Heated interest in healthcare real estate is being driven not only by the sector’s recession-proof reputation, but an exit from retail property at a time of skinny returns and shaky consumer confidence.
According to property watchers the yield compression evident with retail property assets such as shopping centres has seen investors questioning the returns from this asset class and seeking safer alternatives.
At the same time, the healthcare sector has also caught the eye of local and offshore institutional investors attracted to Australia’s ageing demographic trends and the long-term and stable nature of the tenancies.
“We have seen some quite firmly priced transactions in healthcare,” said Australian Unity executive general manager (property) Mark Pratt.
“There’s certainly a lot more institutional interest in healthcare and given more capital has been brought to bear that has impacted asset valuations.”
CBRE director of healthcare and social infrastructure Sandro Peluso said healthcare sector yields were just starting to compress, which meant buyers were willing to pay higher prices for lower returns.
He said recent transactions for assets such as private hospitals and medical centres were stuck on yields of 5-6 per cent, compared with about 8 per cent five years ago.
In contrast yields on retail assets such as shopping centres have fallen from 5-6 per cent to 3-4 per cent – a return on investment that many buyers were baulking at.
“That’s what’s going to happen with healthcare,” Mr Peluso said. “So there’s a case for getting in before it’s too late and it doesn’t make any investment sense.”
Specialist healthcare investor Barwon Investment Partners concurs that “weakness in the retail sector will see an increase in alternative property sectors such as healthcare.”
Despite the danger of overpaying, deep-pocketed investors have been vying for deals in what remains a highly fragmented sector.
The listed property trust Centuria recently finalised a 63 per cent interest in Heathley Ltd’s property funds management business, to form the Centuria Heathley joint venture managing $600 million of assets.
“Healthcare is a strongly performing, rapidly expanding property sector and a natural fit for Centuria,” Centuria joint-CEO John McBain said.
Centuria Heathley has secured a separate venture with AXA Investment Managers’ ‘real’ assets division and Grosvenor Group, with a targeted $500 million portfolio.
The French-based AXA is not the only offshore giant attracted to Australian healthcare.
Healthcare is a strongly performing, rapidly expanding property sector.
In August last year Canada’s NorthWest Healthcare entered the local market with a joint venture to build a $2 billion fund, seeded with $412 million of assets from the former Generation Healthcare REIT.Meanwhile Barwon’s $500 million institutional fund last month inked a $20 million to develop an adolescent mental health facility in Canberra, along with operator Healthe Care.
Australian Unity operates a 20-year-old healthcare property trust that has $1.7 billion of diverse health care assets, including a component of Brisbane’s Herston Quarter medical precinct (Australian Unity is master-developer of the $1.1 billion project).
Mr Pratt said the fund currently had a preference for brownfield developments with existing patient demand.
“An existing lease generally can give a cap rate that is higher than that of a new buy,” he said.
Mr Pratt said a potential headwind for the sector was the ongoing pricing pressure from government and private health insurers to manage costs and pricing.
CBRE last month transacted the $8.6 million sale of a day hospital in the western Melbourne suburb of Sunshine on a yield of 6 per cent.
Earlier, the firm handled the $5.52 million sale of a Cheltenham day facility (in the city’s south east) on a yield of 5.5 per cent.
Downsizer Development offers stylish living with lots of space
They say that size matters – and for some, it certainly is when it comes to buying property.
The privacy, storage and contemporary design of the Velocity Property Group’s Parque on Oxford apartments and townhouses give downsizers good reasons to put Taringa on the coveted location list. The sales were already made in the recently launched development.
With the completion of the 3-room apartments, the emphasis on warehousing was well received by buyers.
A focus on large, open living and dining areas and an airy, bright ambience thanks to clever design that makes optimal use of the urban view were also a success.
The Parque on Oxford Apartments were designed in a modernist style to create sophisticated, large executive residences that could be anywhere in the world.
The building designed by HAL Architects in Brisbane appears solid, slim and solid and has a sculptural design piece that anchors the two sides.
The Parque on Oxford Apartments offer pergolas for natural light and shade as well as privacy, great views and a captivating breeze.
Five of the seven apartments are still available in the housing estate on Oxford Terrace. The focus is on privacy as well as the low-maintenance design and the beautiful surfaces. The apartments range in size from 183 to 254 m² and cost USD 995,000. Most have a media room or an office.
Next door, the Parque on Oxford townhouses are due to be completed early next year. They are 225 to 313 square meters in size and cost $ 1,099,000.
The 11 townhouses were designed with a subtropical, modern Queensland feel to capture the height and elevation of the place.
With three levels, excellent surfaces and plenty of storage space, thanks to forward-looking planning and architecture in some residential buildings, they also offer the option of including elevators for the future.
In addition to the Parque on Oxford, the Velocity Property Group also built condominiums in Ellerslie Crescent in Taringa to take advantage of the city view and elevated location. Only two of them are left.
Velocity Property Group’s national sales manager, Caroline Humbert, has been selling real estate projects for over 15 years and now sells luxury apartments, townhouses and condominiums to Velocity’s primary downsizer audience.
Ms. Humbert said there were four main ingredients that downsizers were looking for in townhouses or apartments, all of which would be delivered at the Parque on Oxford.
“The first ingredient is storage, storage and more storage. Downsizing is not about sacrificing everything you have collected over many years to move to a smaller residence. It’s about bringing what you really love to your new home and storing it comfortably, ”said Ms. Humbert
“The second thing that downsizers are looking for is the best possible results. Many downsizers consider this phase of their lives to be their final home forever. They therefore want to enjoy the best kitchens and bathrooms they have ever had.
