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Role of Foreign Investment in Local Economy ‘Irrefutable’

Foreign investment has been a critical enabler of the growth of the Australian property sector into the single most important sector in our nation’s economy, according to ESR Australia, a leading developer and manager of industrial, logistics and commercial property.

The sector currently contributes over $200 billion to GDP per annum, making it approximately 13 per cent of the total economy and employing more than 1.5 million people—more than mining and manufacturing combined.

It is unlikely that the sector could have grown to this scale without the foreign capital flows that have underpinned the funding for many of the significant development projects in Australia, including Barangaroo and the Wynyard Station redevelopment in Sydney as well as Docklands in Melbourne.

According to data from JLL, the amount of foreign capital flowing to the Australian commercial property sector has tripled during the last decade, rising to over $10 billion annually and now accounting for approximately 40 per cent of all commercial real estate transactions.

foreign Investment

▲ Walkinshaw at 71 Whiteside Rd, Clayton South VIC 

Almost all foreign capital is invested through fund managers, either domestic property groups or more prominent global property fund managers with sizeable local teams.

These capital inflows have fuelled competition in the property funds management sector, stimulating innovation and productivity and helping to position Australia as a leading player globally.

Governments at all levels have benefited from the increasing property values and sales volumes, which have filled their coffers with property tax revenues.

The recent $3.8-billion Milestone transaction was illustrative of how foreign capital is fueling the Industrial sector’s emergence as the in-demand asset class, with three of the final four bidders being funded by foreign investors.

Since this landmark deal, yields industry-wide have compressed even further, with prime metropolitan industrial assets now regularly trading at cap rates below 4 per cent, further stimulating activity across various disciplines.

Recently foreign investors have shown heightened interest in participating in development activities. This has in part been driven by the highly competitive market for stabilised property, with development exposures (for example, through develop to hold strategies) being a way for these investors to generate returns sufficient to meet their hurdles.

One of the industrial-focused property funds management groups at the forefront of this shift has been ESR Australia, which raised $1billion for its ESR Australia Development Partnership (EADP) from foreign institutional investors during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns.

This timing proved fortuitous given the subsequent boom in e-commerce and restructuring of supply chains, further increasing tenant demand and investor appetite for industrial real estate to unprecedented levels, ESR said.

In the last year, other property funds management groups have also been tapping foreign investors for new funds with development capabilities, including GPT for Quadreal and Stockland for JP Morgan Asset Management.

In light of the positive impact that foreign capital has made on the Australian property sector, it is essential to remember that these sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, and global investment groups have options to invest their capital elsewhere across the Asia Pacific region.

These investors typically choose to invest in Australia over other competing markets such as China, Japan, Korea, and Singapore because of Australia’s strong economic growth, stable legal and policy framework, and open foreign investment policies.

ESR Australia credits its swift and substantial growth in the local market through leveraging long-standing relationships built over time with global institutional investors such as GIC, M&G, Townsend and China Merchants.

As APAC emerges from the pandemic and further opportunities for pent up capital to be unlocked present, other Australian developers will be faced with the onus and opportunity to think bigger in brokering relationships and subsequent deals with foreign partners.


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Three out of four mortgage holders who asked for a rate cut, got one: RateCity


While the majority of changes to fixed rates in the last two months have been hikes, the opposite is happening in the variable rate market

Almost three-quarters of variable borrowers who asked for a rate cut, got one, a new survey has found.

In a survey of over 1,000 mortgage holders, of those on a variable rate, 52 per cent haggled with their bank for a lower rate. Over 73 per cent of these people were successful in getting at least one rate cut.

A rate reduction of 0.25 per cent could save the average mortgage holder $1,241 in interest after one year and $3,656 after three years. This is based on a $500,000 loan balance with 25 years remaining.

While the majority of changes to fixed rates in the last two months have been hikes, the opposite is happening in the variable rate market.


Omnia 4-6 Horscroft Place, Moorabbin VIC 3189 home loan database analysis:

  • 49 lenders have cut at least one variable rate in the past two months.
  • 10 lenders have hiked variable rates in that time.
  • The vast majority of variable rate cuts are reserved for new customers, not existing ones.

RateCity research director, Sally Tindall, said while the RBA is not expected to move the cash rate tomorrow, one phone call could potentially save the average variable rate mortgage holder thousands.

“Variable rates are at record lows, however, most of these deals are reserved for new customers, not existing ones, unless you specifically ask,” she said.

