A well-known Melbourne developer is bringing forward plans for 395 new apartments after seeing more than 400 people queued up for a rental inspection last week.
Gurner boss Tim Gurner is looking to fast track two developments after the unexpectedly busy rental inspection for the Spanish Club Residences in Fitzroy.
The developer’s Saint Moritz project in St Kilda made headlines last year with celebrities including Shane Warne and Sam Newman splashing millions to buy in.
Prospective tenants were forced to queue over a distance of 500m and given just three to five minutes to view the units to accommodate social distancing measures.
Despite this, all of the apartments were leased and 10 of the 25 residences available sparked a bidding battle that added up to 10 per cent to their advertised price, as much as $50 a week in some cases.
“I have never seen a turnaround quite like it — my view now is much more optimistic,” Mr Gurner said.
“I was pretty nervous at the start of COVID-19. I had never seen the rental market as weak as it was those first couple of weeks.
“Now, Melbourne looks strong — the white collar markets are OK.”
After initially postponing plans for future projects to next year he is now working to put a 350 apartment project in North Fitzroy to the market by August.
A 45 unit development in Smith St, Collingwood, is also expected to be underway this year.
The Spanish Club Residences were leased by Mr Gurner’s new property management firm LIFE Real Estate Group.
Real Estate Institute of Victoria president Leah Calnan said while it was unusual in the current market, it was not uncommon for tenants to face competition in popular suburbs.
“In the market we are in at the moment we are finding tenants will make an offer on a property, but that might be above or below the asking rent,” Ms Calnan said.
“And we will probably see a greater trend of offers being made below the asking rent in the CBD area in the next few months.”
Hot spots such as Fitzroy and Collingwood were likely to remain in demand, and unique properties were the ones most likely to attract those willing to make a higher offer.
If tenants wanted to get ahead without spending extra money, she advised adding a cover letter that explained who you were, why the home was perfect for you and where you were coming from as well as why you were moving.
“And maybe call the property manager a day after the inspection,” Ms Calnan said.
“Sometimes a lot of people turn up and it intimidates all the tenants, so no one applies.”