93 Hill street, Leichhardt, Sydney – a masterpiece in the making

93 Hill street Leichhardt, Sydney New South Wales

Former glory - 93 Hill street Leichhardt, Sydney New South Wales

“The greatest risk of all is not taking any risk at all”
– Cherie Barber, arguably Australia’s top professional renovator

Cherie Barber has a burning passion for turning run-down and dilapidated properties into multi-million dollar creations by weaving her magic and vision which is based on a systematic 8-step approach to property renovation.

This original double-fronted freestanding Victorian home on 400 sqm of land in the inner west Sydney suburb of Leichhardt with a side driveway and a two storey brick studio / warehouse garage was vacant and awaiting someone with a vision to give it a complete make-over.

Cherie Barber stumbled upon this house while walking past on her way to buy some cupcakes. Instead of coming back with the cupcakes, she put in an offer to buy the house and contracts were exchanged within days.

Being a professional renovator, Barber understands that time is valuable money on every one of her projects. Longer settlement times coupled with early access clauses give her a quantum leap ahead in terms of holding costs and lead times. This property with its tired and dated interior is being turned into a 4 bedroom luxury home complete with plasma TV screens, 9 metre open plan gourmet kitchen with breakfast corner, option of a separate commercial home office, north-facing master bedroom overlooking a swim spa and private lawn.

Her insignia for most of her renovations is to create the “wow” factors:

  • Large open plan kitchen that combines modern chic with practicality such as ample storage and breakfast areas.
  • Large bathrooms with good features and design.
  • Seamless integration of outdoor features and entertainment areas with internal living spaces.
  • Practical use of space that incorporate contemporary design.
Cherie Barber & Stephen Tolle

Cherie Barber & Stephen Tolle

Cherie Barber and her partner Stephen Tolle started their first renovation on their own home back in 2000. They bought six properties in their first year of renovating properties and made a totalof $1.16 million.

Since then, they have bought and renovated 36 properties worth over $45 million dollars. Cherie and Stephen are the founders of Renovating for Profit where they impart their knowledge and experience to students who are passionate about taking renovations as a weekend hobby to a professional level.

5 Maxweld street, Ardeer

5 Maxweld street, Ardeer, Victoria

FOR SALE: 5 Maxweld street, Ardeer

Property: 2 bedroom 1 bathroom

Price range: $280,000 – $300,000

This property was sold at auction on 20 November 2010 for $365,000

Situated in a residential area which is close to schools, parklands, bus and train station in Ardeer, this property sits on a land area of approximately 603 sqm (15.24 m x 39.62 m). It is under instructions from the State trustees and has potential for subdivision subject to Council approval.

Resort living at the Sanctum by Crown, Rhodes Waterside

Sanctum by Crown at Rhodes, Sydney, New South Wales

Artist's impression - Sanctum by Crown at Rhodes waterside, Sydney

Sanctum by Crown at Rhodes, Sydney

Located on the Rhodes peninsula on the waterfront of Homebush Bay, Sanctum by Crown offers a selection of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments, some with study / sunroom plus a limited selection of spacious, immaculate, open plan living penthouses.

Large terraces and balconies offer a seamless integration of indoor and outdoor living, taking full advantage of the expansive water views, while the selection of finishes and fittings provide state of the art kitchens and bathrooms.

Prices for these luxury apartments:

  • 1 bedroom + study from $490,000
  • 2 bedroom from $610,000
  • 2 bedroom + study from $620,000
  • Penthouse from $1,300,000

This location offers the convenience of the Rhodes Shopping Centre and commercial complex and the Rhodes train station all within a 5-minute walk from the water foreshores. Other local attractions include the walking and cycling trails that lead from the Homebush Bay water foreshores to Bicentennial Park and sporting facilities at the Sydney Olympic Park at Homebush Bay.

Taking shape - Sanctum by Crown, Rhodes Waterside, Sydney

This project is developed by Crown International Holdings Group, a leading property development and investment company. This developer has successfully developed a range of luxurious developments throughout the Sydney suburbs of Bondi, Bondi Junction, Ashfield, Epping, Eastwood, Five Dock, Homebush, Pennant Hills and Rhodes.

Melbourne overtakes Sydney as least affordable city

Top 5 Melbourne $700k cover pagetop 5 melbourne $500k cover page-001Top 3 melbourne $400k cover page

Melbourne has overtaken Sydney for the first time to become Australia’s least affordable capital city to buy a home. A modest cooling in dwelling prices helped make Australia’s housing slightly more within the means of the average household  budgets during the September 2010 quarter, according to the Housing Industry Association. Even so, buying a home is still far less affordable than it was 12 months ago.

