As the Gold Coast experiences one of the tightest rental markets in its history, construction has started on the city’s first dedicated build-to-rent project, with Homecorp Property Group securing ANZ as senior funder.
Work has already started on the $200 million development, which will deliver 446 new apartments on a 1.3ha site in the Gold Coast’s education and technology precinct at Varsity Lakes, near the Bond University campus.
The development includes four buildings ranging from nine to 16 storeys and will deliver a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments, with all residences to be offered as permanent rentals under the built-to-rent (BTR) model.
The first stage, which comprises 257 apartments across two towers, is expected to welcome its first tenants early next year.
Homecorp Chief Executive Officer Ron Bakir said the company was pleased to start work on the project, which he said would, “set a new standard in permanent rental accommodation on the Gold Coast”.
“While market conditions are currently primed for a new development such as this, BTR remains an asset class in its own right that requires a long-term view,” Mr Bakir said.
“This is a development that will stand the test of time, so we’re building for the future while being mindful of the demand for rental accommodation being experienced on the Gold Coast at present.”
According to the latest data from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland, rental vacancies are well below 1 per cent across key suburbs, with some as low as 0.2 per cent. Varsity Lakes vacancies were sitting at 0.6 per cent in the December quarter, and a 10-year historical average of 1.43 per cent.
Jeff David, Executive Director Property, Institutional at ANZ said the bank was working closely with the industry to fund innovative solutions to help boost housing stock.
“Supporting the build-to-rent model is one way to ensure good quality housing is available,” Mr David said.
“The location, design of the apartments and overall amenities are important attributes, which have been taken into consideration throughout the planning process of this project.”
The development, which is located on a ridgetop site bound by University Dve, Main St and Capital Crt, offers views across Varsity Lakes extending to the ocean and the Gold Coast hinterland.
The development has been designed to create a village atmosphere, with an array of lifestyle amenities including a cafe, outdoor swimming pool area, gymnasium, dog off-leash area, games room and a cinema.
There will also be a rooftop terrace where residents and guests can enjoy views that stretch from the skyline and lake to Main Beach and Burleigh Heads.
The ground level will include outdoor entertaining spaces, including barbecue areas, and will be adjacent to a centrally located residents’ club.
“We have taken the same design approach to this development as we would when creating new residential spaces for owner-occupiers,” Mr Bakir said.
“Our plan is to deliver desirable living spaces that appeal to residents who will want to remain in place over many years.”
Under the BTR model, tenants will be able to secure a longer-term residential lease than is typically available from smaller, private landlords. The model has been widely adopted in the UK and US, where many large fund managers accept it as a valued asset class.
The Homecorp project is located within an easy walk to the Varsity Lakes village precinct, including the central Varsity Lake waterfront and commercial and entertainment facilities.
Varsity Lakes is well serviced by public transport connections to the Gold Coast beaches and rail to Brisbane.
Gold Coast-based Homecorp has almost two decades’ residential development experience and has delivered more than $1.5 billion in projects Australia-wide. The company’s construction arm, which was established by Mr Bakir in 2014, is majority-owned by Japanese industrial giant Toyota.