Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: David Beard is the Owner and Managing Director of Property Direct. It’s 20 year old property company specialising in delivering of new apartments, townhouses and more recently house and land. A 3 times BRW Fast 100 company. Since 1997, Property Direct Pty Ltd has brought to Brisbane a wide ranging mix of residential developments and today can proudly boast over 5700 new local property sales. Our local success is one of the highest proportions if not the highest proportion of Brisbane sales in the Brisbane project marketing marketplace. We do not outsource our selling to costly – increasingly risky 3rd parties. As the creators of ‘Australian Property Tours’, and ‘My First Home Brisbane‘, the team at Property Direct have spent the last 12 months creating bespoke 100% finance options for property buyers- focusing on First Home Owners and offering alternative ways for all local Australian property buyers to easily capitalise on current market conditions. By this we are referring to international deposit defaults, via Australian Property Tours who has exclusive access to off-market, heavily discounted residential projects.
Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Business Radio Talkers.FM. My name is Wayne Bucklar and joining me today in conversation, it’s David Beard. Now David is the Principal and Owner of Property Direct and we’re going to talk to him about what it is the Property Direct does. David, welcome to the show.
David Beard: Hi Wayne, how are you today?
Wayne: I’m really well. Now David, Property Direct is one of those names that doesn’t tell me exactly what it is you do. What does Property Direct do?
David: Property Direct is a Brisbane-based business started in ‘97 delivering residential developments for developers in Brisbane and mixed-use, and six packs and ten packs. The biggest we brought to market is 480 to 67 Level Aurora Queens Street in Brisbane. So we bring residential developments through to settlement, retailing them. And as of today, I think we’ve done almost 4,900 apartment sales and in that time, we’ve diversified into townhouses. We’ve now got a house and land division, boutique apartments, all new property.
Wayne: Wow. When you talk about Aurora, that’s a big development.
David: Yes, it’s on the corner of Queen Street, Brisbane CBD, 480 apartments we launched that like these a few years ago now and we have to get over 200 million in pre-sales before we could get the bank to sign off and start construction. As I said, we’re not the developers but the developers come to us from the product mix to the branding, to the specifications, car parks and right through setting up the sales display to final completion. In that case, it was probably four years it took to deliver that project and we then actually extend that numerous times. So that was a pretty big deal but we’re one of the few true project marketers delivering residential developments in Brisbane where 9 out of 10 of our sales are to Brisbane people. So we don’t put them into China, we don’t put them into investor sales largely as the Brisbane people and predominantly owner-occupiers. I guess we have got investors but the product that we’ve been resonating with the market progressively over the last decade certainly since the GFC, are larger more boutique projects with more livestock than the generic two-bed investor stock.
Wayne: Now David, when you say “bring them to market,” you’re doing I guess the role that most of us would think of as being a retail real estate agent. So do you do all the stuff that real estate agents do in terms of presenting properties, and open houses, and auctions, and evaluations and all that sort of stuff?
David: It’s a bit different Wayne. So the real estate industry can have product to sell, someone’s got to go back with a block of dirt and nurse it through how many? Three bedrooms? How many two bedrooms? Which one faces where? What’s the specification? There’s a ducted air, there’s a like split second. How many car parks too? So there’s a whole pre-industry where you deliver this product and then you deliver a new apartment or a new townhouse where you’re more involved with keeping the product contemporary. There’s a saying that we have where people are delivering it like a 2012 product in 2018. It’s just sort of generic where to keep ahead of the retail market and keeping people in new projects, you need to be up-to-date with security and technology and just the latest products so when the people walk into an apartment, it’s very contemporary. The general real estate agents have an industry and they really come in whatever’s being built and sold, maybe second hand. So we of those 5,000, not an hour whatever it is, now are 800, I would suspect all but a handful of those brand new apartments sold off the plan where first-time buyers even though they can get the grant, they’ve got to buy new that the people who want a new apartment, they get all the warranties, they want something to give it more contemporary and they’ve got time to plan. A lot of it is a year away from settlement, maybe two years and as we said with Aurora, that was four years we did that. We did that but they picked up all the capital gain in that time as well.
Wayne: Now David, is there a kind of sense of fashion in apartments? Is it like hemlines are up this year or down this year? Can you speak to what’s going to be popular with apartment buyers that makes it current?