Rising borrowing costs and higher home prices have bumped Melbourne beyond Sydney on the HIA-Commonwealth Bank Housing Affordabliity Index. HIA economist Harley Dale said a combination of growth in Melbourne home prices and lower average income of the city’s workers compared to those in Sydney saw Melbourne overtake the national mantel as the least affordable capital city.

The three reports above identify suburbs with good public amenities such as schools, universities and hospitals, a history of solid growth performance and most importantly good public transport links into Melbourne’s CBD. Melbourne has been the stellar property market among all capital cities in Australia over the last 18 months and suburbs which did not experience at the very least a 10% growth in home values during this time are those which do not have the credentials for strong investment propositions. These reports provide key investment propositions for each suburb, important Google map links to councils, schools, hospitals, businesses, median prices, rental yields and capital growth rates.

Harry Triguboff – creator of the new Australian dream

Harry Triguboff

Meriton's Harry Triguboff

It was as early as 1963 that Harry Triguboff noticed average Australians were all living in cottages and houses on a quarter-acre block and decided it was time they all lived in apartments. Hence, the new Australian dream began and since then, his privately-owned Meriton has become the biggest apartment developer in Australia, providing apartments for more than 150,000 people in a nation of 22 million. In Sydney, about 3 in every 100 people live in a Meriton-built apartment.

His strategy is to build the tallest apartment blocks he can get approval for in locations where people can afford. He is now relying on housing demand in a country which has a shortage of 200,000 dwellings per year, where the average home costs 6.8 times the annual median household income, more than double the US ratio of 2.9 times accordingly to Demographia Internationa Housing Affordability Survey.

During the Global Financial Crisis when credit evaporated and rivals such as Australand Property Group retreated, Meriton has increased its share of the apartment market by managing every step of the building and sale process and self-financing projects due to its financial strength.

Infinity Tower by Meriton, Brisbane, Queensland

Infinity Tower, Brisbane, Queensland

Early years

The son of Russian Jewish emigrants, Triguboff was born in Dalian, China in 1933 and came to Australia with his family in 1948, just before Mao Zedong’s communst revolution. He attended high school at the Scots College in Bellevue Hill and the University of Leeds in England, worked for a textiles company in South Africa and went into a carpet manufacturing business with his father and brother in Israel. He returned to Australia in his mid-20s where he drove a taxi and owned a milk delivery service.

From these humble beginnings, his hard work has earned him recognition today as Australia’s fifth wealthiest man with an estimated fortune worth $4.2 billion according to BRW magazine. This immense wealth was built through battles with governments, rival developers and the steadfast cultural preference for free-standing homes. to perpetuate this fortune, Triguboff is ramping up one of its largest projects, the 77-storey Infinity Tower which will be Brisbane’s tallest residential building and the 2,000-unit Victoria Square apartment development in Sydney’s inner suburb of Zetland. Indeed, some people have not welcome some of these mega-projects as they continue to change the facade of some of Sydney’s old suburbs and neighbourhoods. Overcrowding is a major concern where some areas attract a lot of renters and university students.

Meriton street

”In this business, you don’t have to be an architect or an engineer or a brick layer,” he said. “But you have to understand how the money flows and that you can only understand if you’re on the site.” After a stint in property sales where he admitted to being a “very bad salesman”, he tried development instead and took a loan to buy his first block of land in 1963 in Tempe, an inner-west industrial suburb of Sydney under the flight path of the nation’s busiest airport and built a block of eight units, learning the construction process onsite.

Five years later, he built a block of 18 units on Meriton street in Gladesville, a northern Sydney suburb which provided the name of the company which he registered in 1968. He listed Meriton on the Australian stock exchange, then bought the shares back about 1 1/2 years later in January 1974 as the company’s success and the appeal of being his own master grew.

In the 1980s, Triguboff decided to only buy during slumps and sell during booms, and to only build in areas that already had infrastructure to support developments. Meriton had enough assets to cover all its debt by the 1980s, and by about 2000 it was debt free and funding its own projects, which proved vital seven years later when the financial crisis hit.

Path cleared

Competitors – including Stockland, Australia’s biggest diversified property group, and Australand, backed by Singapore’s CapitaLand – moved away from the apartment industry as financing costs spiked. Meriton kept on developing and has now built more than 60,000 apartments.

“In the middle of the global financial crisis, when everyone else was shutting down, he’d built up his business to a point where he could keep building without skipping a beat,” said Aaron Gadiel, chief executive officer of the Urban Taskforce, a developers’ industry group. “He correctly anticipated that demand for his kind of apartments, those affordable to the average homebuyer, wouldn’t slacken.”

Medium- and high-density housing accounts for about 35 per cent of sales in Australia’s capital cities, RP Data estimates, up from about 25 per cent in 1995. In NSW, 20.5 per cent of people lived in apartments in 2008, according to the latest data from the statistics bureau, compared with 14.3 per cent in 2000.

