Queensland developers Chris and Letitia Vitale have capitalised on a post-COVID-19 shift in the Gold Coast apartment market from investors to downsizing owner-occupiers after selling all 84 upmarket residences in a $450 million mL”ed-use development within six months.
The Vitales notched up $231 million off-the-plan sales across their twin-tower project at Burleigh Heads since launching it in November. More than 60 per cent of buyers were Gold Coast locals. The project includes the country’s first glitzy Mondrian Hotel and Mondrian-branded residences.
The sales included the 660sqm top-floor penthouse which sold for $10.5 million and a 770sqm penthouse on level 20, (created from the amalgamation of two half-floor residences) which went for $11.7 million to Queensland buyers.
A Melbourne buyer and a Gold Coast buyer acquired the two larger sub-penthouses for $7.45 million and $8.5 million respectively while six smaller penthouses sold for over $5.2 million each and eight “sky homes” sold for over $4 million each. The average price paid was just under $3 million.
The Burleigh Heads development features a 209-room hotel and a residential tower.
These top-end sales follow Queensland apartment records being smashed last week when a four-storey penthouse atop Soul tower in Surfers Paradise sold at auction for $15.25 million. The as-yet unnamed buyer paid in cash.
These top-end sales follow a report from property consultancy Urbis which found that 54 per cent of Gold Coast apartment sales in the final quarter of 2020 were to owner-occupiers, more than double the previous year’s figure of 25.1 per cent.
In addition, larger three-bedroom apartments accounted for a third of all Gold Coast apartment sales in the quarter, compared with just 13 per cent two years ago, Urbis found.
“Owner-occupiers are definitely a real market force and that’s become very, very apparent in the design and delivery of apartment stock,” said Urbis director of planning Matthew Schneider.
Mr Vitale said all Mondrian buyers were either owner-occupiers or people buying holiday homes.
Chris Vitale and his wife Leticia are developing the $450m project
However, none of the apartments can be let out as short-term stays – the shortest lease term allowable under body corporate by-laws is three months.
“We don’t want Airbnb in what is a luxury apartment tower,” he told The Australian Financial Review.
Mr Vitale attributed the sellout success to a good sales campaign and the fact that the market appreciated the product and location as well as the amenities offered. These include access to the hotel’s 24-hour room service, concierge and private driver.
“The market is robust. People have realised they can work from home and that they don’t have to go into work every day, so why not live in a place that you really want to live in,” Mr Vitale said.
Gold Coast locals accounted for more than 60 per cent of sales, while 20 per cent of buyers were from Melbourne and 10 per cent were from Sydney.
The 25-level ocean-fronting project will replace a low-rise 1950s block of flats known as White Horse Apartments bought by the Vitales for $22 million last year.
Next to the residential tower will be the country’s first Mondrian Hotel, a hipster hotel brand renowned for its innovative food and beverage offerings and incorporating design ideas from the likes of Philippe Starck and Lenny Kravitz.
The 209-room hotel, which the Vitales will retain as an investment, will be operated under a 20-year agreement by Accor and hotel management company sbe.
Demolition works, which will take about 13 weeks, have begun at the 4037 square metre site at 50 The Esplanade, Burleigh Heads. A builder for the $200 million construction job is expected to be announced shortly.
The project is expected to be completed by Christmas 2023.
Originally published by The Financial Review HERE.