Northern apartment buying

By Grant Müller

Watch out for the neighbours in Melbourne’s CBD North apartment or they could be watching you – from a very close range.
Melbourne’s “uni belt” apartment market is about to be hit by a wave of new development with eight new towers in a 500 metre radius of Franklin and Elizabeth streets with some so close to one another that light and views will be a major problem.
Three of major towers planned are Victoria Point, Lighthouse (607 apartments) and Vision are all over 60 levels and will add more than 1200 apartments to a predicted supply or as much as 4000 apartments by 2017/18.
Harcourt’s City Residential senior sales consultant Stuart Kennett said, although there will be up to 3000-4000 new apartments in the region in the four years, there are opportunities for buyers of established stock – but it will require a call to council to find out where your neighbours will be.
He said, while some of the best apartment towers in the CBD are in the north area, it pays to be very careful when venturing into the market.
Mr Kennett said the biggest threat to people living in the area, stretching from LaTrobe St across to Melbourne University and down to the Victoria Market, was new buildings blocking views and light.
With mandated setbacks of just 10m-15m between towers, buyers need to be very careful about which tower is going up and where.
In one celebrated case, a building at 31 A’Beckett St had a tower built so close to it in Lt LaTrobe St that the residents could almost touch one another and 20 storeys of views and light were destroyed wiping $30,000-$50,000 off the values.
Interestingly, while there will some downward pressure on prices, the existing stock is reselling for 2012 levels which is about $3000 per sqm less than the new stock coming into the market – and it is much larger.
Existing prime two-bedroom apartments with a car space, two bathrooms and a secure aspect will be around 75-95 sqm in size and sell for around $6500-$9000 per sqm.
New two-bedroom stock is 50-65 sqm and sells for $9000-$12,000 per sqm. So they cost roughly the same. But an established apartment will be in much smaller apartment block and 50 per cent larger – and a better long-term resale proposition.
Mr Kennett said the landmark buildings in the north were Franklin Lofts at 87 Franklin St (the CBD’s only split-level development) and the Milano/Verve twin towers at 8 Franklin St and 480 Swanston St.

Image courtesy: Melcorp

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