Subiaco ~ A thriving metropolis in Perth, Australia

SubiacoSquareAtDusk Subiaco is an obvious attraction to any visitor to Perth for its vast array of restaurants, cafes, pubs, shopping and markets.

Conveniently located 3km west of the Perth CBD, Subiaco locals like the area for its convenience. You can walk to all the local amenities and attractions if you stay around the western end of this thriving suburb close the Subiaco Oval, which is home to West Australian Football. Local shopping centres include Subiaco Pavilion, Subiaco Square, Subiaco Village and Home Base. The University of Western Australia and Central TAFE are among learning institutions which have established local campuses in Subiaco. Subiaco Centro is a thriving residential, commercial and retail hub which include local amenities such as the Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women, Perth Modern School, Subiaco Arts Centre, Rosalie and Shenton parks. Subiaco is also served by the Perth to Fremantle train line.

Pond at Rossello Lane, Subiaco

Pond at Rossello Lane, Subiaco

Among the more favourable streets in Subiaco are Rossello Lane in the north western end of the suburb where the north and north east aspect faces a man-made pond.

Why I like Subiaco

  • Convenience “all in one” suburb where you can do your local groceries, walk to restaurants, cafes, movies and shops
  • Proximity to train station and CBD

However, the residential area closer to the oval can be noisy, especially during local footy games and is therefore open to more public traffic. Lack of privacy may be an issue in these areas.

Vital statistics




Median house price $



Average annual growth %



5-year growth %



Weekly median rent $



Gross yield %



Source: Your Investment Property, June 2009


How it’s calculated:

Median price: Median price for the 12 months to February 2009

Average annual growth: Average percentage change over the past 10 years as a per annum figure

5-year growth: Median price percentage change over the past 5 years to February 2009

Weekly median advertised rent: Median price of rental listings for the 12 months to February 2009

Gross yield: Estimated rental return, based on advertised rent to median price

Impact of recent interest rate rise on Australian economy

The recent interest rate rise of 0.25% to 3.25% will have little impact on the Australian economy considering the level has been reducing over the last year to historical lows and that consumers have been factoring a rise in recent months. The economy has been performing well and will continue to be resilient as long as subsequent anticipated interest rate rises are gradual. The RBA will continue to ensure the balance between growth and overheating against a stagnating economy is well managed.

First Home Owner’s Grant Hotspots in NSW

Despite the FHOG being gradually reduced recently, auction clearance rates were still holding up with first home buyers trying to secure the benefit during the last week of the grant. Clearance rates for Sydney Melbourne and Brisbane last week were 67%, 86% and 67% respectively.

Analysts feel that house prices will not be significantly affected as a result of the gradual withdrawal of the grant. The winding back of first home buyers will see investors returning into the market. There may be some minor softening in prices but it will not be significant.

By far the greatest impact of the FHOG in New South Wales have been in the western suburbs of Sydney. Please refer to the list of the First Home Owner benefits – Top 20 postcodes.

Rationale for RBA’s 0.25% interest rate rise

One of the key rationale for the recent interest rate increase given by the Reserve Bank of Australia was that the economy has performed incredibly well compared to all the major developed nations around the world.  Unemployment remained steady at 5.9% although this figure is expected to increase over 2010.

Given the cash rate of 3.00% was at historical 49-year low prior to the rate rise, the RBA felt this level of interest rate is no longer required in view of the recent economic performance. It is expected the cash rate will gradually increase over the next 6 – 12 months.

Why overseas investors are attracted to Australian real estate?

Sydney Opera House by dusk

Sydney Opera house and harbour bridge by dusk

Today, savvy investors take a global view of business opportunities because they understand the best opportunities may lie beyond their own shores.

Due to its historic origins, investors from the UK have sought out Australia as an investment safe haven. In recent times, there is an increasing number of Asian investors who are realising the favourable attributes of investing in Australia:

Transparency of government and political stability

Australia advocates democracy in its political system and is among one of the world’s most stable economies.

Strong economic fundamentals and financial system

Australia’s economic credentials is based upon strong economic management by the government, a well-regulated financial system and highly skilled labour force. As a result, Australia has recorded 15 consecutive years of continuous economic growth from the mid 1990s and enjoys a very high standard of living.

Rule of law

Australia has an established legal system with a strong advocacy for consumer protection. Rules apply to foreign investors.

Multiculturalism and lifestyle

Australia enjoys one of the most attractive lifestyles in the world due to its climate, established and well-maintained public amenities such as schools, hospitals and transport systems. As a result, it has attracted migrants from diverse cultural and ethnic origins to form a tolerant and multicultural society.

