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    Investors flock to the west



    TOOPG-99175.JPG BOOM TIMES: Real estate agents, including Toop and Toop's Anthony Toop, say demand for properties in the west is at fever pitch. Picture: Ian Roddie


    THE western suburbs and Port docks are fast becoming the new real estate playground for cashed-up UK migrants and Western Australian investors.

    Real estate agents report a flood of investors from WA are swooping on local homes with six taking out contracts on the Commercial Rd Anchorage development last week.

    Steve von der Borch, of Brock Harcourts, Semaphore, said the latest sales were only a small indication of the interest, which has been driven by WA's overheated market after the mining boom.

    ``They are running out of places to put their money,'' he said. ``They can't get a decent return ... the market has already bolted.

    ``When they arrive (in the Port) they are serious about buying.

    ``There is a sense that there is a future for the Port.''

    Vaughan Martin, from Century 21 Beachside and Lakes, said he was fielding between five and 15 inquiries from WA investors every week ``as close to the beach as they can find''.

    The $1.5billion Port Waterfront redevelopment, $6billion Air Warfare Destroyer Contract, completion of the Port River Expressway, proximity to the beach and SA's impending mining boom have largely contributed to the Port's growing popularity.

    High-end real estate firm Toop & Toop is also convinced the Port is about to boom with the official opening of its new office at Black Diamond Cnr scheduled for next month. Owner Anthony Toop said the market was about the explode, particularly once the Newport Quays apartments start settling.

    ``We've been looking at it (moving to the Port) for ages but the timing hasn't been right ... now it is,'' he said.

    ``Our job is to make sure the Port has its rightful price ... it has been undervalued for years.''

    Toop & Toop Newport Quay's preferred resale agent is also hoping to capitalise on the influx of workers for the $6billion AWD contract by first offering rental properties and then property sales once the workers are settled and considering buying.

    Mr Toop, who has invested $2.5million into the area including the office and apartment in Stage Two of Newport Quays, said Toop's core market would be old style character villas and prestige homes. ``The other thing that really appeals to us is its got character the old warehouses, victorian buildings, the stone and pressed tin homes,'' he said. Toop & Toop Glenelg sales partner Terry Nicolitsis said UK migrants had become much more prominent in the western market in the past year, making up about one in five of his sales during that time.

    ``A lot of them have sold their units for about 600,000 and come over here and can spend about half of that on a decent-sized home,'' he said.

    Mr Nicolitsis also said the Perth property market had become so expensive WA buyers had started to target Adelaide's western suburbs, particularly in the past year.

    This was due to median house prices remaining an affordable $404,000 compared to $470,000 in metropolitan Perth.

    ``Adelaide is still the most affordable state in the country and Perth has boomed so (Western Australians) are looking everywhere here because they realise there is a lot of value in Adelaide still,'' he said.

    Mr Nicolitsis sold about six western suburbs properties to Western Australians in the past year. LJ Hooker Henley Beach principal Don Nikou said English migrants had adopted the western suburbs as their favourite area in Adelaide, targeting beachside suburbs from Semaphore to Glenelg.

    ``A lot of UK people have come over here, have done their time renting, got their bearings and decided the western suburbs especially the coastal suburbs is the place to live,'' he said. Mr Nikou said the increased competition and property values in the western suburbs had forced many first homebuyers, who could not afford the $400,000 plus asking prices, out of market.

    Investigations by the Messenger Newspapers also have revealed:

    -While the numbers of investors are booming, the number of properties has declined, contributing to higher house prices and quicker turnover for sales;

    -Sales from advertising to settlement times have fallen from about 70 days last year to 40-60.

    -Agents are reporting up to six offers on any one property, with agencies in the Port looking to double staff numbers to cope with future demand. REISA president Mark Sanderson said demand was hot across Adelaide: ``Every suburb, everywhere is selling really well and what goes on the market sells well above the asking price.''


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