Housing shortage

Sydney’s population is forecast to rise to about 6 million by 2036, according to the NSW Planning Department, from about 4.5 million now. The nation’s most populous state is expected to have a shortage of 232,600 homes by 2020 under current building patterns, industry group Housing Industry Association estimates. Australia’s housing shortage will balloon to 466,000 in the same period, the HIA says, from about 200,000 now.

Triguboff says he can’t convince enough local governments to approve his planned developments, leaving him with cash to spare. To put the money to use, he’s investing more in properties he’s already built, with Meriton owning about 4,000 apartments, an increase from about 500 in 2000.

Meriton declined to disclose its earnings for the last financial year as it is a private company.

Triguboff’s desire to transform the way Australians live – he has been quoted as saying Sydney has “too many forests and parks” and called for a population of 100 million for the nation – has seen him butt heads, most notably with a man he describes as a “great friend:” Carr, the former NSW premier.


“He’s gung-ho for population growth, to grow bigger and bigger,” Carr said in a phone interview. “I have severe reservations.” Harvey Rose, the mayor of the northern beaches suburb of Pittwater, is among those currently resisting Triguboff. Meriton is planning a 16-building development there, nine of which would be five stories. That exceeds the current three-level limit in the area, and the proposed number of units is about three times the current density limit, Rose said. “Meriton’s proposal is totally out of kilter with what Pittwater’s about, and will be opposed by an overwhelming number of people in Pittwater, and all of the council,” Rose said.

Triguboff remains a hands-on managing director, visiting building sites daily. About a dozen people, in charge of construction, planning, property management and other parts of the business, report to him every day with poster-sized sheets detailing progress of their divisions. Triguboff, who doesn’t use a computer, reviews these and adds feedback.

Hands on

Kent Medwin, one of three winners of the “Win a Week With a Billionaire” competition sponsored by BRW Magazine, shadowed Triguboff in September. He said the biggest surprise was Triguboff’s involvement in the finest details of Meriton projects. “He’s engaged in the color selections and designs, elevations, right down to the fine details, unit layouts, bedroom sizes,” said Medwin, 32, who runs Rock Property, a residential property investor and developer in Hobart. “What he enjoys most is the building process. He’s a builder deep down.” Also on display was Triguboff’s legendary abruptness. “He doesn’t use a lot of words and the words he does use are often four-letter words,” he said. “New staff are probably a bit shocked by it, but most of them seem used to it.”

‘Bigger and Bigger’

Triguboff is married to his second wife and has two daughters, none of whom have any interest in the business, he said. One of his four grandchildren, Ella, 25, holds promise as a potential successor, he said, “but I want her to be involved in more things first.”Until then, Triguboff, who says he’ll never retire – “they’ll have to carry me out” – plans to keep building, making Meriton “bigger and bigger.” He occasionally looks back, visiting apartment blocks the company built decades ago to watch residents go about their lives.

“I just enjoy looking at them,” he said. “I’ve changed Sydney. It’s my city, my people. I’m theirs. We belong to each other.”

4 / 201 The Round Drive, Avoca Beach, New South Wales

Unit 4, 201 The Round Drive, Avoca Beach

FOR SALE: Unit 4, 201 The Round Drive, Avoca Beach

Property: 3 bedroom 2 bathroom 2 car spaces

Asking price: $598,000

This brand new luxury 3-bedroom townhouse is in a block of only five properties in the heart of Avoca beach precinct in the north coast of Sydney. (See Location Map) The property features an ensuite to the main bedroom, a 6-person outdoor spa within a private courtyard. The open plan living areas and dining leads to a private outdoor entertainment area. This property has also secured a brand new lease at $500 per week for the next 12 months.

Other features include:

  • Intercom and security date
  • Secure lock up garage
  • Modern kitchen and bathroom appliances
  • Split system reverse cycle air-conditioning
  • Modern down lighting system



Avoca beach (Photo courtesy: ryanheywood.com)

Avoca beach (Photo courtesy: ryanheywood.com)


This property is located less than 1 km from Avoca beach and is a leisurely 1 hour drive up the north coast from Sydney.

Register you interest or call Albert Wong on +61 413 660909 for more information.

Citi 1 Apartments, Wollongong, New South Wales



Wollongong - the seaside city

Wollongong - the seaside city


Citi 1 Apartments are located at 11 – 15 Atchison street right in the heart of Wollongong city with strong investment propositions:

  • Close proximity to public amenities, transport, cafes and restaurants precinct
  • Reputation and strong track record of developer
  • Capital growth and investment yields
  • Appeal to both owner-occupiers and tenants

Register your interest and get a FREE 15-page independent Wollongong Location Report which details the following:

  • Location review – history, climate, proximity to public amenities and major entertainment hubs
  • Demographics – age, incomes, profession, type of housing, property ownership ratios
  • Hyperlinks – instantaneous links to schools, council, hospitals, emergency services, real estate agents and Google maps
  • Key investment propositions – what makes this location a strong investment proposition?
  • Comparative analysis – median price, growth and rental rates of 12 surrounding suburbs in Wollongong

Secure an apartment with a $5,000 deposit and settle upon completion in 2012.