Proven capital growth in real estate

Australia’s real estate has experienced strong capital growth due to its established urban infrastructure and facilities, moderate climate and the natural beauty of its coastal landscapes.

Housing Affordability

Australian real estate is competitive compared to many developed countries. Its close proximity to the developing economies of Asia has seen strong foreign investments into its residential, commercial and industrial real estate.

Contact us if you have a question about investing in Australian real estate.

Recent acquisitions

Over the last 10 months, the Reserve Bank of Australia shed more than 4% off the cash rate to the current 3% which is now at a 50-year low. Capital cities around Australia continued to experience an acute shortage of housing stock where most cities had an average rental vacancy of less than 2%, thus fuelling strong rental demand. The Rudd government is determined to support the economy through this crisis by extending the First Home Owners Grant of up to $24,000 for new dwellings to the end of 2009 and continue to provide concessions for stamp duty to assist home buyers. The combined effect of all these factors was an over-whelming attractiveness to get into the property market for first home buyers and investors alike.

Front of building

The main features and compelling strengths of this 1 bedroom apartment in Marobra are as follows:

Maroubra bay

Maroubra bay, Sydney

Guiding Principle

Compelling strengths

1 bedroom apartment at 94 – 96 Yorktown Parade, Maroubra (pictured above)

New or near new Building is approximately 4 years old.
Tenant’s amenities Security garage and storage cage.
Close to public transport Bus stop directly in front of apartment building with express buses to CBD and Circular Quay.
Local attraction and lifestyle 500m from Maroubra beach and surf lifestyle, cafe and restaurants, 1.5km to Maroubra Junction’s retail and commercial centre – shops, cafes, restaurants, bank, post office, newsagent, Coles etc.
Strategic location Within close vicinity to airport, University of NSW, Randwick racecourse, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Randwick and Coast golf courses.
Low maintenance costs Boutique block of only 14 units with minimal facilities. Hence, total outgoings are less than $2,800 per annum.
Attractive and good floor plan North facing private balcony with ducted gas for heater and BBQ, galley style kitchen and master bedroom with ensuite and balcony.
Strong rental yield This property was rented out at $390 per week within 2 days of being on the market, giving a yield of approximately 6% per annum.

Development of residential, retail and commercial property in Maroubra Junction such as Pacific Square has transformed and increased prices of apartments in this area. However, I believe that pockets along Maroubra and Fitzgerald roads which are close to the beach are still relatively inexpensive compared to the junction area. It enjoys a closer beach and ocean front atmosphere, at the same time close enough to access the amenities of the junction without having to contend with traffic.

My second purchase was an off-the-plan 1 bedroom apartment in the Dee Why Grand development ~ an integrated residential, retail and commercial project which includes the upgrade of the iconic Dee Why Hotel. This development is located right at the heart of Dee Why’s commercial and retail precinct along Pittwater road. I foresee this development to be the dawn of a new cycle of gentrification in the area similar to how Pacific Parade has transformed properties around Maroubra junction in a little over 5 years.

Dee Why beach, Sydney Australia

Dee Why beach, Sydney

The main features and compelling strengths of this Dee Why property are as follows:

Guiding Principle

Compelling strengths

1 bedroom apartment at Sturdee Parade, Dee Why

New or near new Building is under construction and due for completion in July 2010.
Tenant’s amenities Swimming pool, gym, spa, sauna, security garage and storage cage. The apartment is also part of an integrated development consisting retail and commercial businesses and refurbishment and upgrade of the Dee Why Hotel.
Close to public transport Bus stop with express buses to the CBD.
Local attraction and lifestyle 900m from Dee Why beach and surf lifestyle, cafe and restaurants.
Strategic location Within close vicinity to Northern beaches, Long Reef golf course, Warringah Mall.
Attractive Floor Plan I have never been a fan of split level apartments unless they are a good size. I have made an exception for this property ~ 81sqm split level with 2 North east facing private balconies of 9sqm each overlooking internal gardens.
Favourable exchange and settlement terms Only required $10,000 to exchange and up to 5% of purchase price until development is completed.

The third of the 3 properties was a 2 bedroom apartment due for completion in December 2009 in the Verve development in Erskineville. I have conducted research on suburbs which are close to the CBD with good access to public tranport and amenities. Such suburbs which have not seen a significant rise in value will have their day over the next 5 – 8 years and I believe Erskineville to be one of these suburbs. The latest Market Review by John McGrath of McGrath property agents appears to support this view.

