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Why Brisbane is hot property at the moment

A little less cosmopolitan, a little less youthful than its southern neighbours but 'Brissy' is far sunnier and growing hotter as an investment destination

Streets Beach, a manmade beach in Brisbane's inner city. Martin Valigursky/Shutterstock[/caption]

Last week, Brisbane set a record in residential property with the sale of a Kangaroo Point mansion for AUD18.48 million (USD14.28 million). The transaction surpasses the 2014 sale of an Aaron Avenue home to Gina Rinehart, the richest person in Australia, for AUD14 million.

The high-end Brisbane residential market has indeed seen a positive shift toward the end of last year, according to Ray White New Farm, which brokered the latter sale. Indeed, Brisbane registered a record number of transactions in homes above the AUD5-million threshold in 2016.

Asians in particular are waxing zealous for Brisbane, the third most searched state capital in Australia on Chinese property portal showed. Demand for Brisbane homes from international investors stem the most from China, followed by the United States, New Zealand and England, according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).

“We see the gap between Sydney and Melbourne closing in the next couple of years," said Patrick Hunt, manager at local property titan Indigo Building Group. The northern migration from an investment point of view continues."

Brisbane enjoys far less volatility than Gold Coast, Queensland's other large metropolis. “Gold Coast tends to suffer from a boom-bust cycle more so than Brisbane,” Hunt added.

[caption id="attachment_61932" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Winter Festival in Brisbane's King George Square. Martin Valigursky/Shutterstock[/caption]

Next to the frothy markets in New South Wales and Victoria, Brisbane's affordability has resonated with offshore investors. For perspective, the median house price in Sydney stands at AUD867,000, while that of Brisbane is AUD635,000, per REIQ data.

“People can't afford the yield that they're looking for in other cities; their returns aren't there,” said Mitch Koper, media manager at property analytics firm “In Brisbane, you can buy a house for AUD600,000 and get a return of 7 or 8 percent in some cases. It's a very reasonably priced market.”

For all its lure, however, Brisbane has posed challenges to enthusiasm among international investors of late. In June, the Queensland government levied a 3 percent surcharge on foreign purchases.

More: Are Asian home buyers facing racist backlash in Australia?

Then there are more inherent challenges. Although it boasts more sunny days than the more ephemeral climes of its southern neighbours, ‘Brissy' still somehow lacks the sophistication of the south. “I moved to Sydney because Brisbane is so laidback,” said Mark Mitchell, a Filipino-Australian systems analyst. “Brisbane is a place to retire, a good place if you are old, although it does have a man-made beach in the City at Southbank.”

“What I hate about Brisbane is that it’s too small. Everyone knows each other, a bit racist,” said Angie, a Vietnamese makeup artist who married to a Greek in Brisbane. “Clubs ain’t that great, and there are not that many events like in Melbourne.

“Also, sh*t coffees.”

Read next: Has Australia had enough of Asian buyers?


Architectural icon Zaha Hadid leaves a legacy of striking designs behind

Hadid was the first female Pritzker Prize winner

[caption id="attachment_51197" align="aligncenter" width="740"]Courtesy Bridgitte Lacombe Photo by: Bridgitte Lacombe[/caption]

Iraqi-born British “starchitect” Dame Zaha Hadid, the designer of groundbreaking structures such as the London Olympic Aquatic Centre, has passed away at age 65, the BBC reports.

Considered by many as one of the world’s greatest contemporary architects, Hadid established her own practice, Zaha Hadid Architects, in 1979, focusing on fluid and geometric designs that imply speed, movement and freedom.

“I am non-European, I don’t do conventional work and I am a woman,” the New York Times quotes her in an old interview.

More: Architecture trends that you need to know about

A trailblazer, Hadid was the first woman to receive the coveted Pritzker Prize for Architecture. Last year, she also became the first female awardee of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) Gold Medal.

On the icon’s passing, Riba president Jane Duncan said: "This is absolutely terrible news. Dame Zaha Hadid was an inspirational woman, and the kind of architect one can only dream of being: visionary and highly experimental.”

As the world celebrates the life of Dame Zaha, let us take a look at some of the most recent innovative designs that she has left behind.


One Thousand Museum Tower 

Miami’s 63-storey skyscraper will be completed in 2017. It will be the first US tower to have a glass fibre concrete outer shell (which will be shipped from Dubai) and the city’s only private rooftop helipad.


Grace on Coronation complex

The controversial residential project was greenlit by Brisbane’s City Council in mid-2015 despite breaching city height laws. The three-tower development resembles champagne flutes, with the third tower reaching 27 storeys.


Tokyo Olympics-Paralympics stadium plan

Despite being scrapped at the last minute back in July 2015, Hadid’s futuristic design for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics would have cost USD2 billion to build, according to Japanese authorities. The Dame expressed disappointment following the project’s cancellation, saying that the astronomical costs were not due to the design, “which uses standard materials and techniques well within the capability of Japanese contractors and meets the budget set by the Japan Sports Council.” Only time will tell if Hadid’s vision for the Tokyo Olympic stadium will ever be used.

Australia beckons for Asian investors

Australian real estate may yet present a good investment opportunity this year with untapped growth that is attracting Asian investors undeterred by some of Australia’s foreign property ownership restrictions.

Chinese, Singaporean and Malaysian buyers continuing to lead demand, particularly in major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne.

Mr Julian Sedgwick, senior associate director for international residential sales at real estate agency Savills, quoted by, reported that there were 800 enquiries received at Savills over a recent weekend for two or three property launches in Sydney.

"We sold about 25 per cent of the units from one such property and as many as 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the buyers are Asian," he said.

With Sydney and Melbourne commanding already high prices - an inner-city one-bedroom home in Sydney currently commands up to A$750,000 ($984,000) - analysts expect market focus to shift to other cities where demand and prices are lower.

To ward off the threat of asset bubbles, Australian policy-makers raised interest rates to 4.75 per cent last month. But analysts say this will not put off Asian investors. Singaporeans, for example, can finance their Australian properties with loans pegged to a lower interest rate of about 1.5 to 2 per cent.

Market watchers expect property prices to rise as much as 8 per cent next year and analysts have predicted that CBD properties could see returns of 6 to 7 per cent and a 5 per cent rental return on suburban houses.

Australia Property News: Waterfront at Newstead launches in Brisbane

The first sod has been turned in a $A1 billion ($US630.9 million) development that will create a new "mini suburb" on the banks of the Brisbane River.

The first stage of Waterfront at Newstead, to be built on a former gas works site, will cost $350 million and deliver more than $50 million in public infrastructure. The project, to be developed over the next 12 to 15 years, will eventually be home to 1,350 permanent residents.

Off-the-plan sales include apartments from $2 million up to a $14 million penthouse.

The project, one of the largest underway in southeast Queensland, will create up to 400 construction jobs. Mirvac chief executive Matthew Wallace said the site, overlooking a dual reach of the Brisbane River less than 2km from the city centre, would ultimately become a suburb in its own right.

"The heart and soul of this development will be the extensive community parklands, lake, publicly accessible riverfront areas and recreational spaces, which will cover more than 50 per cent of the overall site area," he said."

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