Located in Brisbane’s inner-city our sales team naturally sell a lot of apartments. So we get an up-close and personal look at the body corps of this city’s buildings, the details disclosed to home buyers before they sign up for any apartment or townhouse that’s part of a community title scheme.
And recently we seem to have had another wave of buyers frustrated with the level of fees. “That seems high” or “I’m sure other buildings are cheaper”, is the common concern.
So we went back through our past 50 sales to record the exact number, and we’re not surprised it’s tipping close to $100/week. We’d expect the average will reach that point in the next year or so.
Our sales are across a range of building types, from high-rise towers that are vertical villages, to 2-storey brick walk-up styles where there’s no amenities, no onsite managers, no lifts, limited community lighting or other electricity demand. So these small building body corps typically pay only insurances, secretarial costs and a gardener. They’re the perfect pick if you want to keep your costs to a minimum – but even they are very rarely below $50 per week any more. The cheapest fee we saw in this sample was $2050pa.
Mid-rise (3-10 storey) apartment building are a big part of the inner-Brisbane landscape and their running costs do include lifts and often pools, gyms and onsite managers. The majority of their levies are now well into the $5000’s per year.
With lot entitlements (your ‘share’ in a body corp) more commonly equal, or close to it, it’s also no surprise we saw little gap between fees on studio and 1 bed apartments at $4690pa and the average 3 bed fee of $4880pa.
The dearest fees on the list? At $12,145pa it’s no surprise it’s a building undergoing renovation works and the levies are temporarily high.
So are body corp fees just too high? The sample we’ve produced here is just one selection of 50 properties, but it’s likely to be fairly accurate. We wrote a blog post last year on tips to getting fees down, but the simple explanation we give home buyers is this: There is no one owner making a profit around the body corp table. All owners share the pain of rising costs like insurances, electricity and locked-in increases like yearly top-ups to managers wages. The running costs of a building can be reduced, but only with input and effort of owners themselves.
Next time you get those dreary AGM minutes in the mail please make time to read and vote – or better still get along to the meeting. Your body corp needs you!
We’d love to hear your thoughts