Renewal Puts Freo On Cusp of Change
What key drivers attracted you to develop in Fremantle and what is it that makes it attractive from a developer’s perspective?
Interestingly, our initial focus on Fremantle raised some eyebrows. In the early days we did significant work building a reputation as an inner city developer. All our projects were strategically located around the CBD and we actively promoted a new form of urban living specific to this area. It appeared in vast contrast to the eclectic beach and port side environment of Fremantle, but to us it held similar hallmarks.
What Match is very good at is identifying strategically located sites with good infrastructure and growth prospects. We laid our first claim to land in the early stages of South Beach Estate because we saw enormous potential.
Many find it hard to pigeonhole Fremantle due to its location and diverse population. However, it is without question a place where people want to live and we believed we could offer something unique to the mix.
Give us a brief overview of your Fremantle-based projects (past and current)
The Summer, South Fremantle – COMPLETED
Australia’s first Green Star Multi-Residential Building offering 36 luxury apartments with ocean views.
Heirloom by Match, Fremantle – COMPLETED
Highly celebrated and award-winning adaptive use of Fremantle’s iconic Dalgety Wool Stores heritage building.
M/28 by Match, South Terrace, Fremantle – COMPLETED
A boutique development of just 20 apartments and 6 commercial spaces located in the very heart of the eclectic South Terrace community.
M/27 by Match, Parry Street, Fremantle – UNDER CONSTRUCTION
A boutique development of just 40 park side apartments and conservation of the heritage listed substation building located in the midst of Fremantle’s historic and cultural centre.
Somersault, Fremantle – COMPLETED
An apartment complex of 58 affordable living residences inspired by the materials and textures synonymous with Fremantle.
Sublime, North Fremantle – COMPLETED
Just 16 beautifully appointed apartments incorporating exteriors with colours that reflect the nearby “Dingo’ flour mill.
Match has also extended its interest along Fremantle’s Coastal Corridor into areas such as North Coogee and Port Coogee including apartments and terrace homes.
There’s now a long list of developments planned or underway in Fremantle – what do you think has recently made it attractive for development?
Fremantle is definitely a place where increased development activity greatly improves the area’s atmosphere and appeal.
As Perth’s second largest CBD, the transition from a tourism and industrial location to a central residential and lifestyle hub has required both good planning and a period of adjustment. As more people are attracted to the area, they stimulate demand for residential product and, in doing so, creates an atmosphere that resembled some of the best and most populous cities in the world.
The factors that today make Fremantle so attractive could not simply be switched on. Match identified the City’s potential a long time ago but knew it would take capacity to build capacity. It is so great to see what has emerged since we arrived over a decade ago.
What are your anticipations for Fremantle’s future property market and the town itself?
Match has invested heavily in Fremantle and, in particular, its coastal corridor. We now have quite a significant footprint of projects in and around the area. We wouldn’t have made Fremantle our focus if we didn’t believe in its growth and potential.
There are very few places in Australia, if not around the world, that offers such a vibrant urban atmosphere with outstanding community infrastructure, as well as access to a coastal lifestyle. This is unique and unique translates to value.
We believe the town will continue to evolve as more people move into the community. Fremantle will continue to be a sought-after location, and quality product will become the differentiator in the property game.
We have been extremely lucky to work with a city council that is both visionary and takes a collaborative approach to development. Good planning underpins the success of any environment, and shutting the doors on development completely could have been disastrous for Fremantle.
What many might not realise is that what we are seeing now is the result of a considered approach that has been in the works for over a decade.
Strategic development sites, such as Heirloom, have been instrumental to opening key areas of the City to the public and reinvigorating the area’s incredible history.
There have been many bold moves taken over the years by the City of Fremantle, so it’s great to see everything come together for them and the community.
Comments by Lloyd Clark, Managing Director of Match parent company M/Group
Bigger Not Always Better
Developers of smaller apartments projects across Perth say some of the state government’s recent measures to stimulate economic activity and employment in light of COVID-19 are good in theory, but may not meet expectations in practice.
Among the measures is a streamlined assessment process for ‘significant developments’, defined as those projects with an estimated cost of at least $30 million or new residential buildings proposing more than 100 dwellings.
Developer and architect Barry Baltinas hopes the approvals process for the smaller, high-end apartment projects he focuses on could also be streamlined.
“These smaller projects can get off the ground very quickly, helping to create jobs and incomes for Perth families at a time when that is very much needed,” Mr Baltinas told Business News.