Contact Albert Wong on + 61 (0) 413 660909 for more information.

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460 Kalamunda road, High Wycombe, Perth Western Australia



460 Kalamunda road, High Wycombe, Perth

460 Kalamunda road, High Wycombe, Perth



Nested in the leafy suburb of High Wycombe which is 13 km from Perth CBD, this residential community is within minutes from the picturesque and historic Guildford, the Swan Valley’s vineyards and wineries, the arts and craft centre of Kalamunda and regional parks that stretch along the Darling Scarp. It is an ideal place to live, enjoy the lifestyle, walk the nature trails and take in the peaceful atmosphere. This Estate is suited to people of all ages who enjoy getting out and about on the weekend. Hewson Park is one of many parks in the area which is located at the corner of Murray Drive.

The Estate is located just 600 metres from the new High Wycombe shopping centre with public conveniences such as post office, childcare, banks, shopping, cafes and restaurants.

Register your interest or contact Albert Wong on + 61 413 660909 for more information.

6 Mary Street, Rhodes, Sydney 2138

6 Mary street, Rhodes, Sydney

FOR LEASE: 6 Mary street, Rhodes, Sydney


Property for lease: 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1 car space

Rent: $500 per week

Bond: $2,000

Availability: From 23 September 2012

Lease available: 6 months

Inspection times: Wednesday 6pm and Saturday 10pm

This sunlit north facing one bedroom apartment is located within the Sienna By the Bay apartment complex in Rhodes.

Large courtyard opening to huge private north facing garden in 24-hour security compound

Large courtyard opening to huge private north facing garden in 24-hour security compound


  • Split unit reverse cycle air-conditioning in bedroom and living areas
  • Separate toilet with wash basin and private bathroom
  • European and gas kitchen appliances
  • Enormous total living area of 81 sqm
  • Bedroom opens onto courtyard
  • Huge courtyard opens into a secure, private lawn area


  • Gymnasium, sauna, spa and 25-metre indoor swimming pool
  • Underground secure car space with swipe card system
  • On-site building manager and 24-hour security guards patrolling complex


  • 2-minute walk to Rhodes water foreshore, walking and biking trails to Bicentennial Park, Olympic village and ANZ Stadium
  • 2-minute walk to Rhodes train station – 6 stops to Central station (25 minutes train ride)
  • 5-minute walk to Rhodes Shopping Centre and Rhodes Business Park
  • 10-minute drive to sporting facilities in Sydney Olympic Centre in Homebush and Top Ryde City Shopping Centre

Lease application form:
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Contact: Mr Albert Wong, mobile 0413 660909

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Emerging suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne

top 5 melbourne $500k cover pageInvestment guide to three evolving sydney suburbsTop 4 Sydney undervalued cover page

According to economic forecaster BIS Shrapnel, renters will have to get used to annual increases of between 5 – 7% in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney, 3 – 5% in Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide over the next 24 to 36 months. BIS Shrapnel analyst Angie Zigomanis said new dwelling construction had not been adequate over the past 12 months and expect rental growth to pick up again. Housing analyst have forecast rent to rise across all Australian capital cities as new home construction fails to keep up with demand, home borrowing stabilises at weaker levels and population continues to grow.

For obvious reasons, many renters choose to live in popular inner city suburbs which are close to public transport, amenities, shopping with lifestyle. These choices have enabled inner city precincts to record strong growths compared to areas which are further away from CBDs.

On the other hand, there are pockets within inner city areas in many capital cities which have been “over-shadowed” by their more illustrious neighbours. Suburbs such as Narraweena and Wareemba in Sydney are only a hop and jump away from its more well-known neighbours of Dee Why and Drummoyne. A couple of strategies in dealing with rising rents may be to locate these inner city pockets with good public transport links and amenities which have been ignored time and again. Another strategy is to look a little in suburbs which may be a little further but still enjoy good transport links into the city. It is important if buying into these suburbs which offer relatively more affordable entry points and cheaper rent to ensure they have a strong track record of growth.

The important criteria is these suburbs MUST have recorded growth rates of at least 12% over the boom in the last 18 months and an average growth rate over the last 10 years of not less than 10% per annum. Suburbs which did not experience significant growth over the last 18-month boom is  indication the suburb is short of important growth drivers such as transport links, distance from CBD, public amenities and conveniences such as schools, hospitals and universities and general public appeal.

The reports above identify key investment propositions such as emerging trends, new infrastructure developments, private investments in emerging suburbs and puts its capital growth rates and records to the test.

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