Zenix, Erskineville ~ epitome of Sydney’s inner west city lifestyle

Zenix Tower, Erskineville

Zenix Tower, Erskineville

The Zenix in Erskineville is the flagship development of integrated property developer, Metroland. It consists of 100 one-bedroom apartments, 121 two-bedroom apartments and 3 three-bedroom apartments spread over a 11,531 sqm opposite the Sydney Park. This project was completed in 2003 at a cost of $80 million.

This development is located in a strategic pocket of Erskineville as it is a mere 150m to the St Peters train station which is only three stops from Central Station in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. Zenix is also within walking distance to the recreational facilities of Sydney Park, the cafes, restarants and shopping strip of King street in Newtown. It is also a 10-minute drive to Sydney University, Sydney airport, Broadway Shopping Centre and Chinatown.

Local residents enjoy this area for its eclectic, bohemian and trendy lifestyle which is synonamous with Sydney’s inner west.  Young professionals and the lifestyle conscious are attracted to this area because of its close proximity to Sydney’s CBD and the array of local amenities such as schools, hospitals, restaurants and shopping.

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Zenix – apartment 701 / 221–229 Sydney Park Road, Erskineville

Zenix 701, 221 - 229 Sydney Park Road, Erskineville 7

Zenix Apartment 701 / 221 - 229 Sydney Park Road, Erskineville

2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1 car space

THIS APARTMENT HAS BEEN SOLD for $746,000 on 18 February 2011

Contact Matthew Stevens 0416 080 138 or Tannya Stevens 0411 748 800 of Property Alliance for more information.

This large 147sqm apartment is located in the Zenix development and is in a convenient and strategic pocket of Erskineville. The Zenix development is the flagship development of Metroland, an integrated property development company in Australia.

Why I like this apartment:

  • The location is the most strategic aspect of this property, where it is within 150 metres from the St Peters train station which is merely 3 stops to Central station in the heart of Sydney CBD and 6 direct stops to iconic Sydney harbour attractions at Circular Quay, Sydney Opera House and the Botanic Gardens. It is also within walking distance to recreational facilities and walking trails of Sydney Park, the cafe, restaurants and shops in Kings street in Newtown, the Erskineville cafes and village, a 10 minute drive to the airport, Sydney University. It is a mere 4.5 km from Sydney CBD.
  • The highly favoured north-east aspect of the apartment provides ample natural light to the entertainment and living areas as well as both bedrooms.
  • The size of the apartment being 147sqm sets it apart from other 2 bedroom apartments in the market.
  • The intelligent floorplan and design makes good use of internal space whilst maximising space for the outdoor entertainment areas.

  • The internal living areas seamlessly flow out to the north-east aspect of the entertainment areas which have been refurbished to include heaters, block out wind shields, barbeque, sun-drenched casual seating areas which have panoramic views of Sydney CBD.
  • Timber floor boards in both internal living and outdoor entertainment areas.
  • Modern conveniences such as gas kitchen, reverse cycle air-conditioning, double drawer dishwasher and modern tapware.
  • The apartment also overlooks the landscaped gardens, swimming pool and tennis court within the Zenix development.
  • It has a dedicated study alcove which comes with internet cable and phone connection which is essential in apartment living today.
  • The open plan kitchen integrates with the dining and living areas to create a sense of space.
  • Both bedrooms have built in wardrobes and walk-out balconies which lend the bedrooms a sense of greater feel of space.

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7 Black Forest road, Werribee, Victoria

7 Black Forest road, Werribee

FOR SALE: 7 Black Forest road, Werribee, Victoria

Vacant land: 1001 sqm

Location: Corner of Black Forest road and Walls road, Werribee

Asking price: $259,000

Agent: Mr Haydon Lanyon, Elders Real Estate, Werribee. Mobile: 0407 068 729

This block of level and near rectangular land has double street frontage and is located at the corner of two main roads – Black Forest road and Walls road. It is within walking distance to the Werribee Racecourse and is approximately 3km from the Werribee train station.

Australian housing bubble and ceteris paribus – who to believe?

Housing bubble Australia

Housing bubble in Australia - should we be concerned?

At any one time, there are so many conflicting articles and messages in the media about whether there is an impending housing bubble in the Australian property markets that many investors and home owners just scratch their heads and wonder who’s advice to follow.