“A lot of people think a handful of basis points won’t make much of a difference, but if the discount is permanent, then the savings can potentially run into the thousands in just a few years.”


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Mirvac Picks Up Rejected Brunswick Site


Mirvac has snapped up the site of a rejected mixed-use development from JWLand with plans to expand its residential pipeline in inner Melbourne.

The 6496sq m site overlooking Princes Park includes an old hotel and several dilapidated buildings at 699 Park Street, Brunswick with frontages on Sydney and Brunswick roads.

The ASX-listed property group has yet to disclose the purchase price, and would not confirm reports they had paid about $40 million for the site.

JWLand acquired the site for $30 million and planned to commence construction on the site in late 2017.

But those plans were rejected by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, including the demolition of a heritage building to construct 255 apartments, retail space and a child care centre.


▲ The plans for JWLand were rejected by VCAT included multiple buildings along Park Road, Brunswick. 

Mirvac already has plans to build around 200 apartments on the site.

Mirvac head of residential Stuart Penklis said the development would enhance and celebrate the location, as well as being sensitive to the surrounding properties and amenity.

“The current plans see the building at various heights stepping back from Park Street to minimise any impact on Princes Park and maximising the spectacular vistas for residents, but we are still in the process of finalising the scheme,” Penklis said.

“Mirvac is in the early visioning stage for Park Street, with the current scheme looking to yield approximately 200 apartment residences in a range of configurations to appeal to a broad selection of purchasers.

“We have recently seen a trend towards oversized apartments and amalgamations which could see this number change.”

Mirvac plans to launch Park Street in mid-2022, with construction anticipated to commence in late 2022.

Park Street joins Mirvac’s $1.4-billion Victorian apartment portfolio that includes Phoenix, Folia, and Forme in Doncaster; The Eastbourne in East Melbourne; and Yarra’s Edge in Melbourne citywhere planning for tower nine is under way.


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Brisbane running out of land for new homes, with less than 3 years’ supply

new homes

Brisbane will run out of available land to build new homes in less than three years – and Noosa has just one year – as a housing crisis grips the state.

The startling projection was revealed via documents released as part of Queensland budget estimates hearings, but Deputy Premier Steven Miles argued that almost 50,000 residential lots were in the process of being unlocked in south-east Queensland following the October 2020 state election.

Under state government rules, all local government areas should have four years’ worth of approved lots – land that is ready to go to market.

But Brisbane has just 2.9 years of approved lot supply, Noosa has 1.1 years, the Gold and Sunshine coasts 1.9 years each, Redland 2.9 years, and Moreton Bay 3.2 years.

But Mr Miles said almost 50,000 residential lots were in the process of being unlocked following the 2020 state election.

“Our strong health response to the COVID-19 pandemic has created a spike in interstate migration which has put pressure on land supply across the state,” he said.

“While COVID has certainly spurred an increase in interstate migration, we would expect to see further increases over the coming years in the lead-up to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Mr Miles said the majority of the state’s councils had up to 30 years of lot supplies.

In other areas, Bundaberg has 14.9 years, Cairns eight, Gympie 9.6, Ipswich 7.3, Rockhampton 16.2, and Toowoomba 6.1.

Some areas have extremely high rates, with Banana reporting 354 years of supply, Gladstone almost 249 years, and Isaac 363.

Mr Miles said in response to population growth linked to people moving to Queensland from interstate – a boom in new residents not experienced in almost two decades – he established the Growth Areas Team in March 2021.

“The GAT focuses on land supply in south-east Queensland to ensure we can keep up with expected population growth, and the demand for housing and infrastructure development that comes with it,” he said.

Mr Miles said the government had identified Caboolture West as a pilot site for a future growth area program providing 3000 extra homes, while it had also provided $15 million for a wastewater treatment plant to pave the way for up to 5000 extra homes in Southern Redland Bay.

The years of supply are calculated based on uncompleted lot approval and lot certification data prepared by the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office using information provided by councils.

The latest figures come as there are 47,036 people on the state’s social housing register – a 70 per cent increase in just three years – and as rental vacancy rates hit 10-year lows and property prices soar.

According to a report released last year, south-east Queensland needs an extra 31,979 dwellings each year to keep up with demand.

LNP housing spokesman Tim Mander said more land needed to be made available.

“And we need to build the roads, water and sewerage to support it,” he said.

“We must build the infrastructure that protects the lifestyle of the people who live here and that gives opportunities for our kids to get into the market.”


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