“Now more than ever, buyers are putting their health and the health of their family in focus, and boutique living aligns with that.”
Baltinas’s latest project, the $19 million Habitat Residences in Applecross, recently completed construction and features 14 apartments and three penthouses.
Mr Baltinas said the lack of shared facilities at the projects had proved to be a drawcard, particularly in recent weeks.
“It not only means fewer maintenance costs, but brings fewer health implications, which is obviously top of mind for many buyers right now,” he said.
“We’re seeing more activity in the market, in particular from those downsizers who have not been greatly impacted financially by recent events.”
M/Group managing director Lloyd Clark said there had been a lot of speculation about the potential negative impact of COVID-19 on the property industry, but the company’s apartment arm Match, which mostly develops 30-40 dwellings over three to five storeys, had not adjusted its pipeline.
“Boutique product holds its value,” Mr Clark told Business News.
“It’s important to note that the apartment market is heavily impacted by continued population growth, and an emerging generation that values central urban living over the half-acre block.”
Mr Clark said this would continue to increase demand for quality product in desirable locations.
“If the government’s mandate is to stimulate the economy and fast track project development, it needs to approach all areas of the property sector equally,” he said.
“We believe it is absolutely counterproductive for the government to favour one style of dwelling over another in any capacity.
“There is a whole market sector that would never consider high-density living, so disadvantaging them with time delays does not service anyone.”
Excerpt from Business News – 22 June 2020
A Terrace Home Affair for Match
Most people know that Match has been a significant trailblazer for the Perth apartment living scene. This well-earned distinction was bestowed over two decades ago when the company founders challenged Perth’s planning code and pushed design parameters to protect our streetscapes from large unsightly ‘cookie-cutter’ apartment product.
The introduction of cutting-edge boutique apartment design into our urban environments was something many had not seen before, and the company’s ability to secure highly visible and strategic lifestyle sites made everyone sit up and notice.
Today, Match is still delivering a stunning range of apartment designs and the market is now fully aware of the benefits apartment living can provide.
So, why is the company shifting its attention to Terrace Homes?
After its enormous success in the apartment sector, Match recently stunned its followers by introducing two projects that have moved away from its recognised apartment formula.
M/31 Terrace Homes and M/32 Terrace Homes are located in Landcorp’s visionary Shoreline Precinct in North Coogee.
The two projects are idyllically positioned just metres from the coastline and, like all other Match product, are distinctive in design and layout.
Lloyd Clark, Managing Director of Match parent company, M/Group, said the new category of housing was an exciting shift for the Match design team, but was not such a huge leap in terms of the company’s design philosophy.
“Every one of Match’s projects is distinctive in many ways, because we design specifically for the location and the residents we hope to attract to it,” he said.
“There is no doubt that Perth’s perception of apartment living has changed over the years, and that more and more people are moving away from the half acre block on the fringes of the city to a more lifestyle-driven atmosphere closer to the action.
“When we secured these incredible sites at Shoreline, we saw an opportunity to give our residents an experience that sits somewhere in between.”
M/31 Terrace Homes by Match are well-appointed three-bedroom terrace homes that include open plan layouts that integrate indoor and outdoor living. Each home comes with a double carport, private and sheltered courtyard, and is architecturally designed to maximise light, space and breeze.
M/32 Terrace Homes by Match is based on a unique architectural style that uses beautifully landscaped laneways and a central lawn area to create a sense of privacy, serenity and space. The terrace homes are designed to be ultra-modern and their floorplans are spacious laid out across three stories.
“As the apartment market has evolved, so too has Match’s desire to keep meeting the demand of people who want the best out of their lives and their home environments,” he said.
“We helped to break the mould of apartment living back in the early 2000’s, now we’re looking to bring even more to the table in terms of innovation and style.”
Prices for M/31 Terrace Homes by Match start from $550,000 and M/32 Terrace Homes by Match start from $685,000.
Can isolation inoculation hold for apartments?
Prices and sales of apartments are stable, but developers are calling for more stamp duty reform.
Western Australia’s property developers hope the physical isolation that has helped mitigate the worst of COVID-19 in this state will also insulate the local apartment market from a contagion of a different kind.
While sales of off-the-plan apartments on the east coast are reportedly down 15 per cent or more in recent weeks, that trend is yet to fully materialise in Perth, at least anecdotally.
