Property acquisitions in prized locations remain rife with opportunity

11 September 2023

Demand is growing strongly for quality, mid-density housing as people seek lifestyle-oriented locations in major cities, says Tim Lowe, managing director of Lowe Living, a property developer specialising in boutique medium-density living in Melbourne’s aspirational suburbs.

He says there is mounting evidence to show that people are looking to move back into the inner suburbs and CBDs for social and work reasons, and, consequently, there is increased demand for upmarket housing that combines quality and luxury in these locations.

“There are several factors playing out. Employers are increasingly wanting people back in the office post-COVID. We have even seen Zoom announce recently that they were implementing a return to the office policy.

“At the same time, many of these people are downsizing to apartment or townhouse accommodation, having the financial capacity to be able to acquire property in these prized locations.

“At this end of the market, price is often not the primary consideration, which is why there is effectively no upper limit on the sales price that can be achieved. Compounding the demand factor is the continuing stream of expatriates returning home post-COVID as well as high immigration levels of which a percentage will be able to afford this type of accommodation.”

Lowe adds that the construction sector is finding its feet again after a “complicated” few years. “We’re not seeing the price increases that occurred immediately after COVID, and that’s restoring confidence to the entire property market.”

Lowe Living has a $500 million development and $160 million construction pipeline, with its most recent project being Clarendon Street in the inner-city suburb of South Melbourne.

Lowe says the Clarendon Street project – construction of the building that will boast three retail tenancies, two levels of premium offices and 36 luxury residential apartments is expected to begin in mid-2024 – typifies the type of development that is enjoying a resurgence in demand.

“There is, in our opinion, a lack of luxury new apartments available for owner-occupiers in South Melbourne and surrounding areas such as Middle Park, St Kilda West and Albert Park, yet more than 60 per cent of its residents are professionals and managers, with 70 per cent aged between 25 and 65.

“It also offers proximity to the Melbourne CBD, retail and South Melbourne Market, strong social infrastructure and access to public transport.”

Lowe adds that there is also demand for boutique commercial and retail space in the South Melbourne area, so we’re expecting this project to come on to a market that’s growing strongly.”

Apartment retail sales prices are expected to range from $1,470,000 to $10,500,000. Commercial and retail sales prices are targeted at a rate of $12,500 per square metre.