“The third ingredient is to lock yourself up and lose your life. Downsizers have time to pursue their interests and travel, and ensuring that their home is safe and does not require maintenance while they are away is a priority.
“The last ingredient is the location. Downsizers want to be close to the services, stores, and lifestyle factors they enjoy. Taringa ensures proximity to the city and a wealth of dining, shopping and more options in the heart of Brisbane’s Inner West.
“The Velocity Property Group is reviewing a number of locations in Brisbane in 2020 to create more desirable residential homes for downsizers, just like those in Parque on Oxford, Taringa.”
USC Moreton Bay Campus attracts property buyers
The USC Moreton Bay campus, scheduled to open in Petrie this year, is helping to increase interest in the Pine Rivers property market and buyer activity will only increase, according to a local real estate expert.
According to data from Core Logic, more than half of the suburbs in the Pine River Press catchment area saw average growth in property prices in 2019, while everyone except Dakabin has seen an increase in average property prices in the past three years.
The outstanding performance of 2019 was achieved by Dayboro, where the average property price rose 16.9 percent to $ 591,000.
Clear Mountain ranked second, up 16.3 percent to $ 802,250, while cashmere rose 5.4 percent to $ 769,450.
Mark Rumsey, sales manager at David Deane Real Estate Strathpine, said the real estate market at Pine Rivers was solid in 2019.
“It was hit by the impact of the royal banking commission’s actions and the federal election earlier this year, but has grown steadily since then,” he said.
“There was a lot of investor activity due to the university and the first home buyers were solid with interest rates at such record lows.”
According to Rumsey, Strathpine, Lawnton, Bray Park and Petrie were the top-selling suburbs in 2019. The university and subsequent development that it supported met with keen interest.
“We are so close to the bay, rural areas, the north and south coasts, 25 minutes from the city, and have an average house price of only $ 425,000 for properties with large blocks and great value,” said he.
Mr. Rumsey predicted that 2020 would be an even better year for real estate in the region.
“The new first incentives for home buyers, possible rate cuts, the opening of Petrie University and Brisbane’s second runway will make our region and Brisbane have a very good year of growth overall,” he said.
“We are very excited about the development of our region and some of the exciting new projects that are being put into practice.”
Six-storey proposal for heritage seaside suburb sparks protest
A quiet seaside suburb in Brisbane’s north could see six-storey buildings rubbing shoulders with single-storey heritage-listed buildings under a neighbourhood plan being drafted by Brisbane City Council.
The Sandgate Neighbourhood Plan, which sets requirements for development and zoning in the suburbs of Sandgate, Shorncliffe and Deagon, proposes increasing height limits along the town centre shopping strip on Brighton Road to six storeys.
But the plan has become a point of contention, with about 500 residents forming a group to protest some of the draft changes which they say could damage Sandgate’s heritage facade and character.
Once Brisbane’s seaside retreats, the coastal suburbs are full of heritage-listed buildings in low-lying streets close to the picturesque foreshores, also heritage listed.
Much of Sandgate is zoned low-density residential, or low-medium with a two-storey height limit.
The council’s proposed neighbourhood plan would also allow the six-storey building height limit behind Brighton Road, between the state school and overlooking the heritage-listed Einbunpin Lagoon.
A similar proposal to allow three-storey buildings around Deagon train station was removed by the council after strong feedback from residents.
Sandgate property owner Theresa Dow has been at the forefront of many protests against the six-storey proposal, arguing allowing mixed-use commercial development would destroy Sandgate’s picturesque appeal and heritage aspects.
She also said residents only discovered the potential for six-storey buildings in a document uploaded to the council’s website.
Ms Dow said she and others in the group were working on their own suggestions for the area.
They submitted petitions to the council asking for extended time for community consultation from the prescribed 20 business days that ended in early November, arguing the council had not advertised the proposed changes widely enough.
“We’re going to do the people’s plan and then hand it to the council,” she said.
“We know we’ve got to change but we just think they need to be talking to us, all of us … not just property owners, but all the people that have lived here. [We] choose to live here because of its beauty, and the way it is.”
Ms Dow said she and others had no problem with change, agreeing the area needed new life and focus, but the council should have consulted more widely and listened more closely to resident concerns.
But, she said, some residents supported the proposal, calling for new shops and upgrades to the area’s commercial centre.
City planning committee chairman Matthew Bourke said hundreds of residents had attended community consultation sessions.
“From the feedback received, lord mayor Adrian Schrinner announced that the proposed changes to zoning around the Deagon train station would be excluded from the neighbourhood plan going forward,” Cr Bourke said.
“Feedback received on the revitalisation of the Sandgate Town Centre will be considered as the draft plan is prepared.
“This was only the first step in the consultation process and residents, businesses and community groups will again have the opportunity to have their say on a revised plan.”
Cr Bourke said the next stage of consultation would be on the draft plan to be released this year.
The local councillor Jared Cassidy, also Labor opposition leader, spoke at length during December’s final council meeting about the frustrations of residents who attended council’s consultation sessions.
“… Earlier on I stood up and said, yes, my community does need a renewed Sandgate neighbourhood plan, but I didn’t for one second think that we would have such a hollow process of consultation and such a poor outcome even in this very first stage of the neighbourhood plan,” Cr Cassidy told the chamber.
Cr Cassidy said the council’s consultation with the suburbs was “not good enough” and he was “not going to take this lying down”.
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