When designs on the high life go to plan

When designs on the high life go to plan

Sydney Morning Herald, Issue: 2 April 2013

The year was 1996 and the Sydney property agent Erle Cramer was selling between 10 and 15 apartments a day off-the-plan in the iconic new apartment tower – the Horizon in Darlinghurst.

Promoter Harry M. Miller and Justin Miller of Sotheby’s grabbed a couple each. The late theatre director Richard Wherrett was looking forward to leaving his prized Surry Hills terrace to join the high life in the new Harry Seidler-designed tower that everyone was talking about.

The Kent Street towers – Highgate and Observatory Tower – had led the charge. But with Horizon, the marketing of glamorous new off-the-plan apartments, which began on the Gold Coast in the 1970s, took off in earnest in Sydney.

And what’s clear from our analysis, using data from the Fairfax-owned Australian Property Monitors, is just how well buyers have fared at six popular Sydney designer apartment blocks depends on a range of factors. Emphasising that buying and selling an off-the-plan apartment can be a lottery, these factors range from the price the developer sets on launch day to the quality of the block, its location and especially timing: at what point in the property cycle the building is offered and when the purchaser buys and sells…

Interestingly, it is a block designed by Allen Jack & Cottier in Redfern, completed the same year as Horizon, that rivals its more famous high-rise cousins in terms of price growth. Moore Park Gardens has notched up an average 123 per cent growth over its lifetime of sales, or an annual appreciation of 5.5 per cent. It also exceeded the average price growth of the suburb – 108 per cent – over the same period.