Warnings over apartment market as Australia reopens

Australia will struggle to meet demand for city apartments, a leading industry figure has warned

Australia will struggle to meet the demand for city apartments when Australia’s international borders reopen next month, a leading industry figure has warned.

As his company Crown Group celebrates 25 years, Chairman and Group CEO Iwan Sunito says Australia is not prepared for the long awaited return of Australia expats and students.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday, Australia was only weeks away from welcoming overseas workers and students back as the country opens up for widespread international travel for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic hit at the start of 2020.

However Mr Sunito believes the pandemic has created a large shortage of apartment supply in the our metro CBDs.

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The final apartments are now selling in Arc by Crown Group, Sydney CBD.

“We’re looking to rapidly acquire larger sites to accommodate our evolving business model which incorporates build to rent, hotels, residential apartments, commercial and retail,” he added.

“The pandemic has also uncovered new trends in the way people want to live and work – spacious living and working areas in the home with an abundance of natural light, close connection to greenery, access to private and communal outside space and resort style amenity.

“This has always been the mainstay of our design.”

Mr Sunito’s comments are in line with fellow developer, billionaire Meriton owner Harry Triguboff who told The Australia that city office towers left vacant by the pandemic should be converted into apartment blocks.

“The value of our city has dropped. We have unusable real estate in the best position. Something has to be done quickly,” Mr Triguboff said.

Crown Group is moving to expand its impressive portfolio into large scale mixed use precincts incorporating hotels, retail, industrial and build to rent as it celebrates 25 years.

Founded by architect Sunito and engineer Paul Sathio in 1994, Crown Group has grown from a humble small scale developer of single building apartment projects into a major player with a development pipeline of around $5 billion, developing around 8000 apartments.

Crown Group Chairman and Group CEO Iwan Sunito

Crown Group Chairman and Group CEO Iwan Sunito. Picture: Tim Hunter.

After morphing from small scale build to developing mixed-use projects including retail, hotel and residential apartments, Mr Sunito said Crown Group “are now embarking on our third evolution, the development of larger precincts with more facilities, specialised services, a vast array of amenity and the incorporation of build to rent”.

“Our focus has always been acquiring sites in prime locations with the opportunity for the greatest value uplift and never compromising on quality and design, even in the toughest times,” Mr Sunito said.

“This has earned us the trust and loyalty of our community of buyers, hotel guests, retail and industrial tenants and dare I say, the respect of our peers.”

“I truly believe that was made possible by the professional and committed staff, divisional leaders and consultants we’ve assembled over the years. One thing we have in common is we don’t like to settle for anything less than extraordinary and we are very pleased that our collective creativity, market knowledge, strategic foresight and pioneering methods have proven the test of time.”

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