The Australian APT story DEC 4th 2017

‘The Australian’ 4th December feature on Australian Property Tours

Mystery bus tour takes Brisbane buyers to developers’ door

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Jenny Wong and Craig Love bought a two-bedroom, two-bathroom Yeronga property for $435,000. Picture: Claudia Baxter

“The Boxing Day sale of real ­estate” is how David Beard opens his Australian Property Tour of Brisbane apartments going cheap, largely as a result of defaults by foreign buyers.

Inspired by the oversupply of apartments in the Brisbane market, Mr Beard saw an opportunity to bring local buyers to developers desperate to sell completed units.

“Every industry has its Boxing Day and today is ours,” he said, as 58 people boarded the bus for the five-hour mystery tour. “We don’t work for any of the developers, but I can assure you we’ve spent a lot of time putting these deals in place. The prices available today won’t be available tomorrow.”

Those on the bus range from hopeful first-home buyers with parents in tow to retirees and investors, all hopeful of landing a great apartment at a deeply discounted price. There was also a handful of real estate agents seeking a good buy for their own clients and property advisers curious to see where the tour went.

The first port of call was a ­masterplanned community at Hamilton on Brisbane’s northside. On offer were one, two and three-bedroom apartments with access to a fully equipped gymnasium and 20m swimming pool, for a 10 per cent discount on the retail price.

In the case of a two-bed two-bath unit, buyers were looking at $513,000, down from $569,000.

Amanda Earl, 22, of Wishart on Brisbane’s southside, said the $20,000 first-home buyer’s grant available on a newly built apartment or house, had spurred her to take the plunge into property.

“I’ve already made offers on two apartments on the southside, so I guess I just wanted to see how they stack up,” Ms Earl said.

Next stop was Ascot, where a private developer had reduced his $550,000 asking price on a two-bed, two-bath unit to $510,000.

Interested buyer Sophie Bourboulas liked the proximity to the city. “We’re downsizing, we’ve sold our house but we’ve just started to look,” she said.

“I’m pleasantly surprised by what I’ve seen on this tour.”

It was on to Bowen Hills, but as Mr Beard pointed out, nothing was for sale. Hours after he negotiated a 19 per cent discount on several new apartments, an investor jumped in and snapped them up, leaving Australian Property Tours with a hole in its itinerary.

“Brisbane just can’t get it right in the apartment market,” said Mr Beard. “There’s either an oversupply or an undersupply, and once the current stock goes, probably by the end of next year, there’s not going to be much coming on to the market at all.”

The city’s first “branded residential property”, in Fortitude Valley, was next, where a two-bed, two-bath apartment reduced from $581,000 to $495,000 created much interest. The only problem? The apartment was not available for viewing because it’s part of a hotel complex.

Sonya Bennett from the Sunshine Coast, said the tour provided a “different perspective … I’m more interested in the outer-city, older style properties with more greenery. We won’t be pulling out the cheque book today.”

Those who did were Logan Village couple Craig Love and Jenny Wong at the final port of call, in Yeronga. Mr Love said the $435,000 two-bed, two-bath apartment, reduced from $490,000, simply ticked all the boxes.

“It’s in a great location close to public transport, schools and sports facilities, it offers a good rental return and has high-quality finishes,” Mr Love said.