Sydney Park

Sydney Park, a leash-free park in Sydney

The main features and compelling strengths of this property are as follows:

Guiding Principle

Compelling strengths

2 bedroom apartment at Verve development, 2 – 4 Coulson street, Erskineville

New or near new Building is under construction and due for completion in December 2009.
Tenant’s amenities Two side-by-side security car spaces and storage cage. I believe having an extra car space on title in a suburb so close to the CBD where there is an acute shortage of street parking give this property an invaluable advantage over other 2 bedders with single car space.
Close to public transport 350m to St Peter’s train station.
Local attraction and lifestyle Walking distance to King street restaurants and cafe, 100m to Sydney Park, Erskineville village lifestyle.
Strategic location 4km to CBD, Chinatown, Central train station, within close vicinity to King street cafe and restaurant strip, airport.
Attractive Floor Plan Top floor apartment of 89sqm open style living, dining and kitchen with a 28sqm North west facing balcony overlooking internal gardens, swimming pool and tennis court.

300 Bathurst street, West Hobart

The thing I like about Tasmania or Tassie as it is affectionately known, is it’s fresh air and friendly people, not that you can’t get any in mainland Australia. However, if you have ever lived in Sydney, you will find that Hobart offers many similar experiences ~ a harbour city, Salamanca markets not unlike the weekend markets at the Rocks , the Hobart fish market, the Tasman bridge to remind you of THE harbour bridge and the Cascade beer brewery to rival any of Sydney’s best. However, there is something about Hobart that Sydney can never match ~ as a visitor to beautiful Hobart, you will get to know its CBD and surrounding suburbs intimately within 15 minutes of studying the local map.Front of house ~ sunny north aspect

What I like about this property and West Hobart:

1. West Hobart’s location is very strategic ~ Property is literally 1.5km from Hobart CBD or 10 minute walk. It is located in the heart of West Hobart which is on a hill. The top floor outdoor deck looks east into the city with harbour views. West Hobart is an affluent suburb popular very close to the CBD.

2. Architecturally designed landed property.

3. Large proportion of young professionals and renters in West Hobart*

4. No strata levies, total outgoings (water and council rates) are relatively low at $1,880 per year.

ICourtyard ~ north east aspectmportant points to note:

1. Unusual floor plan and open concept may not be practical for families.

2. Although master bedroom is on the top level, it does not have an ensuite.

3. Heating may be an issue for the lower levels in winter due to open plan and heat escaping to high loft areas.

4. The bedrooms are open plan (ie without doors) and privacy and noise control (eg sound of TV and stereo from living may be audible from the bedrooms). Watching TV and listening to music with headphones may be a satisfactory solution for certain people.

5. Laundry facilities and storage may be limited.

6. Kitchen storage and fridge space may be limited.

7. Rental history ~ This property was built circa 1996 has never been rented before.

8. No Sydney Opera House? I thought you would never ask and besides, it’s not relevant here.


The Financials

1. Initial asking price was $430k and I believe it to be a good buy in the high $300k’s to low $400k’s. The average house price in the suburb of West Hobart is $415,000**.

2. I estimate rental for this property to be between $370 – $420 per week. This estimate is based on comparison with similar properties in the suburb only. (Note: Research was not conducted on similar properties within neighbouring suburb).

3. The average rental for houses in West Hobart is $350 per week and 4.4% yield per annum**.

4. Capital growth for West Hobart is 12.66% per year**.

Last Words

Great location and good buy at around the $400k mark. Be prepared to spend extra on rectifying practical living issues.


* Your Investment Property June 2009

** Your Investment Property July 2009

137 Deepwater road, Castle Cove

Tucked away just 11km north of the CBD, Castle Cove is exclusive and a sanctuary for nature lovers. Deepwater road runs the length of this peninsula suburb which is spread eastward from its access point at Eastern Valley Way. It boasts a short 9-hole golf course, north facing luxury homes along Neerim and Willowie roads with serene water views of Middle Harbour.6

Why I like this property and suburb

  • Quiet and secluded, this location permeates a calming feel and is a perfect setting for families. Bushwalking trails and canoeing activities are within close range at Wills Park and Sugarloaf Bay.
  • Quick access to CBD via Eastern Valley Way and Warringah Freeway.
  • This house is solidly built below Deepwater road level and its south facing terrace and balconies fronts a reserve inhabited by friendly cockatoos.
  • The architecture is designed to capture to natural bushland whereby the master bedroom, living and terraces have direct access to retreat areas.
  • Rumpus / living room and forth bedroom at lower level has added privacy and access to retreat area at the back of the house.
  • Family and kitchen walks out to huge entertaining deck overlooking retreat and bushland.


  • This location may be prone to termites and rising dampness due to its proximity to natural bushlands although this issue can be easily contained with careful maintenance.
  • If only the backyard / retreat had a north instead of a south aspect.

