Westfield Chermside expansion to boost property but bank sounds alarm on values
A MAJOR expansion of the Westfield shopping centre at Chermside is tipped to make the suburb even more attractive to homebuyers at the same time that one of Australia’s Big Four banks is sounding alarms about stretched valuations in the northern Brisbane suburb.
The landmark mall was already a major selling point and the addition of up to 95 new retailers and new dining and entertainment precincts only added to its pulling power, Place sales agent Chris Winkler said.
“People want to be close to the action,” Mr Winkler said.
“It’s driving a lot more interest and is a really big selling point.”
He said the centre, which will be the biggest Westfield in Australia when finished next year, was also catching the attention of Sydney and Melbourne buyers who had sold into the southern property boom and now had big bundles of cash and wide eyes at the relative value in Brisbane.
“A Sydney lady who sold her North Shore home for $950,000, we showed her a three-bedroom townhouse close to Westfield starting for less than half that.
“She was amazed at the value here.”
But the southerners were swooping as it was reported National Australia Bank has red-flagged Chermside and Chermside West among a handful of Brisbane suburbs where it’s exercising heightened caution before lending.
The other hot spots where borrowers would require a deposit of 20-30 per cent included the inner suburbs Bowen Hills, Fortitude Valley, Herston, Newstead, Albion, Highgate Hill, South Brisbane, West End, Dutton Park and Woolloongabba.
Facilities, services drive price growth
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said the median house price for Chermside was $567,500, up 29.5 per cent on five years ago (when it was $433,250).
The growth of the unit market had been less strong, largely due to the high level of supply coming to the market over the past five years, Ms Mercorella said. The median unit price was $433,750, representing a jump of 3.7 per cent on five years ago.
“As supply levels slow, the REIQ is confident that demand will continue and greater capital growth will occur.”
Chermside had undergone significant development in the past five years and was now a major hub for medical services, education, and retail and commercial activity, Ms Mercorella said. “This is driving demand for property in close proximity to the increasing level of facilities and services now on offer.”
As well as the Westfield expansion, Ms Mercorella also highlighted the new Chermside Library and North Regional Business Centre being built nearby on Hamilton Rd.
“The upgrade of the Chermside Library, to become a full northern suburbs business park, complete with local council ward offices, a substantially improved public library and access to a range of council services such as rates payments, will continue to attract residents and visitors to the suburb, boosting the local economy and driving further demand for property.”
Lenders making it tougher
Ms Mercorella said it was concerning that some lenders were making it tougher to get into home ownership.
“Property is cyclical and while supply is forecast to exceed demand in the apartment market in some inner Brisbane suburbs over the next 12 months, we know from vast experience that demand will inevitably catch up and property owners will experience capital growth in their investment,” she said.
“We don’t view those inner suburbs as especially risky.
“In fact, their close proximity to work, transport and entertainment will drive demand for these apartments for many years to come,” she said.