Bondi Junction turns around its ageing Cinderella property status

Bondi Junction turned around its ageing Cinderella property status in five hours last Saturday.

The property developer legacy property secured the off the plan sale of 90 apartments - a sale every four minutes in their Capitol offering.

There are just the three apartments still yet to find buyers.

Old timers know it as "The Jungo", but Bondi Junction is increasingly a diverse neighbourhood that will challenge the likes of Chatswood and St Leonards when attracting investors and renters.

Undoubtedly Westfield Bondi Junction was the tipping point, just like the Eastgate Garden Coles high rise was when Bondi Junction had it first go at shedding its reputation. That was the mid-1980s Warren Anderson-built Spring Street highrise towers whose enduring occupancy has perhaps given the suburb a musty reputation.

Wesfield Bondi Junction, known by young professional as WBJ, has more than 400 stores and 3,200 parking spaces.

Interestingly the developers of 253 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction commissioned Dickson Rothschild to undertake the Capitol project (pictured below)- they did the urban design for Westfield, Sydney CBD - and also BKH, the cutting edge architectural and interior design practice headed by Iain Halliday.

capitol-aug-16-one

But its the position which has been the sleeper for the precinct; the proximity to the city via public transport is its key selling point, especially for the young renter. 

The new developments are within walking distance of Bondi Junction station, along with bus services to either the city or nearby eastern suburb desitinations.

Investors are offering not just shopping and entertainment proximity as their are parklands close by including Centennial Park.

Families are quite the same dominant demographic as young renters and empty nesters, but the suburbs has schools in easy reach including the well-respected Woollahra Public School.

Capitol also has views of the harbour.

Local investors made up most of the buyers through agents CBRE. Half the buyers were local investors, with many planning to possibly move in down the track.

Studio apartments were marketed as starting at $495,000 but with a $575,000 upper end. Most one-bedders that were priced from $495,000 to $770,000 would sold at yields of between 5% and 6%.

The Australian Financial Review suggsted the buyers were paying $14,500 per square metre with $17,500 per square metre for the choice offerings.

Hyder said Waverley Council fought the project "tooth and nail" which was the backdrop for the limited stock.

Investor and regular Property Observer columnist, Pete Wargent likes and also invests in Bondi Junction.

"Like most properties I own, my Bondi Junction investment is near a transport hub," he says.

"I learned this from London: at the rate the population of Sydney is growing, there will be a diabolical traffic problem within 10 years and properties with public transport links to the city will become highly sought after," Pete Wargent explained. 

It's worth recalling the pricing of those Eastgate Towers units. In 1986 the units ranged in price from $118,000 for a one-bedroom unit to $1.2 million for a penthouse.

I recall the Laing & Simmons selling agent Erle Cramer offering low-interest loans, after a lull in sales, to buyers who could borrow 65 per cent of the cost of the unit at 12% interest over three years.

They'd sold around half the 220 units in the twin towers - which worked out to be one unit every working day in the first six months of the marketing.

So much for the good ol' days.

 

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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