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Interview With The Principal

By Kayla Hides

Looking for the lowdown on all things real estate? We’ve put the big – and some small – questions to Ray White Bulimba’s principal Roger Carr to find out what’s happening and what the future holds.

What are buyers looking for in Bulimba right now?

Owner-occupiers are looking for a range of properties, and the beauty of Bulimba is that it caters for all types of buyers. There is a real diversity in the local real estate market, from entry-level apartments right up to riverfront lifestyle offerings. I find people tend to stay within the precinct, whether they’re upsizing or downsizing, since there are plenty of options.

There are also a lot of people looking to invest in Bulimba. It has always been known as a strong capital growth area. Suburbs along the river are always desirable, which leads to price growth.

Even prestige Brisbane suburbs offer great value compared to southern markets – what’s your take on the state of the market right now, for Brisbane and for Bulimba?

Sydney and Melbourne have grown at unsustainable rates and have quickly become unaffordable. But Brisbane is a consistent performer, growing at a more sustainable rate of around 4% to 5% per annum over the longer term. While that’s half, a third and even a quarter of the growth seen in the southern states it makes Brisbane a safer investment because it doesn’t have the massive fluctuations.

While there is still strength in the Sydney market, many sellers are realising now is a good time to sell up, cash in and put their money where they’ll get more sustainable growth, such as Brisbane. Here they can make a lifestyle change where they are able to buy a nice property and still have money left over.

Winter is traditionally seen as a quiet period for real estate. How much activity are you noticing in the local market now?

There are definitely buyers looking for property. What normally happens is that people push spring selling, so at springtime you get a bit of a deluge in listings. But right now, a few weeks into winter, we’re finding there are buyers looking and not much for them to choose from. It’s all about supply and demand, so there’s a real opportunity for sellers at this point in time to cash in on low stock levels.

What impact do you think projects such as Queen’s Wharf, Brisbane Live and the Howard Smith Wharves rejuvenation will have on your patch? Are you aware of any other exciting things in the pipeline in Bulimba?

Anything to do with infrastructure will generate new interest in Brisbane. These projects make the city more attractive and generate jobs.

In Bulimba itself, there is the pending redevelopment of the Bulimba Barracks, which is in an area of the suburb’s north where old shipbuilding yards are also being redeveloped into high-end apartments. The transformation of that whole precinct will really change the face of Bulimba and lead to future growth.

How long have you been selling real estate in the Bulimba area, and what changes have you seen over that time?

The last four of my ten years selling real estate has been in Bulimba, where I’ve noticed constant but slow change, with new buildings, cafes and restaurants popping up. The biggest changes are yet to come with the redevelopment of the Bulimba Barracks.

What is Bulimba’s greatest selling point?

Bulimba, Balmoral and Hawthorne are really attractive alternatives to other inner-city suburbs such as New Farm, Teneriffe and Ascot. Not only is Bulimba more affordable, but it offers a better lifestyle with lots of space and amenity such as schools and sporting clubs, which is particularly attractive for families.

Oxford Street is also a huge drawcard. There aren’t too many areas in Brisbane that have a lifestyle precinct like that, with restaurants, cafes, shops and other amenity.

The fact that the Bulimba area is also on a peninsula, but with easy access to the city via ferries, is another big selling point.

What do you love about your job?

I really like helping making people’s dreams come to fruition, either by helping them get that first step into the property market or taking the next step up in buying a bigger home. It’s a big, life-changing moment for both the buyer and seller, and making it happen is rewarding for me.

Can you share with us the most memorable property you have sold in the area?

There was a unique property I sold that was set into the side of a hill and had full city views.  But it also had a lot of stairs – there were nearly 100 stairs to climb up to get to the living room! I ended up selling it to the next-door neighbours who were renting at the time but absolutely loved the position. The deal was put together in one night and in that one night I had to run up 150 stairs in total between the seller’s house and the purchaser’s house over and over to negotiate. Each party was sitting at their dining table waiting for me to do the stair challenge each time and then get back to the other party. I was exhausted the next day, but it was great experience!

What is the most important piece of advice you have for sellers?

There are some real opportunities for sellers right now with a shortage of stock in the marketplace, so if you’re planning on going to market later in the year, you should seriously consider bringing it forward.

What is the most important piece of advice you have for buyers?

Try not to over analyse what a property is worth. Don’t get caught up in the confusion of information, as this could cause you to lose the property. There is no wrong price; whatever a buyer is willing to pay becomes a legitimate market price.

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