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APARTMENT sales have almost halved in Brisbane as fewer new projects are launched to market and developers adopt a wait-and-see approach, a new report has found.
It’s good news for first home buyers and downsizers hunting for a bargain, with the slowdown keeping a lid on unit prices.
And while investor demand has waned, the appetite for units in the Queensland capital is still strong among owner-occupiers, who made up the majority of sales during the March quarter.
The latest Urbis quarterly apartment report reveals 154 apartments were sold in the first three months of this year — down from 252 sales in the previous quarter.
Owner occupier transactions made up 34 per cent of sales, overtaking foreign investor purchase, which accounted for 28 per cent of sales.
The average apartment sale price remained steady at $680,195.
Urbis anticipates that project launches won’t see any drastic increase, however sales figures are not expected to register further decline.
“It is a competitive market because there is still product in the market,” Urbis director property economics and research Paul Riga said.
“In coming quarters we’re tracking another four to six projects likely to launch in the coming six months.
“That will add more choice to the market, and on that basis, we would expect sales to move higher.”
Mr Riga said it was positive to see that while investor activity had slowed in the inner Brisbane apartment market, owner occupiers were still active.
“A large proportion of owner occupier sales were in recently built or soon to be completed developments,” he said.
“Generally, owner occupiers are looking for a home, they want to be able to see the finished product before committing.”
Unlike the previous quarter, where 46 per cent of sales were in projects in a presales phase, this quarter 55 per cent of sales were in recently built and settled developments.
Only 15 per cent of sales were in presales developments.
Mr Riga said the decline in presales purchases was largely due to the lack of new projects launching to the market, with only three new projects yielding 146 apartments launching in Brisbane during the March quarter.
And only 306 apartments were approved for development in the first three months of this year — in line with the low level of projects coming to the market.
More than 4700 apartments, including in sold-out projects, are expected to settle across inner Brisbane by the end of the year.
Mr Riga said many “savvier” developers were working behind the scenes with buyers, agents and valuers to ensure settlements were on track.
“Many developers are monitoring to see how these settlements go before deciding to launch anything new to the market,” he said.
“I haven’t heard reports of too many drastic issues when it comes to settlements.”
Despite the lack of new projects, demand for the right product at the right price was still there, with a number of projects pending launch gathering interest from prospective buyers.
“From our conversations within the market, we know that there has been solid interest and sales in recently built stock which has had to be resold, indicating that demand hasn’t disappeared and buyers are still active,” Mr Riga said.