THE Australian government’s Northern Growth Corridor programme, launched in 2012, has been a catalyst for developments in the country’s suburban areas. And Resimax Group was among the first developers to take advantage of the programme, launching projects in Melbourne’s economic development zone in Mernda and Epping last year.
Australia-based Resimax’s upcoming project — Morang Views — to be developed jointly with Universal Corp, is located in South Morang, 23km southeast of Melbourne’s central business district.
“It (South Morang) is one of the fastest-growing suburbs in Australia. This is due to the government investing a lot in infrastructure … also the relocation of the Melbourne wholesale fruit and vegetable market from West Melbourne to Epping,” Resimax Group Malaysia managing director Ng Su Ying (pictured, below) tells City & Country.
She says this will provide employment opportunities for some 6,000 people. “When there are plenty of employment opportunities, a big shift to that area will occur,” she adds. “And where there are workers, there will be demand for amenities.”
Resimax believes that the location is strategic enough to develop Morang Views on a five-acre parcel. Under Phase One of the development, the company is offering 37 units of 1 and 2-bedroom apartments with built-ups of up to 1,100 sq ft. They are priced at between A$330,000 and A$540,000, with an owners’ corporation fee of about A$1,200 per annum.
It is now offering 20 units to Malaysian investors.
South Morang is surrounded by heritage sites and parks such as Plenty Gorge Park, Le Page Homestead and Farm Vigano. The amenities available here include the Westfield shopping centre — the area’s largest retail complex — and the metropolitan rail network (currently undergoing rejuvenation) as well as universities such as the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and La Trobe University.
Ng emphasises that the group is taking great pains to ensure the project does not damage the environment. “We intend to minimise the carbon footprint and environmental impact,” she says. “We will have as much natural lighting as possible, ample ventilation, footpaths and cycling paths. We will also use materials such as recycled steel and responsibly sourced timber, and the units will be fitted with solar hot water systems and smart meters that monitor energy and water usage.”
Apart from the apartments, the development will have 26 townhouses, which have been fully taken up by Australians.
Currently, the take-up of Phase One of the project by Australians is 50%.
The estimated gross development value of Phase One is A$90 million.
Opportune investment away from the city
“The two golden rules property investors here should know are to buy what the locals buy and where the locals buy [them],” says Ng.
Under the Foreign Investment Review Board’s regulations, foreigners can only purchase brand new, firsthand properties.
Ng says while most potential investors know this rule, the far-reaching repercussions remain somewhat vague to them. “It impacts your exit strategy as an investor. That is why I always advise my clients to ensure that the properties they intend to buy can be sold at any time … therefore, I encourage them to buy properties in places where demand by locals is strong.”
She says suburban developments are seeing strong demand but supply is insufficient.
Global property consultancy Knight Frank, in its October 2015 report entitled “Global cities: The 2016 Report”, reveals that Malaysians were the third largest investors in Australia, having invested US$1.37 billion (RM5.76 billion) between 3Q2013 and 2Q2015.
“There is a strong desire among Malaysian investors to diversify their wealth in overseas markets. There has been a slight shift in outbound capital, with Malaysian investors focusing more on Australia than the UK,” Knight Frank Malaysia’s capital markets executive director James Buckley says in the report.
“Malaysians enjoy investing in Australia because they feel very much at home there,” says Ng. “The weather is suitable, you can get the same kind of food you get back here, the laws are favourable to the tenants and landlords, and even as a foreign investor, you know you are protected. It’s that familiarity that people want to invest in Australia.”
“As far as Resimax is concerned, we will continue to do what we’ve always been doing, that is, to provide high-quality housing to our customers,” says Ng.
Since its inception in 1970, Resimax has been involved in property development, property management and real estate. In addition, the group owns an architectural firm, Hachem, an accounting firm, a law firm and a project management company.
Among the developments the group has successfully delivered are Ecoville in Tameit and Newbridge in New South Wales. Resimax has also made a name for itself in suburban developments.
“The latest addition to the group is Resimax Malaysia,” Ng says, adding that the company began operations a few weeks ago. “We incorporated the company last year and decided to open its doors this year, after finding an office. We couldn’t wait any longer as we have many clients.”
Resimax has a few hundred customers in Malaysia, Singapore and other parts of Asia, she says.
The group is looking to have developments in Seaford, Sunbury and Chelsea, all in Victoria.
“We don’t have any dates at the moment. We’ll just launch a project every three to four months,” Ng concludes.