Whether it’s property developers, bankers, real estate agents, so-called “property experts” and the whole gamut of financial and market analysts, each of these parties have their own perspectives and vested interests in how the property markets perform and their advice can sometimes be skewed accordingly. The housing bubble in Australia is predicated upon strong upward trend in home prices despite so many rate rises over the last 20 months. On the other hand, there are some who steadfastly hold that house prices are in no way overvalued. Either way, there are conflicting sets of data to prove both scenarios.

For the bullish investors, the current shortage of housing stock in the Australian markets have always been seen as a guarantee for ever-increasing property prices. However, this can be a very dangerous assumption. In my undergraduate economics class, we were told that if supply decreased then, theoretically, prices will increase. The key assumption here is ceteris paribus, that is ‘all other things being equal’. Moving from lecture hall into the real world, we soon find out that in reality, there is a multitude of factors which are constantly changing.

Housing bubble Australia 2

Factors such as demand, personal tastes, housing trends, government policy, significant world events and natural disasters cannot be easily factored into an economic equation to provide an accurate account of property markets. Sadly, and in most cases, it is this ceteris paribus assumption that is conveniently ignored by punters, property spruikers and those who more often than not take an aggressive stance about our markets although their view may be accurate at certain points in the property cycle. This simplistic view that a shortage in supply will spur on price increases can, in some cases, brew the so-called housing bubble as already evidenced in some countries.

As I write this article, we are in the midst of a two-speed economy where the resources and mining sectors are powering ahead whilst the retail, manufacturing, tourism and education sectors are sputtering. The recent announcement that Top Ryde City Shopping Centre in Ryde has been placed in receivership due to debts of $700 million should serve as sober reminder that not all is well in Australia’s so-called “solid economy”. Consumer sentiment and retail results last Christmas show that people are still wary and uncertain about what 2011 will hold for the property markets.

Ill-informed anaylsis is nothing new, but at its worst, it is not only wrong but is also misleading, and can even lead to wars being fought among countries which would surely burst any bubble, property market or otherwise. Next time you hear or read any forecast, analysis or commentary about our property markets, it might help to put into perspective who is the presenter to ascertain any vested interest and if the ceteris paribus assumption has been considered if at all.

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Aussie $ power – Where to invest with the rise of the Australian dollar

Balinese villa, Canggu, Bali

Balinese villa, Canggu, Bali

In one of my previous articles entitled 2011 – Investment strategies for a year of consolidation, I suggested that property investors should also consider investing beyond our shores to capitalise due to the recent strength of the Australian dollar (currently trading at US1.0113).

Through my research, I have found that Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia offer some good bargains where yields are considerably higher than in Australia because real estate prices are “relatively cheaper” in these countries.  The immediate concerns for most investors would be:

  • How do I decide on the location?
  • How do I find a good property manager?
  • What are the tax and ownership implications / restrictions if any for these countries?
  • How do I get financing?
  • How do I find a good real estate agent and solicitor?
  • What if I can’t find good tenants and what if the tenants trash my property?

The key is to do solid due diligence and research on locations which have good growth history, good infrastructure, public amenities, stable political environment, strong growth prospects as evidenced by its surrounding areas. Building a network of strong local contacts such as real estate agents, solicitors and conveyancers, business people and local residents will assist in the event local assistance is required.

Bali, Indonesia

Popular tourist locations such as Kuta, Nusa Dua, Seminyak, Ubud and Jimbaran have taken off in recent years. Bali has recently reported its strongest growth and highest tourist arrivals since the Bali bombings nearly a decade ago.

Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika last month took the unprecedented step of banning new hotel development in the island’s three busiest areas, including the beach strips of Kuta and Sanur, the exclusive beachfront resort district of Nusa Dua and the rice-terraced hills around Ubud.

Areas which have yet to experience a strong take off but are popular among tourists include Tanah Lot, Canggu (10 km north of Seminyak in the south west coast and Candi Dasa in the east coast.

Alila Manggis resort, Candi Dasa, Bali

Alila Manggis resort, Candi Dasa, Bali

Prices range from A$200,000 for smaller villas up to A$1 million and above for larger and more luxurious homes in popular areas. Real estate prices in Bali are quoted in US dollars by local real estate agents.

Penang & Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Penang is a approximately three and a half hour’s leisurely drive north of Kuala Lumpur. The island state is known for its holiday resorts along its north eastern coastline of Batu Ferringhi and tasty local fare and bargain shopping. In recent years, there has been a proliferation of new condominiums and apartments dotted all along the Batu Ferringhi drive which overlooks the sea with uninterrupted views of the Straits of Malacca. New apartments and condominiums along this popular stretch range from A$200,000 to A$1 million and above for luxury penthouses with ocean views.