This property was last exchanged for $1.45 million in late 2006.

TRIO Apartments, Camperdown, Sydney

East aspect from loggia with views to the city

East aspect from TRIO apartment loggia with views to the city

TRIO apartments are developed by Frasers Property Australia.

TRIO apartments are located on the intersection of Booth street and Pyrmont bridge road in Camperdown. It is 200m from the junction of busy Parramatta road and the apartments are built on the east side of Booth street.

What I like about this location:

· The 200m distance from Parramatta road is sufficient to eliminate traffic noise altogether whilst it has easy access to the CBD and Sydney University is within walking distance.

· Glebe’s bohemian and eclectic lifestyle, Glebe Point road’s cafe and restaurant strip is 1km away. It is also close to King street’s retail, cafe and restaurants, Leichhardt’s Italian restaurant strip on Norton street. Other local amenities and attractions include Rozelle Hospital on the northern side of the Western distributor, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Darling Harbour, Sydney Fish Markets, Broadway shopping centre, Haymarket and Chinatown is within minutes drive. Overall, it is quintessential Sydney inner west living.

TRIO ~ loggia living

TRIO apartments ~ loggia living

· Ease of public transport to CBD via buses on Parramatta road.


· Some of Camperdown’s industrial and warehousing facilities are located directly opposite the development on the south and west side of Booth street ie Storage King’s warehousing facilities.

· Apartments with the western aspect may experience traffic noise from Booth street.

What I like about the apartments:

· Layout – generally fair size and layout with loggia living as a distinctive feature. The loggias have wooden floorboards to give a warmer feel to the outdoors and have been constructed as natural extensions of the internal living areas. Some 1 bedroom apartments contain a study nook and have dual access to bathroom and toilet. Living areas have reasonable size – between 57sqm – 65sqm and between 85sqm – 94sqm for 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom apartments respectively. 2 bedroom apartments all come with 2 bathrooms with master bedroom ensuite.

· Bathroom – stylish design with good use of wall mirrors to enhance the feeling of space. Finishings include mosaic wall tiles, wall-mounted vanity basin and toilet suite with concealed cistern. Glass shower screens are semi-frameless and shaving cabinets have mirrored doors and glass shelving.

· Kitchen – galley style for 1 bedroom apartments with Smeg appliances. Some apartments come with colourback glass and stone upstand to kitchen island bench. Low-voltage halogen down-lights on underside of wall cabinets.


· Separation walls of loggias have small slits, hence privacy and noise from neighbouring loggia may be an issue.

Apartment facing the east aspect which overlooks the lap pool and internal grounds are notably more exclusive due to its views towards the city skyline and more quiet surroundings. Apartments facing the west aspect will overlook some warehouse facilities and may experience noise from Booth street.


· 1 bedroom with parking from $435 – $460k

· 2 bedroom with 1 or 2 car spaces from $790k – $1.1 million

· 3 bedroom with 2 or 3 car spaces from $1.4 million

· 3 and 4 bedroom rooftop penthouses from $1.6 – $3.5 million

At these prices, I believe these apartments are better suited for owner-occupant over investment.

2/25 Westwood Drive, Bulleen, Melbourne

This property is located in a quiet part of Bulleen, which is approximately 14km north east of Melbourne’s CBD. It is a peaceful and quiet residential suburb.Front of house and double garage

What I like about this property and suburb:

  1. Strategically located just north of the Eastern Freeway via Bulleen road, this property is secluded and yet merely 20 minutes to the city by car. It is also a short drive from Doncaster’s retail and commercial centre via Manningham road.
  2. The backyard has a favourable north east aspect.
  3. Living areas are spacious with open concept kitchen and dining flowing onto the verandah.


  1. This property is one of two properties sub-divided from a single piece of land holding.
  2. Master bedroom does not have an ensuite and shares a common bathroom and single wash basin. The powder room does not have a wash basin for guests although this can be rectified by possibly extending and renovating this room.

The council and water rates for this property are $900 per annum and $130 per annum respectively.

Last words

Great residential location with easy access to the city, east and north west Melbourne. Great buy at around mid $500k’s.


Vital statistics ~ Bulleen, Melbourne

Median house price $640,000

Average annual growth 13.1%

5-year growth 56%

Weekly median advertised rent $380

Gross yield 3.1%

Source: Your Investment Property, April 2009


How it’s calculated:

Median price: Median price for the 12 months to December 2008

Average annual growth: Average percentage change over the past 10 years as a per annum figure

5-year growth: Median price percentage change over the past 5 years to December 2008

Weekly median advertised rent: Median price of rental listings for the 12 months to December 2008

Gross yield: Estimated rental return, based on advertised rent to median price

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