The inner Melbourne “boom” is toxic growth

The inner Melbourne “boom” is toxic growth
The inner Melbourne “boom” is toxic growth

ABC News 24 seems determined to overtake the Sydney Morning Herald as the nation’s leading source of real estate misinformation.

Following recent instances of badly misinformed comments on property issues by presenters Michael Rowland and Virginia Trioli, News 24 did a dangerously inept report on Melbourne's inner city apartment market on Thursday last week.

The report characterised the situation as an exciting boom. Not a word about inflated prices, two-tiered marketing practices, high vacancy rates and potential for market decline - and only the slightest reference to the possibility of oversupply.

The report allowed spruikers and marketers to eulogise the building boom as an endless summer of possibilities, without asking those with vested interests a single hard question.

In essence, developers are throwing up towers and peddling apartments to distant investors at inflated prices.  You might think: well, who cares? If Asians with too many dollars and not enough sense pay silly prices for bad real estate, that's their problem.

There’s a shakeout of major proportions in the offing and you really don’t want to be part of it.

But it's everyone's problem. Australians own property in these markets. I regularly meet people who have bought apartments in inner-city Melbourne - and can't get tenants, because the market is oversupplied.

I recently met an investor who owns three investment properties, all of them off the plan apartments in Docklands and only now realising there might be a problem.

These people will have to settle contracts at prices much higher than their property's market value. It's a disaster in the making. It has the ability to drag down the wider Melbourne market, to the detriment of families and the nation.

The inner Melbourne “boom” is toxic growth if ever I’ve seen it. Vacancies in the Melbourne CBD, Southbank and Docklands have been fluctuating between 5% and 10% recently - and will get worse, given the weight of new construction.

State Planning Minister Matthew Guy appears determined to aid and abet any developer who wants to build another tower, to the point where you have to wonder about his motives.

There was no sense of any of that in the shallow piece put together by the ABC News 24 team. 

At the end of the item, Jim Middleton weighed in with misplaced comments on foreign investors in Melbourne high-rise forcing up general Melbourne real estate prices and forcing Aussie battlers outs of the market.

Middleton also prattled on about price bubbles, putting the finishing touches to a consummate piece of misinformation. He made a goose of himself but will probably never know.

I urge all investors to stay away from the inner Melbourne apartment market. There’s a shakeout of major proportions in the offing and you really don’t want to be part of it.

Paying $700,000 for a two-bedroom generic apartment, in a market with tens of thousands of identical products, is the essence of bad investing.

You can contact Terry via email or on Twitter

Photo courtesy of Vincent Q/Flickr.

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder is the founder of

Terry Ryder Oversupply Melbourne

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