Apartments in central Perth have remained relatively resilient during the past three years in terms of maintaining their resale values, according to research analysts PropertyESP.
Director Samantha Reece said this resilience, paired with Perth’s location, had so far buffered the market from the economic fallout of COVID-19.
“For the first time in history we are actually glad that we’re isolated,” Ms Reece told Business News.
“While there will be some national companies that feel the effect from the east coast – there is a bit more of a lag happening there than here – those companies based in WA, I believe, will actually continue on business as usual.”
That appears to be the case for Subiaco-based Stirling Capital, which recently achieved practical completion at its 26 on Charles mixed-use development in South Perth.
Stirling Capital sales and marketing director Daniel-Paul Filippi said just a small number of the 28 boutique apartments and four levels of commercial office space remained for sale.
“In terms of valuations, we’ve had zero impact,” Mr Filippi told Business News.
“I’ve had all the major valuers through our Charles Street project and we’ve had no problem.
“People are waiting to see if there’s going to be those sorts of big drops that have been reported [on the east coast]. We didn’t have a lot of foreign buyers anyway, so I don’t see as much impact.”
Mr Filippi said the market’s saving grace could be the resources sector, as one of the key drivers of the state’s economic activity.
“The fact is, WA is still ticking along, so everything is indicating that maybe WA and Darwin will be the least affected by all of this,” he said.
M/Group managing director Lloyd Clark said there had been less disruption on projects than initially anticipated, with inquiries returning just as quickly as Perth moved through the easing of restrictions. Mr Clark said inquiries had also tended to be more qualified and ready to buy.
Given that market confidence, the group is pushing ahead with plans to start construction on its M/27 apartment development in Fremantle.
“In terms of valuation, Perth is in a unique position comparative to the rest of Australia,” Mr Clark said.
“Our property values were already at the lower end of the property cycle, and apartment prices currently represent excellent value for money.
“While the fallout of the pandemic might create value variances in other states, I believe it is unlikely in Perth.
“In light of the activity over the last few months, I would expect to see apartment prices on our projects hold as the market restabilises and returns to growth in 2021.”
M/Group is progressing plans to start construction on its M/27 40-apartment development in Fremantle.
Apartment developer Paul Blackburne is also expecting prices to remain steady, and said COVID-19 had not yet affected sales, with most of his apartment stock already sold.
Blackburne’s Marina East development, located in Ascot Waters, finished construction in May with 80 per cent of apartments sold.
“The past 12 months have been our highest-selling year on record with $203 million in sales in just the first nine months,” Mr Blackburne told Business News.
“Now that things are opening up more and the major threat of the crisis is most likely over, people have started buying in larger volumes.
“Prices had gone up for four months in a row. The next year would have seen 3 to 5 per cent growth.”
Outlook Data compiled by real estate services firm JLL revealed that apartment sales in the inner city were down 3.9 per cent in the 12 months to the fourth quarter of 2019.
However, apartment sales activity was up 12.5 per cent in the fourth quarter on the preceding three months.
JLL manager of strategic research Ronak Bhimjiani said this had most likely been fuelled by the 75 per cent stamp duty rebate on off-the-plan purchases.
Additionally, Mr Bhimjiani said apartment values increased by 1.7 per cent in Perth between November 2019 and February 2020, a figure not seen since mid-2013 during the peak of the resources boom.
“The long-awaited recovery in Perth’s apartment market is likely to be delayed, as COVID-19 keeps conditions challenging in the short term,” he said.
“However, it is important to note that current economic and property market data does not yet fully capture the full impact of COVID-19.”
Any anticipated drop in demand could be partially offset by supply, with construction expected to cool off beyond 2020.
Mr Bhimjiani said there were about 380 apartments across a handful of smaller boutique developments likely to be completed in 2021.
Meanwhile, for larger developments previously set for 2021 completion, he said project timelines had been pushed out to 2022, with further economic uncertainty potentially limiting new starts.
“Many of these projects that are in the early stages of marketing or at the development approval stage could slip into later years or be abandoned if sufficient pre-sales are not achieved and economic conditions do not improve,” Mr Bhimjiani said.
“The impact on pricing will ultimately be dependent on the supply versus demand dynamics in the Perth apartment market.”
Finbar managing director Darren Pateman said stamp duty relief would be the best way to boast sales and development activity.
The ASX-listed property development company recently announced it had completed construction of its One Kennedy Maylands project, with sales of $23.5 million secured to date, representing 43 per cent of apartments.
