THE sheer amount of property development occurring around Mandurah is astonishing. Just a casual drive around the city reveals a plethora of construction sites, giving a visual gauge of how much interest there is in this coastal city.
Development has increased with the construction of four and five star hotels, upmarket retail precincts and more high-end medium density residential developments starting.
City of Mandurah town planner turned real estate agent Jules Di Prizio has watched the city grow over the past 10 years and shake off its sleepy fishing village tag.
Mr Di Prizio said that the recent accelerated growth of the city was due to several factors, including Australian market conditions, population growth and government commitment to infrastructure in the region. He said in the past Mandurah was overlooked by people searching for investment opportunities in the south west.
“I think the Perth metropolitan area is rediscovering Mandurah as a better option in comparison with investment and tourism opportunities further south,” Mr Di Prizio said.
He said he was currently doing a lot of apartment selling and quality apartments of $1 million or more were becoming more prevalent.
“Traditionally the Mandurah market was filled by retirees and first home buyers looking for a cheaper option,” Mr Di Prizio said.
He said he was doing more off the plan sales – more than half of the Seashells Resort Mandurah development, which is currently under construction, has been sold.
Finbar’s development, Monterey Bay Apartment has sold all 42 apartments.
Mr Di Prizio said Landcorp’s Mandurah Ocean Marina had been a significant factor in sparking off more quality developments in the region.
Port Bouvard managing director Ross Neumann agreed. He said the marina development had raised the exposure of Mandurah in the general market, increased development interest in the region and helped raise the price of property sales per square metre.
Mr Neumann’s own massive 273-hectare estate development produced fantastic sales figures this financial year. The company sold 480 residential lots and 45 villa sites for a record $103 million.
“That will set a WA record for sales from one development and perhaps a national record,” he said.
There are 2,400 lots in total in the canal development. There are just under 1,000 left and around another two-and-a-half-years of development work.
Mr Neumann bought into the project five years ago after it went into receivership.
Mandurah is often likened to Florida in the US, however, according to Mr Neumann the development of canal land in Australia is much more advanced and the industry and the government authorities were careful not to repeat the environmental mistakes that are now costing millions to solve in Florida.
“You have got to be careful how you develop in fragile land,” he said.
Cedar Woods Properties’ estate development Mariner’s Cove recently received the 2003 UDIA national award for environmental excellence. It has been built around an internationally significant waterbird habitat and the Creery Wetlands.
Cedar Woods has approval to develop 331 canal lots in the estate, however, it is fettered by many environmental constraints.
The estate development has been applauded for its use of almost half the site to improve the waterbird habitat and ecology of the wetlands and efforts to harmoniously combine residential development and a fragile environment. It has been selling well with 25 lots sold within the first two months of the first release of the canal lots in summer. The company expects to sell all lots in stage one by the 2004 fiscal.
Despite this move to develop more environmentally-sensitive estate projects Cedar Woods marketing manager Michael Glendinning said canal developments were a scarce resource and, due to environmental reasons, it was doubtful that many more would be approved.
Mirvac Fini has had a presence in the Mandurah region since October 2001. Its residential estates include Meadow Springs, Seascapes and Bridgewater South and Bridgewater North.
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