By Herron Todd White
November 2020

Buyers in the prestige sector can probably choose to live in any of Australia’s major capitals, but those who select Brisbane are often pleased at the calibre of bang they get for their buck.

We have a range of property types on offer, from elevated acreage to riverfront eye-catchers and plush inner-city penthouses.

Back toward the end of last year and heading into 2020, there were early signs our market was about to surge, particularly for detached housing in the inner-city.

But the pandemic saw property markets slow from March through to July, with transaction numbers grinding to a crawl. Owners who didn’t need to sell their homes were holding off listing and buyers, who were filled with uncertainty, were also scarce.

This seems to have turned a corner in recent months.

Queensland’s successful suppression of the virus coupled with our functioning economy has resulted in more action across the prestige sector from August through to present.

And it looks to be sustainable, with our market sources saying current activity is similar in momentum to that experienced prior to the pandemic’s grip. It also appears that prices are holding… and even increasing in some instances.

Many will be surprised by this result. Typically, an anxiety-inducing global event like COVID-19 would have severe impacts on the property market, and the prestige sector in particular given the discretionary nature of its buyers and sellers.

Instead, Brisbane’s upper-price sector has remained resilient. There’s good demand from local owner-occupiers of course, but interest from interstate appears to be surging too. It seems the chance to relocate to our city, with its excellent lifestyle and relative freedoms (compared to Melbourne, for example) is a magnet for the moneyed up.

In fact, once state borders open fully, there’s widespread expectation we’ll see an even stronger market in these upper price points with new Queenslanders looking to come on up and settle both in our capital and on the coasts.

Digging down a little and a comparison of prestige property performance in 2020 to the 2019 calendar year reveals very similar numbers of sales in that upper price echelon.

Our analysis shows that in Brisbane there were 15 detached dwelling sales above $5 million during 2019.

In 2020 to date, there have been 10 confirmed sales with another seven under contract.

It’s worth factoring in that 2019 wasn’t a standout year in the $5-million-plus bracket. This was the result of a number of macro financial changes instigated by Australian regulators which constrained available credit, the impact of the recent Royal Commission into the banking sector and the implementation of its findings, the unsure nature of the federal election in early 2019 and the negative media emerging from the southern states throughout this period.

The outcome in 2019 was longer selling and marketing periods for properties and, in some instances, a softening in asking prices.

But 2020 has proved resilient – even sparkling – and there is an optimism in the air about the coming year. Let’s hope it proves out.

Here are a few examples of high-end house and unit sales in Brisbane during 2020.

14 Sutherland Avenue, Ascot is currently under contract for $13.14 million. The property is a sixbed, circa 1886 colonial home on a 4664 square metre site in one of Brisbane’s most desirable suburbs. The house is in exceptional condition with restored period features throughout. Ancillaries include a pool and tennis court.

38 Eldernell Terrace, Hamilton is currently under contract for a reported $6.15 million. Set on a steep block with views through to the CBD and providing four-bed, four-bath, four-car accommodation, the home comprises a total of 926 square metres of living, outdoor and garage on a 668 square metre site.

36A Oxlade Drive, New Farm is under contract for $8 million. This property is on an 835 square metre riverfront lot with 17 metre river frontage in one of the city’s coolest suburbs. The value is in the land with advertising promoting the option to demolish the existing structure and build a dream residence. That’s a mighty price for a knock down.  32 Sentinel Court, Raby Bay sold for $8.5 million. A five-bed, five-bath, seven-car contemporary home of extraordinarily high-end finish, this home is on 2327 square metres of waterfront land with outlooks from the living spaces stretching across the bay.

90 Virginia Avenue, Hawthorne sold for $9.9 million. A 1619 square metre riverfront allotment improved with a three-level, three-bed, four-bath home, the property is well appointed with views across the river to New Farm and the CBD.

89 Longman Terrace, Chelmer sold for $7 million. This property is a stunning Hamptons style home on a 2401 square metre riverfront allotment. The house provides seven-bed, seven-bath, three-car accommodation. The site includes manicured gardens, pool, tennis court, large lawn area and a pontoon.

