Home' API Magazine : November 2014 Contents 92 n APIMAGAZINE.COM.AU n NOVEMBER 2014
times down quite considerably to drive to the
hospital and back home.”
There’s one large elephant that stands front
and centre when you start talking about
Brisbane’s riverfront suburbs – January 2011’s
flood and its rising tide sweeping away a
whole heap of confidence in the property
market. Fig Tree Pocket was an unfortunate
victim of the floods. Of course, the whole
suburb wasn’t built on a floodplain – most
of it was well above the high water point.
Unfortunately the southern peninsula,
including Biambi Yumba Park, copped a lot of
water and this is why buying into this section
of Fig Tree Pocket seems so affordable.
Other portions north of the peninsula and
fronting the river were also affected, but not
Since then there’s been a general
improvement in buyer confidence that the
flood was, to some extent, mismanaged and
that lessons learned will help to ensure any
future inundations won’t have such dramatic
impacts. That said, there are plenty of buyers
who won’t consider property that has been
touched by rising waters. If you have a
tolerance for investing in homes with a flood
history, then there may be some interesting
prospects available in Fig Tree Pocket.
Huntley says flood-affected property is still
being discounted, but many of the homes
have now been repaired and upgraded.
“There’s very few that haven’t been
renovated. It’s just a matter of, number one,
if the purchaser is willing to take the risk that
it’s never going to happen again, and number
two, whether the bank will lend on it.”
Brisbane has had experience with floods
back in 1974, but it took a full 10 years before
buyers felt truly comfortable.
“I don’t think that it’s going to take as long
this time,” Huntley says.
Anderssen believes for some purchasers, the
address is more important than the flood risk.
“They have no problem with it. They just
want to be there. They sort of understand that
that’s the culture of Brisbane now, that we’re
a river city and that the river floods. If you
want to enjoy it, then sometimes you’ve got
to be prepared that you might be right in the
middle of it.”
Edwards agrees that buyers are coming back
to flood-affected property. In his opinion,
these holdings do present a prospect to profit.
“From an investor’s perspective, there’s the
opportunity to get reasonable returns over the
years as the memory of the flood dissipates.”
In Fig Tree Pocket the one thing you’ll
struggle to buy is attached housing. If you
must have a townhouse or unit, then the
adjacent suburb of Kenmore is bound to be
your address. With detached housing it’s an
entirely different story, because the options
are enormous, Huntley says.
“I just did a property in Norman Street that’s
a standard little three-bed, two-bath home
that just sold for $560,000. That seems to be
the bottom of the market in Fig Tree Pocket.
I’ve struggled to find sales under $600,000.
“You go from that extreme up to Jesmond
Road where a property recently sold for $1.9
million. The diversity in prices is huge, as is
the quality and the size of the homes.”
The cheap stuff can be found on the western
side of Kenmore Road and in sections
adjacent to the Centenary Motorway. The
next step up is the similarly aged but far
more substantial homes on larger sites dotted
throughout the main sections of
Fig Tree Pocket.
You then move towards contemporary
home designs. Because of the rural nature of
the suburb, many sites have been subdivided
and a number have attracted hefty price tags
for their finished allotments. The calibre
of new architectural homes is generally
well above average, but they come at a cost,
“When you talk about new homes in the
region, the starting price really on a smaller
block generally starts at around a million.
It might be in the $900,000s, but generally
it’s a million or more depending on where
Edwards says those who want to build from
scratch will find newly created home sites
around the $650,000 mark, and you’ll be
amongst other great quality real estate.
The final price point is the mega holdings.
These sites offer rural residential size
allotments with and without river frontages.
Many are earmarked for subdivision, but a
few are landmark holdings fetching some of
A little piece of Fig Tree
After emigrating from the United Kingdom
19 years ago, Stephanie and Martyn
Robotham, both 49, decided the opportunity
to hold some Fig Tree Pocket real estate
was a good idea. The couple moved to this
great southern land to escape the northern
hemisphere and chase work opportunities.
With Martyn’s experience in mining and
Stephanie’s accounting background, the
shift was full of possibilities.
They decided to seek refuge in Brisbane’s
inner-western suburbs. Stephanie says they
initially looked in Indooroopilly.
“We basically couldn’t afford that suburb
so we came a bit further out and we really
liked Chapel Hill.”
When it came time to invest some years
later, they checked out the area and were
happy to find a little something in the
neighbouring suburb of Fig Tree Pocket.
“It’s just a lowset three-bedroom,
one-bathroom on about 750 square metres.
The house is about 40 years old.”
Stephanie says while it was in modest
condition, the bones were good and they
could see the potential.
“We actually both loved the house. It’s very
open-plan. It’s just a nice little house and it
has the most beautiful garden.
“We both walked in and thought we could
easily live in it. A lot of the little houses are
really tiny, but this one is very liveable.”
They bought the home in November 2013
and paid $580,000 for it.
“We made an offer much lower than the
asking price... and eventually we settled
on a price and the sweetener came when
the people who were
selling turned around
and asked if we’d be
prepared to rent it
back to them because
had changed in the
meantime. So our
tenants are actually
the previous owners of
they’re achieving just
below five per cent
gross rental return on
“You could actually build a second storey
and invest upwards. If you did you’d get
fantastic views. You could easily extend out
“We’re just going to hold it for the
moment. We’ll just play it by ear.”
She says the suburb is convenient and the
property’s position just off the Centenary
Highway means easy access to most
destinations, and they’ve purchased to take
advantage of the available family facilities.
“You can also walk to the local primary
school and it’s within walking distance of
all the playing fields so for a young family,
it’s in an ideal position and it’s out of the
Stephanie believes they timed their
purchase just about right, and with the
suburb’s convenient facilities and solid
reputation amongst families, they’re sure to
be on a long-term winner.
Fig Tree Pocket
Buy and hold
THE STATES n Queensland
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