Brisbane property buyers embrace unit living, with sales surging 25 per cent

Story by couriermail.com.au

BRISBANE residents have embraced apartment living with the number of owner-occupiers buying units in the inner-city jumping 25 per cent in the past five years.

While the number of owner-occupiers accounted for only 25 per cent of apartment sales across inner-Brisbane five years ago, in the past 12 months that number has jumped to about 50 per cent, property researcher Michael Matusik said.

Even though Brisbane's house price growth has ground to a halt, the unit market is still performing well, RP Data researcher Tim Lawless said.

He said values rose 1.9 per cent over the quarter and 7.9 per cent since this time last year.

Mr Lawless said there was still more growth in values to come in the apartment market.

He said with a median unit price of $380,000, Brisbane was the second most affordable city for apartments.

Mr Matusik said many properties sold at that price point were either older apartments being resold or new smaller one-bedroom apartments.

He said the push came from first home buyers who leapt into the market through financial stimulus and could not afford a house and existing homeowners downgrading.

Mr Matusik said inner suburbs such as Indooroopilly and Toowong had experienced consistent apartment price growth in recent years.

Last year the average annual gain was 5.9 per cent, compared to a 1 per cent average growth rate for apartments across the city.

PCN's El Dorado Village project at Indooroopilly has achieved strong presales worth $46.6 million to date.

The majority of buyers are owner occupiers, PCN director Solly Preller said.

The project will include retail, cafes, restaurants and a cinema complex and apartments have up to three bedrooms.

While owner-occupiers are dominating the market at the moment, Mr Matusik said as the trend moves towards increasing yields and smaller apartments, more investors will re-enter the market in the next couple of years.

"We foresee this will result in an undersupply in the market for spacious new apartments over the coming years," he said.

Mr Matusik said about two-thirds of potential owner-residents believed the blending of residential, retail and commercial was important and more than half were willing to pay a premium for this style of project.