59 Molonga Terrace, Graceville sold for $6 million. This three-level, five-bed, three-bath, five-car, hyper-contemporary home on a 1369 square metre riverfront site was designed by Base Architecture and completed with an extraordinarily high standard of fitting and features.

Of course, not all the big money is spent on grand estates with mansions.

As the popularity of apartment living grows, so too do the floor areas and flash facilities on offer. What has been evident over the past few years is that owner occupation of good quality apartments remains strong, despite the fact that an investorstyle unit oversupply depressed the general market.

When you get into the very upper end of attached housing of course, the results can be breathtaking.

Here are a few examples of $4 million-plus sales in Brisbane this year.

350/1 Newstead Terrace, Newstead is under contract for $7.35 million. This fifth-level penthouse is in Pier South – one of the most desirable unit projects in Brisbane. The property is a fourbedroom, four-bathroom, four-car apartment with a total area of 527 square metres. Apart from the usual high-end fitout and spectacular river views, the Pier South development comes with an onsite concierge service… as you do.

Another cracking sale was 3511/30 Hollins Crescent, New Farm which is under contract for $4.81 million. This is a fifth level apartment in the Mitchell building with views taking in the CBD, Story Bridge and the Brisbane River. The apartment is over 350 square metres in area and provides four-bed, threebath, four-car accommodation.

Finally for our apartment list is 3/81 Moray Street, New Farm which sold this year for $4.8 million. The property is on level three of the AQUILA development which has a total of ten one-per-floor residences. It has a prime location, luxe fitout and arguably one of the best CBD views available. The apartment provides for four-bed, three-bath, threecar accommodation all across 418 square metres of living area.

If you were keen on one of the flash pads sold this year but missed out… fear not!

A number of homes have been recently listed and may suit your needs.

Among them is 1 Leopard Street, Kangaroo Point. This home is iconic in Brisbane real estate circles. It sits high on the cliff overlooking the CBD and holds the record for the highest sale price in Brisbane to date at $18,488,888 in November 2016. The property has been listed for sale for around 500 days this time, proving buyers at this price point are extremely rare in Brisbane.

For anyone looking to position themselves high on the hill in Hamilton, 55 Markwell Street could be the go. This contemporary six-bed, five-bath, fourcar home has been renovated under the watchful gaze of renowned local architect, Shaun Lockyer. The 1000-plus square metre house sits on a 2456 square metre site. The property includes a 21-metre lap pool, spa, sauna, gym, full sized squash court and cinema.

154 Virginia Avenue, Hawthorne is also available for purchase. This contemporary four-level riverfront home provides five-bedroom, fivebathroom, three-car accommodation on a 2110 square metre site. The luxe home has a prestige level of fitout and includes a full-size tennis court and resort-style pool.

101 Welsbey Street, New Farm is ready to be bought too. The property is a four-bed, three-bath, eightcar circa 1892 colonial home on 2127 square metres of riverfront land in one of Brisbane’s most desired suburbs and has been listed for sale for around 375 days according to RP Data.

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for – Brisbane’s weird and wonderful sales and listings.

Among the most outrageous looking homes to hit the market this year across the nation, you’d be hard pressed to find anything quite like our western suburbs Bubble House at 79 Elanora Way, Karalee.

This eleven-dome, twenty-room marvel has 1050 square metres of floor space over three levels and is on a 5109 square metre site. Designed by its owner, Graham Birchall, this architectural wonder has garnered international attention since it went on sale. We send our best wishes in advance to the valuer who has to measure the floor area and assess its value for mortgage security purposes

Finally, for those with ambitions to be Italian royalty, 14 Ashley Road, Chermside West provides you with your very own Tuscan castle.

A substantial four-bed, three-bath, two-car home on 1012 square metres of land, the internal fitout is most favourably described as stylised and will probably appeal to a fairly narrow buyer base. We imagine however that that buyer base will be very enthusiastic.

David Notley

Speak with a Brisbane Mortgage Broker today.

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