David: Well I guess it depends on whether you’re an owner, occupier or investor. And those lanes of when we started probably for the first 10 years, it was really all was the investors and the owner option, we would sell 50% to investors and 50% to mine rocks, the mix was moot. What you’ve got now is the investors have gone probably because those developers have gone and just tailor-made the investor and they’re very generic, they’re all price-pointed, they’re all relatively small and the owner-occupiers have gone another way, they want large, a bit more bespoke lower-body corporates. So if I was talking to the audience, that are thinking about the two-bedroom, that investor market like generic product is the people that have gone down there which I guess it never goes out of fashion but there are really some absolute bargains in there, that’s very price driven and it’s a very ultra competitive market. And because a few of the developers never looked over their shoulder, the CEO was doing what, the reality is they’ve delivered basically at the same time and the buyers are having a field day. So there’s some great buys, so I’ve got to say for the investors, it’s about getting the price right in a great location and we’ve just been at a meeting this morning and that’s just resonated, I just can’t believe how strong that market is if you’ve got low price off. The other side is you got the owner occupiers. They’re not necessarily chasing the bargain, they’re wanting with low body corporate security, they also want other owner-occupiers in the building, they want large kitchens, they don’t want wall kitchens. So they’re really just looking for size, amenity, aspect location, storage. So I guess size is what works in this market because the investor market has moved away from that, you know as many bedrooms as you can put in per square meter. The owner occupiers are really just looking for just generous space, security and demand low body corporate.
Wayne: It’s a fascinating field David. In other countries it’s quite common to buy apartments as an empty shell and then be able to fit them out while they’re being built to suit yourself. Does that happen much in your market?
David: Very interesting question Wayne. We’ve done that in our penthouses and we’ve done a couple of penthouses where we’ve left it to the people’s imagination. And we haven’t been able to move outside that market for that. The bespoke design overwhelms the locals I think, if they can get in because all the hard plumbing walls, everything sort of set, you can’t really move the kitchen around too much where all the drainages because it runs down so many walls. When you’re up on top at the penthouses, you can have a lot more flexibility.
Wayne: I have never thought of that. That makes great common sense when you think about it.
David: And I can think of one that we did in Felix in town that the gentleman did the sky home on top and maybe this isn’t something for the listeners but putting a stripper pole in the middle of it which you can’t normally do in which you get them off the plan.
Wayne: Yes. David, for people who are listening to us today and who might have their imagination sparked, what’s the takeaway message for them when it comes to buying property off the plan?
David: We’ve got a very competitive market here in Brisbane, it’s copped a lot of press. And that’s just a pitch way that it’s story and we’ve got apartments that we’ve basically been selling at less than what we sell them for in 2007, that’s really the bottom line because there is the media getting hold of what’s happening in the marketplace when you say apartments. And because of that, I haven’t seen such good buying apartments up with 620 down to 500, down to 480, it’s great buying. So my takeaway is that now it’s probably one of the best buying cities in Australia and the rental yields are still strong because of just sentiment, not the employment growth, all the fundamentals are very strong. So my takeaway is that if there’s any listeners around Australia that the investment buying, to buying apartments is probably we haven’t seen it for decades as good as this. And as I say, we’ve got apartments and we sold in 2006 that we’re now releasing products cheaper then and builders are going broke because of that. So yes, that’s a good takeaway that Brisbane market is good if you can get hold of the bargain.
Wayne: Well for all those people who are itching to get their credit cards and checkbooks out now, David how can most people get in touch with you?
David: If they Google “Property Direct Brisbane,” you’ll find our company and my name is Dave Beard. If you Google that and real estate that will come up as well. So Property Direct and track us down and have a look at some more listings that we’ve got on our website.
Wayne: Alright. Well for listeners who in both in Brisbane and around Australia who are looking for some excellent value in the new apartment market, David Beard has been our guest and if you’ve missed by conversation with him, I’ve got good news for you. We’ve got a recording on our website, we’ve got on SoundCloud, YouTube and iTunes, you can listen to the whole recording again. We’ve also got a transcript if you prefer to read it. David, thank you for making yourself available to us today, I appreciate you’re a busy man and it’s been a fascinating chat.
David: My pleasure Wayne. Thank you very much.
Wayne: You’re listening to Business Radio Talkers.FM. My name is Wayne Bucklar.