Too many too small: property developer Ron Walker warns of Melbourne apartment woes

Property developer Ron Walker says many parts of Melbourne’s unit market are oversupplied with too many small apartments coming to market too quickly.

But he says high quality apartments in the right areas will sell well and his company Evolve Development continues to release units.

“There are certain areas in the city we wouldn’t touch with a 40-foot pole,” Walker told BRW.

“There’s a lot of stock that has come to market very quickly, and they are small apartments where people are living within metres of each other.”

Walker, along with co-directors Ashley Williams and Kris Daff just opened the Melbourne apartment project The Guilfoyle at the former Channel 7 near the Botanic Gardens, which sold off the plan in 2010, despite four owners defaulting.

“If you build quality product, they always sell,” he says.

Evolve has 1000 apartments in the planning stage and about 7000 residential lots in masterplanned communities to be released over the next decade.

It also has the 227-unit Monarch development to be completed in October.

“Our experience to date has been apartments have all rented out very quickly and the rental levels are holding up well,” his business partner Ashley Williams told BRW.

“I think there might be a bit of oversupply coming through in the next 12 to 24 months, but I think that will be quickly digested as people choose to move into these high-amenity areas.”

He says historically low interest rates have increased market confidence but sales in large apartment buildings remain slow despite some improvement in land subdivision sales.

“I think if you look at the established house market there has certainly been a big pick-up in competition,” Williams says.

“There seems to be a lot more competitive auctions happening on the weekend. I think medium term we will get back to steady growth after a couple of sideways years. It will happen first in the inner suburbs and ripple out to medium and outer suburbs.

“Most of the economic signs in Victoria are still pretty strong.”


Alistair Walsh

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter

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