FEATURED IN PROPERTY – THE WEST AUSTRALIAN – 29 FEBRUARY 2012
There have been some cautionary tales for buyers in Perth’s apartment market.
However the joint-venture partner in one of the newest projects, Paul Trettel, said he was confident pre-sales would ensure the project had a mid-year start.
Mr Trettel, managing director of the Swanline Group that is building the Ecco Apartments with development firm Finbar, said strong rental returns and a location offering city views and walking distance to the Beaufort Street strip had drawn a strong response from buyers and prospective buyers ahead of the of- ficial sales launch.
“The residential rental market has been ex- tremely strong and is becoming quite pricey, so hopefully this year renters will start to do the calculation and realise they can pay off a mortgage and maybe appreciate that the bot- tom of the market was reached last year and now is a good time to invest,” Mr Trettel said. Finbar and Swanline formed a joint venture last year to build 90 apartments and eight commercial lots on three blocks of rezoned land owned by Swanline.
Finbar will build the apartments and each group will share in the development
profit for the project which will have an end value of $50 million.
The Ecco site is bounded by Lord and Sum- mers streets and Coolgardie Terrace and its two towers will be separated by a pool, spa, gym and residents’ lounge.
Mr Trettel said half the apartments would be two bedrooms and the remainder evenly di- vided between one and three-bedroom units. Prices start at $355,000 for the one-bedroom apartments, $479,000 for two-bedrooms and $570,000 for three-bedrooms.
Joint selling agent Robin Schneider from Mc- Gees Property said off-the-plan sales had been difficult in the past three years and although speculators had dropped out of the market because they were uncertain of capital growth levels, owner-occupiers were still active. “Especially in the price range between $350,000 and $500,000 there’s a lot of owner-occupiers taking advantage of no stamp duty because of the first-homebuyer grant while also getting 12 to 18 months to save the equity level needed for their deposit,” Mr Schneider said.
“They want to be close to the city, public trans- port, workplace and cafes and that’s why this particular project has gone well.
“There has been an enormous shift of
interest because of the high rent returns being
received for inner-city, resort-style apartment complexes,” Mr Schneider, who has specialised in project marketing for 18 years, said.
“The rental market is so tight, there’s a huge demand from the corporate sector for fully furnished apartments and the returns are so good that investors are saying now is the time to buy”
According to Mr Schneider, a fully furnished two-bedroom apartment with good access to the city could fetch rent of about $800 per week while a one-bedroom apartment could generate rent between $550 and $600.
Chris Tonich, a director at property firm Bur- gess Rawson, that will also be selling the apart- ments, said Perth apartments were generating a lot of traction in the market because they ap- pealed to many buyers, from first-homebuyers to downsizers and buyers looking for a corpo- rate tenant.
“The big benefit for this project is that it meets two markets — the CBD and the cultural mar- ket of Highgate and Mt Lawley” Mr Tonich said.
In its first-half profit results, Finbar said it had sold 53 out of the 130 units at its nearby St Marks Apartment project in Highgate.