Top agent puts money where his mouth is in a sign Brisbane’s prestige property market is on fire
HE may spruik Brisbane’s prestige property market for a living, but you can’t say Matt Lancashire doesn’t put his money where his mouth is.
The principal of Ray White New Farm and the man behind many of the city’s most expensive home sales recently sunk more than $4 million — according to industry sources — into his own forever home in New Farm.
Mr Lancashire refused to reveal the purchase price, but has no doubts the 130-year-old heritage home on a 1000 sqm corner block is worth every cent.
The top agent’s investment says a lot about his faith in the future of Brisbane’s prestige housing market.
For the first time in years, agents say market confidence has hit a new high, there is a sense of urgency to buy and demand is outweighing supply — creating a prestige property drought that could drive up prices over the next few years.
“I think Brisbane is targeted in the next three to five years to see some significant growth,” Mr Lancashire said.
“With all the infrastructure that’s going in, all of the urban renewal that’s happening, Brisbane is a really affordable, livable city.
“I deal with a lot of people from Sydney and Melbourne, as well as expats who are making lifestyle decisions to come back and being affordable is a huge factor for them.”
Mr Lancashire and his wife, Caitlin, are about to embark on a renovation of their new home before moving in, having recently sold their previous home in Teneriffe.
“We’d been looking around New Farm for a big block, bid at a number of auctions and were always looking for our next 20-plus year home,” Mr Lancashire said.
The colonial property is one of Brisbane’s iconic heritage homes; perched high on a hill with superb views and boasting wide verandahs overlooking landscaped gardens.
Built in 1887, the home was named Blenheim House by its original owner, JG Johnson, a civil engineer who owned the property until its sale in 1893.
“It won’t be a significant renovation — more a cosmetic facelift … to just make it ours,” Mr Lancashire said.
Mr Lancashire said there had been a surge in buyer activity since the federal election, which had increased competition for what was an already tight market with limited stock.
“Since the election, we’ve seen a 30 per cent increase (in online) enquiries and a 10 per cent increase in open for inspection numbers, which is a huge statistic,” Mr Lancashire said.
And he’s not the only prestige agent noticing a change at the top end of town.
Adcock Prestige Property managing director Jason Adcock said he had noticed “ a renewed sense of urgency” among buyers, which he had not seen since 2010.
“Ever since the LNP got back in and the interest rate reduction, we’ve seen a renewed surge in buyers who were sitting on their hands now moving forward,” Mr Adcock said.
“They realise there is likely to be strong, steady growth over the next few years and realise they’ll have to capitalise now.”
Mr Adcock said he had negotiated $22 million worth of property sales in the past 90 days.
“Some of those people were interested four or five weeks ago, but are now ready to buy,” he said.
“We’re seeing a lot of (overseas buyers and expats) who were going to buy in Sydney or Melbourne, instead coming to Brisbane.
“And a lot of locals are thinking now is the time to upgrade and get some good capital groqwth over the next few years.”
Place Estate Agents managing director Sarah Hackett said the top end of the market was awash with buyers waiting to pounce on prestige properties, but there were not enough to choose from.
“I’ve never seen such a little amount of stock available,” Mrs Hackett said.
“We’re seeing multiple offers on properties because there’s not as much to choose from.
“(Properties with) good floorplans conducive to the outdoors, gardens and the river are in demand.”
Mrs Hackett said she had also noticed an influx in buyers looking to upgrade since the federal election.
She said she had negotiated three sales above $6 million on the Brisbane River in the past 45 days.
They include a four-bedroom house at 30 Wendell St, Norman Park, formerly owned by Aria Development boss Tim Forrester, and another riverfront property at 146 Virginia Ave, Hawthorne.
“There are more buyers than properties, which is great because it’s been a long time since that happened,” she said.
One of the biggest residential transactions of 2019 so far is the sale of a riverfront property at 39 Griffith St, New Farm.
The five-bedroom, three-bathroom house on an 873 sqm block fetched $7.75 million in March when it sold at auction to Queensland richlister and property developer Kevin Seymour.
Mr Lancashire, who sold 39 Griffith Street along with colleague Nicholas Given, said the sale was proof buyers in Brisbane were willing spend big dollars to secure the right property — even if it was in less private circumstances than an off market or private treaty deal.