City Beat May 2024: Sydney unit growth doubles houses in April

There's been movement in the off the plan apartment market in April from Third.i, Landream, Top Spring and Central Element
City Beat May 2024: Sydney unit growth doubles houses in April
Joel Robinson May 9, 2024CITY BEAT

Affordability has continued to pinch budgets in Sydney, with unit value growth outstripping houses for the second month in a row.

CoreLogic's Home Value Index showed unit values in the harbour city jumped rose 0.6 per cent, compared to the 0.3 per cent growth in houses.

The median unit value in Sydney is now $844,000, having started the year at $828,000.

CoreLogic's research showed that across the country there's been robust growth in the lower-value segment of the property market remains evident.

Sydney in particular showcased resilience in its lower quartile and middle market, both witnessing a 1.7 per cent quarterly change in dwelling values (units and houses) compared to a more subdued 0.5 per cent increase in the upper quartile of dwelling values. 

What happened in Sydney's off the plan apartment market in April?

First home buyers have been steadily returning to the off the plan apartment market following a period of mass exodus triggered by the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) rapid interest rate hikes.

The surge in interest can be attributed in part to growing confidence that interest rates have likely peaked, coupled with an increase in the availability of more affordable housing options.

Over the past three months, the RBA has maintained a steady interest rate, and the expectation is, despite higher-than-expected inflation figures in Q1, that rates will start to come down a few times in 2025, if not earlier.

Dave Milton, CBRE Managing Director of Residential Projects, says they've seen first home buyer numbers increase by 11 per cent in the first four months of 2024 compared to 2023.

Most first home buyers are couples who are buying the more expensive two-beds, CBRE's data shows, happier to pay more for what they want rather than drop their requirements to fall under the government's stamp duty benefits.

Read more: First home buyer activity lifts across Sydney's off-the-plan apartment market as interest rates steady

There's also been strength at the top end of the market. First Quadrant Properties and Qualitas have all but sold out the first stage of their new Willoughby apartment development, Willoughby Grounds.

All of the one and two-bedroom apartments have been snapped up in the first building, Fleming, which was designed to pay homage to the tanneries from the 1800s.

A big trend in the project has been the appetite from the four-bedroom stock. The team had to amalgamate apartments to keep up with the demand. Those were selling from around $3.5 million.

Luxury developer Central Element smashed all the records in Coogee in April. They sold a three-bedroom penthouse in their heritage restoration project, Ballamac House

The 241 sqm penthouse sold for just under $83,000 per sqm internally, and close to $90,000 per sqm when incorporating the 77 sqm of external space.

City Beat May 2024: Sydney unit growth doubles houses in April

Top Spring Australia also broke price records in April at their St Leonards South masterplan, The Newlands.

They amassed over $50 million in sales in April following the launch of the second stage of the parkside project. So far The Newlands has been a hit with owner-occupiers due to its positioning as offering a 'wellness utopia.'

A one-bedroom apartment was sold in the latest release for $1.25 million, while a two-bedder exchanged for $1.93 million and a three-bedroom with city skyline views for $4.09 million. 

Top Spring Australia Managing Director, Sydney Ma, said the embedded sustainability and wellness elements in The Newlands were proving just as important to buyers as its proximity to the harbour and the new Metro station opening later this year. 

The final apartments in The Grand Residences in Eastlakes by  Crown Group were released in April, offering a rare opportunity for prospective purchasers to buy into the prized Eastern Suburbs market at an affordable pricepoint.

Known for spacious apartments and top-tier amenities like a 25-metre heated pool, gym, and landscaped gardens, Crown Group continues its tradition of delivering premium living experiences.

April also saw Fig & Wattle, the new Pyrmont project by national developer Landream take a big step, with stage two development approval from the City of Sydney Council for the $330 million Wattle Street project.

Landream secured the 12,381 sqm site at 14-26 Wattle Street in 2021, previously known as Saunders Quarry and later as the City of Sydney Council depot.

The Pyrmont project is ready to take advantage of the $750 million of the Sydney Fish Markets at Blackwattle Bay, which following the redevelopment will create a major food and dining precinct for the area, just a stone's throw away from Wattle Street.

Read more: Landream secures stage two approval for their $330 million Pyrmont apartment project

City Beat May 2024: Sydney unit growth doubles houses in April

More plans were submitted near the Harbour in April as Luke Berry and Ron Dadd's Third.i has sought to create a luxury apartment development in Rushcutters Bay.

The $21.6 million development at 51-57 Bayswater Road will comprise 12 apartments above two retail tenancies on the ground level.

Woods Bagot said the location presents an "outstanding opportunity to merge the development's rich Art Deco heritage with its natural surroundings, creating a harmonious blend of historical charm and modern amenities."

Billionaire James Packer is reportedly one of the financiers of the project.

Read more: First look exclusive: Third.i plot luxe Rushcutters Bay apartments

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson is the Editor in Chief at Urban.com.au, managing Urban's editorial team and creating the largest news cycle for the off the plan property market in the country. Joel has been writing about residential real estate for nearly a decade, following a degree in Business Management with a major in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University in England. He specializes in off the plan apartments, and has a particular interest in the development application process for new projects.

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