By Paul Riga | 7 Jun 2018

The Brisbane new apartment market recorded 154 sales in the March 2018 quarter, down from 252 sales in the previous quarter, according to new research by leading property consultants, Urbis. 

The weighted average sale price remained steady, registering $680,195, in line with the four-quarter average of $683,000.

The Inner South and Inner North precincts registered the majority of sales this quarter, with 44 sales each. The Northshore precinct was the next highest-selling precinct with 22 sales, closely followed by the Inner West (21 sales), Inner East (16 sales) and CBD (7 sales).

Paul Riga, Director of Property Economics and Research, said, “Though investor activity has slowed in the Inner Brisbane apartment market, the owner-occupier market was still active.

“This quarter, owner-occupier sales overtook foreign investor sales, making up 34% of total sales. Not coincidentally, a large proportion of owner-occupier sales were in recently built or soon to be completed developments. Generally, owner-occupiers are looking for a home, they want to be able to see the finished product before committing.”

Unlike the previous quarter, where 46% of sales were in projects in a presales phase, this quarter 55% of sales were in recently built and settled developments. Only 15% of sales were in presales developments.

Certain precincts are expecting a considerable number of apartment settlements between now and the end of the year. Many developers are monitoring to see how these settlements go before deciding to launch anything new to the market.

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The decline in presales purchases can be largely explained in the lack of new projects launching to the market, with only three new projects yielding 146 apartments launching in the quarter. In addition, there were only 306 apartments approved for development in the quarter, in line with the low level of projects coming to the market.

Over 4,700 apartments, including in sold-out projects, are anticipated to settle across Inner Brisbane by the end of the year.

Despite the lack of new projects, demand for the right product at the right price is still there, with a number of projects pending launch gathering good interest from prospective buyers.

Mr Riga noted, “The number of resales within recently completed projects must also be taken into account.

“From our conversations within the market, we know that there has been solid interest and sales in recently built stock which has had to be resold, indicating that demand hasn’t disappeared and buyers are still active.”

In the coming quarters, Urbis anticipates that project launches won’t see any drastic increase, however, sales figures are not expected to register a further decline. Developers aren’t just sitting on their hands though.

“With the relative stability of the owner-occupier market in Brisbane, developer interest for the short-term has re-focused on townhouses, house and land packages, and more premium apartment product. 

“While the apartment space may have slowed, the fundamentals are still there. We are registering solid interstate migration and a decent level of rental absorption – many developers are now preparing to play their part in the next phase of the apartment movement in Brisbane,” said Mr Riga. 

The Brisbane Apartment Essentials Report found:

  • 154 sales were recorded in the March 2018 quarter, down from 252 sales in the previous quarter.
  • The weighted average sales price for the March 2018 quarter remained steady at $680,195.
  • Two-bedroom two-bathroom product made up the majority of sales at 58% of total sales, one-bedroom one car apartments were the next best-selling unit type with 16% of total sales, a drop from 38% in the previous quarter. Three bed plus product increased from 9.5% to 12%.
  • New project launches remained low, with only three new projects yielding 146 apartments launching in the quarter.
  • Owner Occupier transactions made up the majority at 34% of sales, followed by the usual favourite foreign investor buyers with 28% of sales.