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Factors affecting Melbourne's apartment market explained

SME Finance Group's Brendan Barry-Murphy gives us his 'rule of thumb' when it comes to Melbourne's apartment market

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17 May 2017

The company that started as the preferred finance consultants to the Alan Hamilton - Porsche Cars Australia Group 20 years ago became Michael Pratt & Associates, a business model formed by concentrating on finance broking for motor vehicles, equipment and mortgage finance. In 1998 Pratt & Co Financial Services evolved with the offering of more sophisticated financial solutions.

The business continues to trade today, run by Brendan Barry-Murphy and his son Nathan, who, with a team of finance specialists, commenced SME Commercial Finance in 2005. SME has become a leader in funding new technologies including solar panels and LED lighting through its innovative and flexible funding alternatives. Meanwhile, the mortgage finance division arranges competitive loans across both commercial and residential properties.
There was a window of opportunity to operate a finance company that specialised in direct, vendor, and white label finance solutions, and SME Commercial Finance continues to manage a substantial motor vehicle and equipment finance portfolio, with over 2000 clients based in the heart of South Yarra.

"We are a finance company specialising in asset finance, mortgage finance, and cashflow lending including debtor finance and unsecured loans for business as well as white label solutions. If your business needs cash at short notice, SME has the facilities to provide a solution within 48 hours." Barry told Neos Kosmos.

"We have been involved in sourcing finance for businesses and individuals for over 40 years – so we really know finance well, as well as what is going down at the moment in Melbourne's apartment market."

At the moment, more than 50 per cent of new apartments bought and resold in the five years to 2016 in Melbourne sold at a loss research shows, pointing out the exuberance of the market, inflated commissions and poor quality construction for the poor results.

"I often get asked a lot about my views of the apartment market in Melbourne," Barry says.

"I don't think you can have one overall view of the market because it can vary depending on the area, the type of apartment, and how much you have to spend. However, an analysis by BIS Oxford Economics of all apartments bought and sold since 2011 shows that resales of established apartments have seen a much stronger growth than the off-the-plan ones."

In Brisbane and Sydney, buyers of off-the-plan apartments received substantially less growth than if they'd bought older apartments, whereas buyers of established apartments in Sydney achieved the biggest profits when reselling in the same time period, with 25.9 per cent growth. Off-the-plan transactions returned 7.5 per cent growth. Off-the-plan, or new apartments, refer to units where a new title of ownership has been created in a development and then onsold. Whereas established properties include those that have transacted previously.

In Melbourne, the average aggregate loss for an off-the-plan buyer – determined by adding up all the purchase prices and subtracting it from the sales prices – was 2.7 per cent. Those who bought established apartments saw gains of 7.4 per cent. Melbourne, Carlton, West Melbourne, and Docklands were the worst performing localities for off-the-plan apartments with 10 or more sales, and losses of up to 7.44 per cent. Sydney recorded no areas with overall declines – the worst performer was Rose Hill, which delivered gains of 13.2 per cent since 2011.

"The rule of thumb that property prices increase due to land value, not building value, holds true, according to the BIS research," he adds highlighting that off-the-plan property prices are higher as the value includes the developer's cut, while in many instances investors can even lose money due to increases in oversupply of similar stock in the area.

Meanwhile, the height prices can reach in a specific area seems to be buyer-dependent as some may be willing to pay additional funds in the depth of time, in order to avoid getting financing immediately. People aiming to live in the property for a long period are more likely to buy off-the-plan even if it means paying tomorrow's prices.

"Based on our clientele and available research, we would advise future buyers to keep in mind that if off-the-plan properties fall in value or were bought for more than their worth, the buyer will need to find a bigger deposit to cover what the bank won't lend to them."

* As well as providing loan and rental funding solutions across a broad range of services, SME offers access to all of the major and non-major banks through its well established relationships and affiliations program enabling clients to access the best deal based on their borrowing circumstances.

For enquiries and more information head to smefg.com.au, phone 1300 ASK SME (1300 275 763) or email sme@smefg.com.au

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