Apartment developments could emerge from COVID-19 better placed than housing estates, despite a surge in demand for the latter driven by the $25,000 HomeBuilder grants.
Realestate.com.au figures show inquiries for new developments in Victoria rose 56.8 per cent from May to June.
This was led by land estate inquiries, which jumped 85.4 per cent.
But REA Group executive manager of economic research Cameron Kusher said a high uptake of land estates this year could burn out future demand.
“While short term this is a positive for the market, longer term there’s a lot of unknown questions that need to be addressed,” Mr Kusher said.
Inquiry numbers for apartments, meanwhile, had more sustainable rises of 27.5 per cent in June and 33.4 per cent in May.
This was despite “not a lot of clarity” about how HomeBuilder could be applied to that part of the market.
Castran Gilbert director Michael Lang said his firm had seen a 64 per cent increase in inquiry for apartments and townhouses in mostly smaller, suburban projects over the past month.
And rather than grants, it had been driven by low interest rates and perceptions the “heat has been taken out of the market”.
He pointed to Glen Iris’s almost-completed Equus development (main picture), which nearly sold out before officially launching on the July 4 weekend.
“That’s not HomeBuilder; not everyone needs to have HomeBuilder to buy,” Mr Lang said.
“I’m very, very bullish on 2021 and beyond.”
Realestate.com.au found Equus was the state’s fourth-most popular apartment development in June, behind East Brunswick Village, Victoria Square in Footscray, and Penny Lane in Moonee Ponds.
Equus buyer Hedley Imbert said after seeing demand surge, he was glad he had acted when he had.
“Long term, I’m confident it will be a good investment,” Mr Imbert said.
He advised others considering buying an apartment in Melbourne’s suburbs to take a long-term view too.
“Do your due diligence and your research on the area and the development, and then take a long-term view — because if you do that you will be OK, as that will overcome short-term factors like COVID-19,” Mr Hedley said.