A SURGE in off-the-plan buyer activity has PRDnationwide Newcastle and Lake Macquarie seeking out new residential stock after a bumper six months of project sales.
The agency has been involved in almost 100 apartment and townhouse sales worth more than $35 million across three projects in the CBD and in Toronto.
Two of the projects, The Wren and Excelsior Ridge Estate, have sold out while the Tattersalls on Watt building has just one of 57 apartments left for sale.
PRDnationwide Newcastle and Lake Macquarie managing director Mark Kentwell said the agency had experienced more activity in the past six months than it had in the last few years.
Mr Kentwell said rejuvenation of the CBD, including work starting on the University of Newcastle’s new $95 million campus, had galvanised purchasers, particularly investors and first-home buyers.
“The university, new courthouse and pending relocation of the rail are factors that have put Newcastle on the map for buyers and developers,” he said.
“After years of analysing the city, there is an acceptance now that residential is in demand and commercial will follow suit once there is a larger population in the city.
“The relocation of the university’s business and law faculties to the CBD will bring more students and associated staff into the city from 2017.”
Mr Kentwell said out-of-town investors and those with self-managed super funds (SMSF) had figured strongly in off-the-plan sales as had first-home buyers buoyed by generous government incentives.
“In both The Wren and Tattersalls projects over half the buyers are investors, with a large percentage of those using their SMSF,” he said.
“There is also heavy investment generally from non-local buyers as Newcastle’s growth potential becomes more apparent.
“We are witnessing strong buyer interest in any well-located quality project that comes to market.”
Tattersalls on Watt has reaped more than $23 million in sales of its one, two and three-bedroom apartments, with just one apartment remaining for sale.
All 18 of the one-bedroom units in The Wren complex planned for the eastern end of Hunter St mall, were snapped up within six weeks for a total of more than $5 million.
Mr Kentwell said developers were responding to the upswing in buyer confidence in key locations.
“Now that there is a clear demonstrated market for off-the-plan sales in the residential arena, developers are approaching sites with a renewed confidence,” he said.
“There are a lot of sites in the city that have been dormant and neglected over the years – they now have the opportunity to be brought back to life.”
Mr Kentwell said the agency’s access to the PRDnationwide database and national network had been a key factor in securing the project sales.
“We were able to target our marketing towards suitable buyers locally and nationally,” he said.
“This was combined with a thorough marketing strategy involving print and web advertising.”
At Toronto, the 17 townhouses within the now complete Excelsior Ridge estate sold within six months to reap a sales total of more than $7 million.
Mr Kentwell said the past year had been strong for the agency in general with a total of 460 residential sales, compared with 380 the previous year.