Western view from Mutiara  Upper East

Western view from Mutiara Upper East

Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia and real estate prices in the city has experienced a sharp upturn over the last 2 years and some popular areas in the city such as Kota Damansara, Mount Kiara, Damansara Heights, Ampang Hilir and selected areas around the CBD have appreciated by as much as 30%.

Mutiara Upper East, Ampang Hilir

Mutiara Upper East apartments, Kuala Lumpur

Mutiara Upper East is a development located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur which enjoys a sought-after address in Ampang Hilir. The development consists of two high-rise towers with a total of about 200 luxury apartments. Each apartment in the development enjoys private lift entry directly into the apartments some of which have two separate kitchens (dry and wet kitchen), servants’ quarters and views over the Selangor Polo and Riding Club. A new freeway links this area directly into the heart of the city which is merely 4 km away. Prices for apartments in this development start from A$300,000 up to A$900,000 for penthouses with views of the city.

High-end apartments within a radius of 3km of the CBD cost A$1 million upwards with spectacular views of the Kuala Lumpur skyline.


Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Singapore experienced the highest GDP growth in the world in 2010 where its economy grew by a whopping 14.7%. It has an efficient government machinery that encourages foreign investment whilst the government itself is also a strong investor overseas whereby it owns high growth real estate, financial assets as well as IT & telecommunication investments.

The recently completed Marina Bay Sands is a symbol of its success in attracting foreign investment, perpetuating its status as one of the busiest and most efficient seaports in the world.

Far East Organisation is by far one of the leading property developers in Singapore having developed more than 700 projects over the last 50 years. New apartments and condominiums currently on the market in Singapore include the following:

1. Adria at Novena

2. The Cascadia at Bukit Timah

3. The Tennery, Bukit Panjang

4. The Orange Grove, Stevens Road

5. Twin Peaks, Leonie Hill Road

Central and Latin America

Costa Rica beaches

Beach in Costa Rica

International Living is a publishing group which advocates the idyllic notion that one can live a healthy, low-cost and stress-free lifestyle and retire to unspoiled seaside locations, emerging cities  around the world where fewer people know about. Some interesting articles written by its writers based all over the world include the following:

Related links:

International Living – how to retire and live comfortably on $800 per month

Retire in Costa Rica

Idyllic setting: Retire in Costa Rica

International Living started with a newsletter thirty years ago which sparked a big idea. With an international team of editors and writers based around the world, International Living is a publishing group which advocates the idyllic notion that one can live a healthy, low-cost and stress-free lifestyle and retire to unspoiled seaside locations, emerging cities  around the world where fewer people know about.

The monthly newsletter of International Living covers topics such as retiring overseas, international real estate, investment and travel where one can subscribe to free of charge. A daily “IL Postcard” with articles written by its team of writers is emailed to 400,000 readers.

Retire to the Phillipines

Dreaming of paradise: Retire to the Phillipines

Some interesting articles which I came across include:

You look out your window, past your gardener, who is busily pruning the lemon, cherry, and fig trees … amid the splendour of gardenias, hibiscus, and hollyhocks.

The sky is clear blue. The sea is a deeper blue, sparkling with sunlight.

A gentle breeze comes drifting in from the ocean, clean and refreshing, as your maid brings you breakfast in bed.

For a moment, you think you have died and gone to heaven. But this paradise is real. And affordable. In fact, it costs only half as much to live this dream lifestyle … as it would to stay in your own home!

— Kathleen Peddicord, publisher of International Living

Marina Bay Sands – Singapore’s world class casino resort

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Dawn of a new era: Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

The opening of the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) in Singapore on 23 June 2010 heralded a new era for the island republic. The integrated resort with a 2,561-room hotel, 120,000 sqm convention centre, shopping mall and its piece de resistance – a casino with 500 gambling tables and 1,600 jackpot machines has been billed as the world’s most expensive stand-alone casino property ever built at a cost of S$8 billion. This mammoth project where the centrepiece involves casino gambling has been widely seen as a gradual liberalisation of the government’s stringent policies to uphold moral and cultural values of Singaporeans.

