February 20, 2013

What will Brisbane look like in 5 years? A considered look at some of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind.

With the year 2013 now underway, we thought it would be timely to look at some of the largest trends in the South East Queensland property market, and contemplate what it may lead to in 5 years’ time.  So this week we’ve asked the biggest questions on everyone’s lips.  We’d be delighted to hear your thoughts and comments in response. 

Will our CBD continue its growth into South Brisbane? 

Brisbane’s CDB is restricted by the river and Spring Hill, and recent residential development competes with the centre’s role as a commercial hub, although adding diversity and activity.

In response to this natural growth, the New Draft City Plan will include much of South Brisbane, and Coronation Drive in the “City Frame” definition, revising car ratios, densities and uses. This will strengthen the importance of South Brisbane as a diverse, cultural, business and entertainment precinct, distinct in character but complementing the CBD. We see Southbank’s continued development into Brisbane’s cultural ‘Left Bank’.

Areas like Toowong and Mt Gravatt will continue to offer well connected commercial centres as an alternative to the CBD. And Toowong will certainly benefit from the potential green bridge that may link Toowong with West End.

Will Indooroopilly, Chermside or Mt Gravatt win the battle for biggest busiest centre?

Chermside, Indooroopilly, and Mt Gravatt are playing an increasingly important role as satellite retail centres outside our city centre (with its high parking costs.) With the further expansion of these mixed use hubs, these centres are now offer real living alternatives. As a balance, smaller neighborhood “villages “of Nundah, Mitchelton, Woolloongabba, Bulimba, West End and Yeerongpilly are developing an appealing quieter character.

Will 1 William St shift the way we think about the Northbank of the city?

Will the Queensland Government’s new, beautiful office building become an isolating ‘ivory tower’ separate from the business community? Or will it provide a much needed improvement in linking the CBD with the river? And will it give us an iconic gateway building when approaching the city from the south?

Will the Commonwealth Games be the shot in the arm the Gold Coast desperately needs?   

The “Goldy” is doing it tough at the moment. Will the 2018 Commonwealth Games be the stimulus it needs to build business confidence?  And will local firms get a look in, rather than the majors?  With the planning still underway, we don’t know exactly what it will do to our region, or how opportunities will be seized, although Goldlinq,  the Light Rail linking Southport with Broadbeach, is a great start.

The soon-to-be-released Gold Coast Cultural Precinct could also be a real cultural “stake in the ground” for longer term improvement, if the funding model works. Look at the success of other significant projects of a similar nature that have put other cities on the map.

Will Residential Apartments become an attractive investment for institutional superfunds?

An emerging property trend has been increased residential rents and a growing segment of the market that now prefers renting furnished apartments over purchasing.  As the furnished rental offering continues to gain strength, whole buildings may be let as fully furnished facilities to long term residential tenants, and superfunds may expand their property portfolio into this area.  We’ve seen this trend in Europe and the US for some time, and there is no logical reason why it shouldn’t happen here, apart from the Baby Boomers historical love affair with owning their own home.

Will the “Shared Accommodation” section in the Courier Mail disappear forever? 

With more people than ever moving into one bed and studio apartments we might just find the Courier Mail is the biggest loser.  People simply don’t seem to want to share anymore! One bed apartments are incredibly popular, indicative of these changes. However we need the administration to understand that not everyone needs a car. A quick desktop study of new apartments in Melbourne will demonstrate ratios as low as 1 car per 4 units. Affordability and feasibilities are stymied by the unquestioned requirements for cars. This is a maturity that our city is yet to reach.

Will we love the river or hate the river?

Our river is our best asset and our most difficult neighbour!! 

Controlling the river is not possible, as we have seen over the last few years.  Each flood or river rising event is unique to the event before. However, we are starting to see more creative ways and approaches to ensuring that the after affects to people and property are minimal. Certainly, in the coming five years some hard decisions need to be about the future of some land-uses in certain areas.   How soon?  That’s anyone’s guess, but many won’t want to risk another disaster after two in two years.

Our next Blog will focus on Brisbane’s Draft New Town Plan – opportunities missed as well as where the future growth is likely.

Article written by Mason Cowle, director at Ellivo Architects.