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Mega apartment trend emerges in unlikely suburbs as downsizers push for more space

Mega apartments are trending on the Sunshine Coast with hungry off-the-plan buyers purchasing multiple apartments to live in as one huge residence.

Apartment amalgamation is more commonly seen in developments on the Gold Coast as well as Sydney and Melbourne, but developments on the Sunshine Coast are now catering for an increasing number of wealthy buyers.

At the new Cotton Tree development Nature, one buyer has bought two three-bedroom apartments to create an expansive six-bedroom, 538-square-metre apartment. With each three-bedroom apartment priced at $3.5 million, the luxury pad does not come cheap.

Another buyer is contracted to follow suit with a merged six-bedroom floor plan and there are further requests to amalgamate other apartments in the building, said Scott Juniper, director at developer Cube.

“Nature is appealing to a prestige market and, since development approval, in August we’ve seen these types of requests come through from local, interstate, as well as an international buyer,” he said.

“Buyers are seeking to achieve the best of both worlds – the open-air and relaxed lifestyle that the Sunshine Coast offers, coupled with a high-end home that is on par with their Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne residence.”

Developers believe COVID has ignited a hankering for apartments with house-like proportions, particularly in downsizers.

The pandemic’s ripple effects have also prompted a surge in the number of local buyers, said Michael Schenk, sales director at Brisbane and Sunshine Coast development firm Habitat.

The Avalon development at Maroochydore showed the lengths some downsizers were willing to go to in order to get their dream home. Photo: Supplied

“Historically, we’ve always gone down to Sydney and Melbourne to seek out buyers, but to be honest with you we’ve actually seen the local demand increase more than our interstate demand,” he said.

“Our ratio has typically been 70 per cent interstate, 30 per cent locals. Now that has flipped on its head to be 70 per cent locals and 30 per cent interstate.

“I think that’s a byproduct of a lot of confidence in the local market and there’s a lot of equity floating around because people have got a lot of money cashed into their houses,” Mr Schenk said.

“But in addition to that, I think there’s also a bit of fear of missing out. People are hearing about Sydneysiders and Melbourne-based people coming up and buying everything out.”

Evidence of the trend for larger-than-average apartments on the Sunshine Coast can be traced back to a Maroochydore apartment building that finished construction six months ago.

Avalon, Maroochydore. Photo: Supplied

Avalon, a pair of seven-storey buildings, was originally designed to include 26 apartments, but developer Mosaic Property Group wound it back to 15 based on buyers’ appetites for more spacious residences.

“I think people underestimate the Sunshine Coast. There’s actually a lot of wealth and money there,” said Brook Monahan, Mosaic’s managing director.

“So, people who already live in fairly substantial homes, particularly connected to water, are at that stage where they are genuinely looking to downsize and they don’t want to give up what they’ve already got, which is lots of space, storage and an amazing connection to water.

“They’re not looking to transition from a three-storey house on a 1000-square-metre block to a 200 square metre apartment. They’re looking for a full-floor apartment.”

Demand for mega-apartments saw Mosaic develop another residential tower near Avalon on the Maroochydore River. Titled Lorient, it housed 15 apartments reaching whopping sizes of more than 600 square metres with price tags up to $7.5 million.

Apartment amalgamations were also popular at the now sold-out Oceanus development In Bokerina Beach by the Sunshine Coast-based Walter Iezzi Property Group. Agent Sam Dowding said Iezzi regularly accommodated requests from buyers to combine apartments at his developments.

“If they just want that extra space and if they can afford it, Walter will accommodate it,” she said.

“So, they might buy two apartments at cost price and obviously we’ll fit it out as one apartment and custom design the interiors.

“It does cost time and money, but Walter’s very mindful that these are people’s forever homes. He’s very passionate about what he does, and wants people to be happy.”

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