Boomers now have competition for grandiose penthouses

LONDON: Baby boomers are now facing stiff competition for downtown grandiose penthouses from emerging claimants.

Generation Y is competing with baby boomers for Brisbane penthouses and sub-penthouses as it forgoes the back yard for urban life.

Traditionally marketed at downsizers looking to shake off the hassle of a home in the suburbs for a cosmopolitan retirement, penthouses now are proving popular with young professionals with children.

Place managing director Sarah Hackett says competition is rising between the generational groups, creating a mixed bag of buyers at open houses.

She has five clients specifically looking to make a move to an upper-level apartment.

“People are wanting to get up to the top floor,” she says. “I’ve got a group of people not interested in anything smaller (than a penthouse).”

Hackett says buyers are willing to pay for quality and size, which is creating more demand for full-floor and amalgamated apartments.

Cohen Handler buyer’s agent Jordan Navybox says the Gen Y cohort is made up largely of professionals in the finance, legal and property professions who are not ready for a move to the suburbs.

“They don’t need that big family home in the suburbs yet but they do want high quality,” says Navybox, the agency’s Queensland managing director.

One Brisbane penthouse attracting attention is the European-inspired, two-level property atop Castlebar Cove’s True North East tower at inner-city Kangaroo Point. Fully refurbished with a classic design and high-end finishes, the property is in a prime location close to Brisbane’s lively entertainment precincts, the central business district and schools — all big drawcards.

Ray White Bulimba agent James McKinlay says the pandemic is causing many business owners to relocate to the Queensland capital from the Gold Coast, with this group looking to trade the beach for aerial views.

Penthouses and sub-penthouses under the $3m price range in trendy inner-city suburbs such as Newstead, Teneriffe and Paddington are the most popular stock.

“We are seeing more people coming through aged 27 or 28 with newborns and successful businesses,” McKinlay says.

“Instead of going out to the suburbs like Camp Hill (in the city’s suburban southeast), they are looking for space in the city.

“Baby boomers are holding tight in the city’s west, like Brookfield, to see what happens over the coming months. They don’t need to be in the city at the moment.”

McKinlay says Cavcorp’s Lucent and Le Bain projects, which neighbour Newstead’s Gasworks precinct, are proving popular with this brand of young professionals.

Cheaper apartments are not being accepted, Navybox claims.

The relative affordability and perceived health benefits of Brisbane in light of the COVID-19 pandemic is causing demand to rise.

The buyer’s agent recently has signed four new clients from Melbourne looking to make the move north.

Hackett says inquiries about high-end Brisbane apartment stock are mounting.

She recently sold a property to a Melbourne family who, unable to stand stage-four lockdowns any longer, decided to quarantine in a hotel in Brisbane for two weeks to make the transition sooner.

“There is a lot of inquiry from Melbourne from people wanting to come back,” Hackett says.

“For someone from Melbourne who is used to the coffee culture, a Brisbane city apartment is ideal for them.”

The renovated penthouse at 108/540 Queen Street within the CBD sold last week to downsizers for upwards of $2.5m.

A light-filled top-floor property overlooking the Brisbane River at 3842/30 Hollins Crescent, New Farm, is on the market with a price guide of about $4m.

And, at Southbank, a three-bedroom penthouse within the Emporium Residences is on offer.