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Many business and political analysts believe the arrival of MBS also signifies another important arrival – that of the Singapore nation as a whole, onto the world stage of commerce and industry where it is now the leading financial and transportation hub in South East Asia. Its economic and social achievements have eclipsed on all accounts those of its neighbouring Malaysia, within which it was a former state until its own independence on 8 August 1965. Singapore’s population of 5 million people enjoyed the highest GDP growth in the world of 14.7% in 2010.

What are the key factors which are driving this Asian powerhouse?

First and foremost, Singapore was led by its founding prime minister, now Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, whose government in the early years established systems which rapidly grew its potential as a busy sea port. It then harnessed a clear vision of a developed nation with high intellectual and financial capabilities interwoven with a strong sense of nationalistic and social identity.

Unlike neighbouring countries, Singapore is a small island state. With a total area of only 700 sqm, it is smaller than the Australian Capital Territory in terms of land area. With land being in such short supply, its core competencies cannot be predicated upon industries which require high land usage. Singapore has turned this land constraint into a core strength in promoting and nurturing high-intellect and high-value industries such as electronics, petro-chemical refinery, mechanical engineering, biomedical sciences, financial services, tourism, education and more recently, casino and high-level hospitality businesses.

Today, Singapore is one of the top three most busy ports in the world and is the fourth largest foreign exchange trading centre in the world behind London, New York and Tokyo.

Orchard road, Singapore

Shopping mecca: Orchard road, Singapore

On any given day,  its main street Orchard road and its surrounding areas in the CBD is a melting pot of business executives, city workers, shoppers, locals, tourists and visitors jostling and engaging in Singapore’s national past times – shopping and eating till 11pm. Indeed, Singapore has firmly established its reputation as a food and shopping mecca in South east Asia.

Real estate in Singapore

In the early years before its independence in the 1960s, Singapore was faced with housing shortages as a result of the shortage of available land. The ruling government passed the Housing and Development Act of 1960 and subsequently established the Housing & Development Board (HDB)  which is the statutory board responsible for public housing in Singapore.

HDB flats in Singapore

HDB flats in Singapore

Over the last 40 odd years, the Singapore government has built millions of high-rise apartments and flats, otherwise known as HDB flats, to house its growing population and to alleviate the problem of housing shortage.

For the majority of Singapore’s citizens, living in HDB flats is not by choice as the price of private and landed property are relatively very expensive due to the scarcity of land and many luxury condominiums and apartments built by private developers are beyond the means of an average Singaporean wage earner.

However, HDB dwellers enjoy a host of benefits such as subsidies for living closer to parents, better incentives if one is married and other transactional concessions. These HDB flats are controlled by the government where eligibility, purchase and disposal conditions apply and the majority are leasehold for 99 years.

In general, pricing for HDBs range anywhere from S$300k for smaller units in outer areas of Singapore to $800k for larger 3 – 4 bedroom units which are closer to the city. Obviously location and the prestige of suburbs, distance to Mass Rail Transit (MRT) train stations, design and size affect pricing.

As the affluence of Singapore’s middle class grow, so do the price level of new private housing and apartments. The lucky few who had previously held on to freehold landed properties have seen the value of their land appreciate to levels comparable to some of the most expensive cities around the world. New private luxury apartments and condominiums which are being built around the choice areas close to the CBD will command a price tag of at least S$1,200 per square foot upwards (1 square metre = 10.76 square feet).

Another indication of the growing wealth of Singapore’s middle class and its buying power is the number of advertisements in Singapore’s leading daily newspapers enticing wealthy locals to invest in up and coming luxury condominiums and apartments overseas. These new luxury investments span the breath of the Asia Pacific from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland to London, New York and luxury ski-resort homes in Nendaz, Switzerland.

Strata SE1, the tallest residential tower in central London is actively seeking wealthy investors from Singapore. High-end Malaysian projects in the heart of Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) making news in Singapore include St Mary Residences and Quayside condominiums in Penang.

Far East Organisation is by far one of the leading property developers in Singapore having developed more than 700 projects over the last 50 years. New apartments and condominiums currently on the market in Singapore include the following:

1. Adria at Novena

2. The Cascadia at Bukit Timah

3. The Tennery, Bukit Panjang

4. The Orange Grove, Stevens Road

5. Twin Peaks, Leonie Hill Road

6. Prive at Punggol

7. Austville at Kangkar

8.Vibes at Kovan

9. NV Residences in Pasir Ris

10. Loft at Nathan Road

11. Cabana, Yio Chu Kang

12. Horizon Residences

13. The Glyndebourne

14. The Vermont on Cairnhill

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