Double or nothing
A new and interesting trend to watch is apartment amalgamations, where two or more inner city apartments are combined into one, with walls and occasionally floors opened up to create “super apartments”. Often the completed apartments are larger than free-standing homes, the idea is now breathing life into some older buildings in Sydney , and we’d expect Brisbane to follow suit. Many inner city apartments were designed predominantly for the rental market, but with surging demand from empty-nesters and other owner-occupiers there’s a growing case for taking smaller apartments in prime locations, bringing in a clever architect and a patient builder, and creating a home that’s just as you’d like it.
A well-known southern example – Aussie Home Loans boss John Symonds created a 520m 2 penthouse at Walsh Bay by consolidating two 3 bedroom apartments into one. That apartment sold last year for a NSW apartment record of $16.5 million. The simplest way to find a super apartment of course is to buy off-the-plan and convince the developer to redesign. The top floor of Brisbane ’s Riparian Plaza was a recent example, with the owners now occupying more than 1000m 2 (that’s almost a quarter of an acre!) South Bank’s “Saville” building is home to a consolidated apartment, and there are reportedly early double-sales in the new “Skyline” and “Vision” towers in the city, where buyers had new designs produced to ensure their very individual slice of property heaven.
Given the limited riverfront land in our CBD we’d expect to see consolidations happen here over the next couple of years. There will be few new apartments built and many 1 bedroom and smaller two bedroom apartments are now “under-capitalised” for their location. So how will the neighbours feel? In Sydney the Darlinghurst “Horizon” building has drawn up guidelines for amalgamations as it’s happening so often. There’s been a positive response as occupant numbers generally fall, and owners with more money invested in the tower are taking a greater interest in its affairs.
Might be time to start talking to that neighbour again!