Mr Pateman said there hadn’t been any immediate shift in apartment values, with all recent Finbar contracts at pre-COVID-19 pricing.
“The Perth market was already at one of its most affordable levels pre-COVID, in contrast perhaps to eastern states markets, which were experiencing far higher levels of growth,” Mr Pateman told Business News.
“WA has done it tough for near on five years and pre-COVID we were clearly entering a recovery phase, while eastern states markets have been boiling over for some time.
“Extending the stamp duty rebate beyond off-the-plan sales to projects under construction and new completed stock to encourage commencements will allow vital capital to be redirected to new job creating projects for thousands of Western Australians.”
Mr Pateman said this would help revive the WA economy as it moved into the recovery phase post COVID-19.
Mr Blackburne shared similar thoughts and said further stamp duty reform could also lead to long-term reductions in local council rates, with the greater rates flowing from higher-density developments better supporting council operations and budgets.
Mr Clark agreed and said the role of government was critical to maintaining buyer confidence, which could be achieved by additional stamp duty relief by way of rebate or discount.
“This is about keeping the market moving in the right direction and buyer incentives are proven and successful in this space,” he said.
“Government and industry alike have a significant role to play here.”
Business News – Katie McDonald, Thursday, 4 June, 2020
Subiaco offices at unrepeatable value
Why rent when it’s cheaper to buy, says Amanda Spagnolo, who is selling two new offices at 217 Hay Street, Subiaco. “It is remarkable value for prime commercial real estate,” Amanda, project sales manager at M/Property, said.
They are the last remaining offices in the Rhythm by Match building, which has a total of 27 commercial offices and 9 apartments. Priced from $285,000 plus GST, No.11 is 75sq.m and comes with a car bay. No.18 is slightly bigger and has two bays. The 87sq.m office is on the market from $335,000 plus GST. “They are being offered at well below replacement value, creating an incredible opportunity for the future,” Amanda said. “Both have never been occupied so are brand new ready to fit out as desired.”
Other tenants in the building include a newsagent with a licensed post office, accountant, life coach, real estate agent and a beauty salon. The architect-designed building stands out from other commercial offices in the strip because of its timber-cladded façade. At its centre is a patterned, perforated screen that provides natural light into the common areas. For more details, phone Amanda on 0432 660 066 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tips & Advice | Why is Professional Photography Important?
The importance of professional real estate photography is crucial for first impressions in the competitive apartment market. How the apartment listing presents is imperative to ensure optimal engagement with prospective tenants.
We understand how contemporary tenants go about searching for property in the digital age and we maximise the marketing of your property by taking full advantage of all the media options on offer. We always recommend advertising online. When a prospective tenant is in the market to rent, the images of the property is the first engagement in determining whether the property is right for them. Eye-catching imagery is of utmost importance to ensure maximum value when listing your property online via property portals.
With the property market being highly competitive, it is important to have high quality, presentable and clear photos of your property ensuring it is as attractive and appealing as possible.
Tips & Advice | How To Avoid a Long Vacancy
For owners of an investment property, one of the most frustrating times can be when your property is sitting vacant. Every week that goes by when you don’t have a tenant can have a negative effect of your projected yield.
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from a long vacancy period:
Appoint a Property Manager that you can trust:
• Find a Property Manager that you trust and follow their advice as they will be aware of the current market conditions
Understand the market value:
• It is important that when the time comes to advertise your property, that you do so at the market value
• Although it may be tempting to advertise at a higher rate, if your property is overpriced you are likely to generate less interest
• Your agent should complete a current market appraisal for you, comparing similar properties of the same size and location of your property
Advertise at the right time:
• It is appropriate to advertise 3-4 weeks before the property is available
• Advertising too early might mean that your campaign has lost momentum
• Advertising too late may cause delays as most tenants need to give 21-30 days’ notice to their current property.
Monitor the campaign and adapt if necessary:
• Once the listing is live, monitor is closely and adapt if you’re not receiving any interest or applications
Pay attention to presentation:
• Presenting your property is vital
• Make sure your property is clean and that all appliances are in good working order
• A run-down property will not attract prospective tenants
Consider additional inclusions:
• You may attract more interest if some appliances are included in the lease
• Washing machine, dryer, dishwasher or fridge freezer are good examples
Hold onto great tenants where possible:
• If you have a current tenant who pays on time and maintains the property, it is advisable to try and keep them
• If they wish to end the lease, contact them to see if re-negotiating the terms could keep them at the property
Kiarna’s New Lease for City Apartment Investors
It’s fair to say that apartments are unlike any investment product on the market. There are considerations and strata regulations that require a different approach in order to fully maximise investor returns.
