Property research | 5 min read

Does size matter? A deeper look into what makes Brisbane apartments appealing

Peter Bell
Peter Bell

Mosaic has been covering the Brisbane Apartment Market extensively for some time now. Amid reports of oversupply and under performing investments, research continues to demonstrate that the devil really is in the detail.

The following comment from Frank Gelber, Chief Economist and Director of BIS Oxford Economics, recently appeared in The Australian regarding the national apartment market:

“The defining characteristic of this cycle is that the boom has been driven by high-rise apartment development, largely for the investor market. And the bulk of new apartments is coming on now. That’s where most of the oversupply will be, particularly in small investor stock built to a price and a rent. The irony is that the strongest demand for apartments during the next decade will come from downsizers moving from the suburban family home into an apartment, and upgraders moving from apartments to larger apartments as they form families and have children. And we haven’t built that stock.”

This is certainly one of the more pertinent points that has been made regarding the apartment market. The comment is also timely, given a number of interesting pieces of analysis that have been recently conducted on the Brisbane market by both Urbis and the UDIA.

What’s already in Brisbane?

Over recent years, new apartment projects within Inner Brisbane have typically focused on delivering one and two bedroom apartments targeted towards the investor market. This market trend is confirmed by research recently completed by Urbis.

To put this in context:

  • Over the past four years, a total of 19,200 one and two-bedroom apartments have been delivered compared to only 1,031 three-bedroom apartments in Inner Brisbane over the same period.
  • This equates to an average of 40% one-bedroom apartments, 54% two-bedroom apartments, and 6% three plus bedroom apartments.
  • Similarly, the majority of future new supply within Inner Brisbane will consist of one and two-bedroom apartments (92%).
  • Currently only 8% of Inner Brisbane’s proposed new apartment supply is planned as three-bedroom product.
  • Over the past three years to March 2018, a high proportion of apartments delivered to the Inner Brisbane market were less than 79m2 in gross size.
  • During this period, an average of 67% of apartments were less than 79m2 in gross size, 25% of apartments were between 80m2 to 99m2 in gross size and only 8% of apartments were greater than 100m2 in gross size.
  • The above also helps quantify exactly why an undersupply of higher quality, larger apartments currently exists within the Inner Brisbane market.

New Brisbane Apartment Chart 1

Number of new apartments delivered – Inner Brisbane (By bedroom)

Brisbane apartment chart 2

Number of new apartments – Inner Brisbane (by size)

What does the local market want in Brisbane?

The UDIA Queensland Research Foundation, in collaboration with Urbis, recently prepared a report to deliver insights on Brisbane’s residential and rental market. The work undertaken involved a survey of building occupants (circa 100 respondents) to assess amenity priorities and a survey of building managers (across 16 projects) to ascertain occupant demographics. The table below provides an interesting snapshot of the elements that occupants held in highest regard when it comes to living in Brisbane apartments.

Internal apartment size is desirable across Greater Brisbane, along with proximity to employment and transport.

It is clear that internal apartment size is a highly desired element for comfortable apartment living in Brisbane, and this feedback was universal across different geographic regions. The analysis also highlighted that it was not just about size; it needs to be coupled with functional design elements like the provision of natural light and ventilation.

Whilst it may sound like common sense, the ability to fit a dining room table, install a reasonable sized fridge and undertake laundry in a separate space are simple design elements that can impact the ability to live comfortably in an apartment. Given they are highly desired by residents, size and functional design elements will improve an apartment’s likelihood to attract and retain quality tenants, generate improved rental returns and ultimately resell to the local market for greater value in the future.

Reside by Mosaic Apartment living area

Spacious apartments with functional design elements such as natural light and ventilation are in demand.

Mosaic apartments have always provided the market with a genuine point of difference based on a deliberate strategy to consistently deliver larger dwellings relative to competing product. Further to this, Mosaic has also focussed on functional design elements to maximise the liveability of their apartments for occupants, including the following:

  • Space for minimum 2 couches in living rooms or a decent sized chaise lounge
  • Sitting space at kitchen bench
  • High ceilings to maximise openness and lightness of interior
  • Comprehensive and practical kitchens with ample circulation space
  • Private access to bathrooms
  • All apartments include 2 bathrooms
  • Maximised space in bedrooms to allow comfortable use of queen bed and bedside tables
  • Additional storage cupboards are incorporated into design
  • Generous wardrobe space for hanging and built in box shelving
  • Good connection between indoor and outdoor living spaces
  • Ample room in living areas for both dining and lounge spaces
  • Spacious balconies that function as genuine outdoor living spaces
  • Climatically responsive and sustainable design increases the desirability and livability of apartment spaces
  • Separate bedrooms to ensure privacy between occupants in a dual living arrangement
  • Visual and audible privacy between adjacent dwellings by physically separating balconies or creating solid barriers between them