The Real Estate Conversation

An apartment advocate in Melbourne

Glen Lucas is the Managing Director of Lucas Real Estate in the Docklands, a firm he started in 2004. As a Docklands resident and a specialist agent for the suburb, Lucas is a strong advocate for multi-residential living.

I think having some guidelines are a good thing as long as they’re not too heavy handed," says Glen Lucas, Managing Director of Lucas Real Estate in Melbourne's Docklands, on the idea of introducing apartment guidelines into Victoria. "I think the guidelines are really important."

Lucas says that 70 percent of his team's sales over the last 12 months have been to owner-occupiers, and apartments should be designed for this market. He says that during the past few years, a lot of apartment developers have taken the easy road and sold their projects at overseas conferences. "It used to be that maybe 50 percent of a project could be sold overseas but I think those lines have been fudged a little bit," he says. "Certainly the apartments in the buildings, not all of the buildings down here but maybe 10 percent of the buildings in Docklands are a little tight and certainly could have been better, but they were dealing with an investor market. I think really, buildings here should also be made available for the owner-occupier market or the local market."

Lucas says those developers that are selling most of their product overseas are thinking short-term sales. "Once they’ve sold the building and built it and constructed it, they’re out of there, they don’t need to worry about that building any more, but it’s the resale market, the future market that is really going to have a say about that developer in the future. I think it’s been a little bit short sighted by the developers in not providing a greater mix of owner-occupier stock in their buildings, and they should do that because it is really a great way of being able to ensure the mixture of apartment living is sustained."

He believes that people in Melbourne would buy micro-apartments such as 35 square metre apartments that are like hotel rooms. “If I went back 15 years, people would have never thought about living in apartments at all. If we went back 20 years, it was ‘Apartments? Don’t be ridiculous.’ So people’s thoughts about apartment living has changed.

"There’s certainly a growing appetite for a lifestyle that apartments suit. There’s a lot of people who may not get married, they may not have children, they’re career-people and apartments really do suit them. I think there will be an appetite for those type of apartment buildings. 35 or 45 square metres is plenty for them, they’re out al the time. People’s lifestyles have been evolving and people’s appetite for high-rise living is certainly something we’re seeing a greater acceptance for. I love living in a high-rise apartment."

From a rental proposition, the Docklands market is really very strong. "Our leasing at the moment is under two percent vacancy and we manage the biggest portfolio in the Docklands. We would love to get a real lot of stock."

Published in the Real Estate Conversation