Kiarna Blythman knows too well about the subtle nuances that put apartments in a category of their own.
This is why, after eight years’ experience across all aspects of property leasing and management, Kiarna has joined M/Property as its Business Development Manager. She has assumed the role with a keen interest in demonstrating the value of specialist apartment management to rural owners of city apartments.
“Trusting your investment apartment to someone who only deals with stand-alone houses is like sending your boat to a car mechanic,” Kiarna said.
“There is no question that an apartment investment offers great benefits to those looking for a low-maintenance foothold in the urban marketplace, but there are definitely aspects where it is advantageous to have someone on the ground with knowledge of strata legislation, maintenance requirements and tenant selection tactics.
“M/Property only deals with apartment leases. It seemed a perfect fit for my scope of experience.”
Kiarna has held both ground-floor to senior positions in property sales and leasing, including Sales Administration, Strata Assistance to Property Manager and Leasing Manager.
She joins a highly experienced team of property experts and is backed by the expertise and resources of M/Group; a company that cut its teeth on apartment developments.
M/Group Managing Director, Mr Lloyd Clark, said the introduction of a property management firm to work exclusively in apartment leasing and management was done to fill a gap in the market.
“As a company, our vision has always been to provide our clients with a holistic experience, and we recognised early that engaging a standard property management business to assist our apartment investors did not provide an ideal outcome,” he said.
“Since we launched M/Property, we have grown to become one of Perth’s largest apartment management companies and have helped hundreds of investors through complex apartment and strata issues.
“Our extensive database of prospective tenants can be effectively matched with a depth of knowledge on most apartments complexes across the Perth CBD, Fremantle and surrounding suburbs.
”Kiarna is a welcome addition to our team and is available to provide more detail about our services and offer to anyone looking to upgrade their current management arrangement.”
For more information or to make an appointment with Kiarna, please contact 0499 909 116 or email email@example.com.
How to Improve the Occupancy and Profitability of an Investment Property
While REIWA reported its September Quarter vacancy rate at an encouraging 2.9%, the stats drawn from apartment property management specialists, M/Property, were even lower at 1.97%. As experts in this sector, they believe there is always scope to improve the occupancy and profitability of an investment property.
M/Property is one of the only specialist apartment management and leasing companies in the State. With a dedicated leasing team and over 18 years’ experience in apartment management, the company manages over 600 apartments at any one time.
M/Property Senior Property Manager, Tammy Smith, says that even though the vacancy rate is low in WA, Perth apartment investors can still miss out on valuable and quality tenancies simply by not understanding what is important to the renter.
“We are experiencing a market shift in Western Australia towards long-term renting as a lifestyle choice. This represents an incredible opportunity for property investors,” she said.
“Unlike conventional homes where size and space are often the important factor, when it comes to apartments, location, presentation and flexibility are paramount to both the existing and emerging apartment rental market.”
Tammy says apartments close to community infrastructure, those with access to great facilities and ones outlooks tend to get snapped up, there are a range of other factors that a property investor can control to attract and retain great tenants.
- Sell the dream with professional photography
Rental properties traditionally don’t get the same promotional treatment as homes available for sale. However, in a competitive market, owners will get more interest and potentially higher rentals if they ‘sell the dream’ with professional photography during the marketing phase.
- Add value with furniture
While not for everyone, adding a furniture package to the mix can significantly increase the rental return. A well-furnished apartment can rent out for 25%-75% more than unfurnished apartments. The cost of furniture is also often tax deductable.
- Be flexible with pets
Pet-friendly apartments are increasing in demand as more renters opt for making their apartment a long-term home. In fact, many States across Australia are changing legislation to make it easier for pet ownership in rental properties. Why not get ahead of the game to lock good tenants in early.
- Engage an approachable team
There is nothing more off-putting to a renter than being made to feel like a second-rate citizen. Ensure your property management team are approachable and responsive to not only the renters’ concerns, but also yours.
Tammy says a property management team with a sound knowledge of strata management is also imperative for apartment investors, together with a good relationship with building/facility managers and a solid database of good tenants to source the best tenant for the apartment.
For more information on M/Property services visit www.mproperty.com.au.
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