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Liam Proberts, Managing Director of Brisbane-based bureau^proberts, has over 20 years’ experience designing award-winning multi-residential and mixed-use developments in Australian and international markets.

Liam shares his top five tips for creating successful development projects in Brisbane.

1. Know Your Neighbourhood

Brisbane has one major city plan made up of lots of smaller neighbourhood plans that encourage developers to respond to the character of a specific city area. This allows government to influence the overarching character of Brisbane in a meaningful way by providing specific incentives to developers. This is of real benefit to developers because it helps them build projects that are more attractive to the market and maximise yield, while at the same time making a significant contribution to the urban fabric of Brisbane.

building construction

2. Respond To Trends

The Brisbane market changes quickly, especially when demand for real estate is high. What the market wants changes almost monthly and developers need to be responsive to this. This means keeping a constant eye on the market by being across social trends. Successful developers are ready to commit to a project as soon as they see an opportunity but are also flexible enough to adapt if the market changes suddenly — for example, from three bedroom apartments to one bedroom studios. Developers need an experienced team that can alter the design just as quickly, and who has strong relationships with local authorities to fast track any planning issues through the system.

Urbanisation is a key trend that has led to more diversity in city populations and is therefore driving the need for more diverse urban housing options. Student housing, aged care developments and single person residences are all big trends in Brisbane now— we’re currently working on a number of owner/occupier single-bed houses, along with single-floor apartments as an alternative to a home. Developers who take into account current social trends are able to create more successful projects because they are directly meeting the needs of the market.

3. Develop Diversity

I believe that development has the greatest influence on how we will live in and enjoy our cities in the future. The quality and variety of developments shapes the character of the city, as well as being of value to the developer because it makes projects more marketable. In the last 18 months there has been a massive boom in the building of compact and affordable apartments in Brisbane, which reflects the rising awareness that you can live comfortably in apartments in a sub-tropical city.

As this awareness grows, so too the design of these smaller dwellings is changing and becoming more diverse in response to the greater demand. We need to look at how to encourage diverse projects that can be commercially successful and create a positive experience for the people who live and work in them.
4. Learn From Other Cities

In Sydney and Melbourne you tend to get ‘champions’ of particular areas in development and I believe there is a lot we can learn from these larger Australian cities. For example, the City of Sydney has its own authority to manage development. Brisbane’s cultural centres of the CBD, Fortitude Valley and South Brisbane would benefit from more incentives for high quality design developments and a special body to promote this could strongly influence the cultural heart of the city in a positive way. Developers can play a role by being advocates for high-quality projects that work for both their bottom line as well the overall character of the city, and by working with local governments to best improve Brisbane going forward.

5. Create A Point Of Difference

We should all strive to be adventurous in finding solutions that exceed client expectations and provide outcomes that make a really positive contribution to the city. bureau^proberts achieved that with M&A in Fortitude Valley. We worked with the local Council on the pedestrian laneway that runs through it and we created a retail and residential mix that has significantly contributed to the area and really livened up that corner of the Valley.

Another point of difference we try to promote in our work is bringing in specialists to help with a project, including working with artists. While the types of residences people require have changed, a desire for a strong sense of identity to place has not. Using integrated art in our building concepts we create developments that are individual and distinguishable, meeting the needs of both the end user and the developer.

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Auction tips: Why and when you should auction



WHEN it comes time to sell your property, the age-old argument of auction versus private treaty naturally comes to the fore.

There is no one best practice but the general consensus among property professionals is both type of housing and market confidence play pivotal roles.

Core Logic RP Data auctions spokesman Kevin Brogan crunched combined capital city data over the 12 months to November 2015 and found higher valued and more unusual properties were taken to auction.

“If you have a house in a street and there are 10 others like it, you have a pretty good idea of what it’s worth,” Mr Brogan said.

“But if it’s unique or unusual you might not be able to pick what it’s worth so you take it to auction on the proviso there’s enough interest.

“Looking at the combined capital city data over the past 12 months to November, you see the general median price of houses that sold at auction is about $950,000.

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Brisbane’s Moreton Bay gaining strength: Terry Ryder



Brisbane's Moreton Bay gaining strength: Terry Ryder

The latest event in the evolution of the Brisbane market is the strong emergence of the Moreton Bay Region in the far north of the city.

It has joined Logan City in the far south as the precinct with the most momentum in the Greater Brisbane area. Meanwhile, Ipswich City in the south-west is putting its hand up as well.

Most national commentators misunderstand what’s happening with the Brisbane market. They look at that single figure which apparently describes the whole Brisbane metropolitan area and conclude not much is happening. Australian Property Monitors says Brisbane prices rose 5% last year while CoreLogic RP Data says 4%.

But beneath that one generalised (and highly misleading) figure, there has been lots of activity in precincts which have recorded double-digit annual growth in median house prices.

Markets in the Greater Brisbane area have been on the move for about two years. The inner-city suburbs were busy a couple of years ago and then the middle-ring suburbs on the northside surged. Many of them had annual growth in the 13% to 15% range. The middle-ring suburbs on the southside joined the party 12-18 months ago.

Now it’s the outer-ring areas that are leading. There are still rising suburbs in those northside and southside middle-market precincts, but it’s the cheaper areas on the outskirts that have the greatest activity and momentum.

In this regard, Brisbane is displaying the same pattern we have seen over the past three years in Sydney and Melbourne – the upturn started in the near-city areas and gradually gravitated outwards from the centre. The Ripple Effect is alive and well in residential real estate.

In Brisbane, Logan City (which is the urban bridge between Brisbane and the Gold Coast) has been  the market leader in terms of sales volumes for the past 12 months or so. But now it’s counterpart in the north, the Moreton Bay Region local government area (which is the urban bridge between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast) has mounted a challenge.

Like Logan City, Moreton Bay Region is all about affordability, transport infrastructure and jobs nodes. Many of the suburbs of Moreton Bay Region – including Caboolture (the capital suburb), Morayfield and Deception Bay – have median prices in the $300,000s, while Burpengary and Narangba are in the low $400,000s.

These are high-volume housing markets: Caboolture, Deception Bay, Morayfield and Narangba have each recorded over 340 house sales in the past 12 months. Some have seen median prices rise 6-7% in the past year – but, in terms of price growth, they’re just getting started.

Median rental yields are an attraction for investors, ranging from 5.2% to 5.6% in most of the suburbs of the Moreton Bay Region.

The LGA includes the Redcliffe Peninsula, which has heightened appeal because the long-awaited Moreton Bay Rail Link will be completed this year.

The overall region has improved amenity through the evolution of the North Lakes master-planned community, which includes major retail (and will soon include an Ikea superstore).

The region also has good proximity to Brisbane Airport, the Port of Brisbane and the Australia Trade Coast industrial precinct, which means plenty of jobs are handy to the suburbs of Moreton Bay Region.


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Illegal homes sell-off will not affect market



THE property industry has backed Treasurer Joe Hockey’s plans to force 500 foreign home owners who breached investment rules to sell their properties.

Mr Hockey said an investigation into foreign investment had found the homes, worth a total of $1billion, were bought outside the investment rules.

He said among those found were overseas students – “some who had never filed a tax return have bought properties worth $5 million”.

Property Council of Australia chief Ken Morrison backed the move, but said it would not do anything to address housing affordability.

Mr Morrison said the sales were a “drop in the ocean” and far too few to impact the market.

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