation, Mr Moore said.
“It’s not quite as expensive as Sydney, so there is a few more suburbs that fall under that threshold,” he said.
“Many of these are in the west and northwest part of Melbourne, where there is a lot of development and a lot of new homes being built, and these tend to be a bit more affordable.
“But even so, many of these suburbs are sitting around $600,000 to $700,000 median house prices, which is still really quite expensive.”
The top five affordable suburbs are:
- Mernda – $685,000
- Epping – $680,000
- Sunbury – $680,000
- Warneet – $680,000
- Cranbourne West – $676,000
Mr Moore said Brisbane was a more affordable city than Sydney and Melbourne.
“It’s gotten a lot more expensive in the past couple of years,” he said.
“We’ve seen very strong growth in Brisbane, as a lot of people have moved there in the past two years, even more so than usual.
“But even so, it does remain more attractively priced than Sydney and Melbourne for houses and for dwellings broadly.
“There’s a lot more suburbs that fall under that threshold of what someone on an average income, working full-time could afford to borrow and purchase.”
The top five affordable suburbs are:
- Bahrs Scrub – $660,000
- Augustine Heights – $660,000
- Meadowbrook – $653,000
- Lawnton – $651,000
- Acacia Ridge – $650,000
Western Australia’s capital has a more unique scenario, with average full-time earnings at more than $100,000 per year.
“It’s actually quite a high average income state … in part, that’s because of a number of very high-paying jobs in the mining sector that help drag up that average,” Mr Moore said.
“But what that means is when we look across Perth, which is not as expensive as Sydney and Melbourne, given that average incomes are higher, there is a lot more that’s affordable for someone looking to buy in Perth.”
Mr Moore said there had not been the same up tick in prices for Perth, as seen in similarly sized capitals like Adelaide and Brisbane during the pandemic.
In part, that was because it was difficult to get into WA when the hard border was up, but also due to it being far from the east coast, Mr Moore said.
“It makes living there and commuting to Sydney once every fortnight a bit more difficult than is the case from somewhere like Brisbane,” he said.
The top five affordable suburbs are:
- The Vines – $780,000
- Murdoch – $767,000
- Bedford – $764,000
- Guildford – $760,000
- Jandakot – $760,000
Mr Moore said Adelaide was in the “same boat” as Brisbane in being a relatively affordable city.
“Across Adelaide, median dwelling price, not necessarily homes, is $650,000 versus $760,000 in Brisbane, so it is a more affordable city,” he said.
“It is also a lower income state, so that means borrowing capacities on this metric are lower – it’s the lowest average income state behind Tasmania.”
Mr Moore said much like Brisbane, Adelaide prices had grown extremely quickly across the pandemic.
“It’s been one of the better performing cities even this year, even as prices have turned down,” he said.
“Much like Brisbane, it’s benefited from a lot of people moving to it from Sydney and Melbourne, seeking larger homes.”
The top five affordable suburbs are:
- Aberfoyle Park – $621,000
- Hewett – $620,000
- Seacombe Gardens – $620,000
- Woodville North – $620,000
- Largs North – $617,500
Tasmania’s capital was one of the more difficult cities to purchase a home on this metric, Mr Moore said.
“In part, because it is actually a reasonably expensive city now,” he said.
“It too saw a big kick up in prices across the pandemic.”
The top five affordable suburbs are:
- Claremont – $585,000
- Rokeby – $553,500
- Chigwell – $529,500
- Primrose Sands – $525,000
- Bridgewater – $485,000
The nation’s capital is the highest income jurisdiction, with average full-time earnings of more than $100,000.
Even so, prices in Canberra were very expensive, Mr Moore said.
“In part, because it is a very high income city with lots of people on stable, high income jobs in the public sector,” he said.
“As a result, we see quite expensive prices and as a result, there’s very few suburbs that fall under what someone on full-time earnings could afford.”
The top five affordable suburbs are:
- Richardson – $800,000
- Lawson – $785,000
- Banks – $785,000
- Phillip – $750,000
- Charnwood – $720,000
Average incomes in the Northern Territory were reasonably high, Mr Moore said.
“They’re not that far behind some of the eastern states, so on that metric, this ends up looking reasonably affordable,” he said.
“Because it’s a small city, on this metric, it’s not maybe as good a way to measure how affordable Darwin is.”
The top five affordable suburbs are:
- Zuccoli – $585,000
- Wagaman – $580,000
- Humpty Doo – $580,000
- Jingili – $570,000
- Rosebery – $570,000
A global institutional investor has deployed $400 million of capital to Gurner’s build-to-sell development platform.
It takes the fund to $1.75 billion and the total pipeline of current and future projects across its build-to-sell interests to $10 billion.
Gurner founder Tim Gurner would not disclose the institutional backer but The Urban Developer understands it is an international sovereign wealth fund looking for exposure in the Australian residential real estate market.
Gurner said the build-to-sell fund would be focused on supporting the build-to-sell projects slated for Melbourne and southeast Queensland, while also seeking inner-city opportunities in Sydney.
The institutional capital raise is a significant step forward in Gurner chief executive Tim Gurner’s 10-year strategy to transform the company from a private Australian property business into an institutional-grade developer and fund manager.
“This capital raise represents a huge milestone for our business as we continue to drive towards our goal of transforming Gurner Group into a fully diversified capital-light developer, fund manager and lifestyle brand,” Gurner said.
“This gives us huge dry powder now in the build-to-sell sector to focus on opportunities that arise out of the market dislocation that will occur in the next 12 months, specifically in Sydney as we grow our brand there while also supporting our Melbourne and Queensland endeavours.”
Gurner said he believed the short-to-medium term presented opportunities for cashed-up developers.
“We believe the timing is ideal as the cost of capital and interest rates continue to rise, alongside substantial cost hikes in the construction sector, which we expect will create a lot of opportunities for us.
“We believe the next 6–18 months will be critical as many developers may struggle to hold on to sites due to rising construction and holding costs, which will create serious opportunities for those who have the capital to act quickly,” he said.
“With a lot of dry powder we will continue to actively but carefully pursue new sites across the eastern seaboard of Australia; we are considering a vast range of opportunities that fall anywhere within the $30 million—$200 million land bracket.”
The institutional investment comes off the back of Qualitas and Gurner successfully raising $1.2 billion of equity funding for their build-to-rent platform, after winning cornerstone investment from an undisclosed global sovereign wealth fund.