Prominent Melbourne-based developer Jeff Xu has capitalised on a post-Covid-19 boom in the city’s greenfield market, selling out the first stage of a $120-million house and land development.
Xu’s Golden Age Group, known for its apartment developments, notched up 46 lot sales for its house and land development, known as Willow Springs, in Rockbank, within two days.
The developer purchased the 21ha site, at 520 Greigs Road, in 2017 for $30 million in an off-market deal brokered by Colliers.
Golden Age has been steadily ramping up its exposure to housing in Melbourne’s suburbs, paying $23 million for a 1.65ha residential site close to Chadstone Shopping Centre and a development site in Box Hill for a planned townhouse development last year.
Xu said the decision to launch its Willow Springs project had come at a pivotal time for the property market.
“When we originally purchased the site we knew this region would experience skyrocketing demand, particularly once key infrastructure was delivered, such as schools and supermarkets,” Xu said.
“[There is currently] high demand from Melbourne buyers looking to leave the city and build their dream home as well as investors looking to secure land in an area experiencing rapid growth.
“We held onto the site until we felt the timing was right and Saturday’s sell out result is confirmation of this.”
The developer is planning to release another 300 land lots in coming months, with blocks ranging from 185sq m to 650sq m.
Golden Age Group is also planning to deliver a public park as part of the masterplanned project.
Rockbank and Mount Cottrell, new growth suburbs west of Caroline Springs, are home to housing estates including Mirvac’s Woodlea Estate, one of the fastest growing in the country, and Thornhill Park, a 3000-lot project being developed by Wel.Co.
The emerging suburb is 30km west of Melbourne’s CBD and will soon have a major town centre and public plaza next to the existing train station and car park, which are to be upgraded. The area is three minutes from Willow Springs.
The increasing population has attracted substantial commitments to public infrastructure with the $4.3-billion Regional Rail Link and the $2.25-billion Western Ring Road upgrade.
Greenfield markets have been sent into overdrive in the past 12 months due to record low interest rates, confidence returning among owner-occupier buyers, and financial savings provided by the federal government’s HomeBuilder stimulus scheme.
New home sales were up 14.8 per cent in June, the second month of gain after HomeBuilder ended.
Developers have been quick to move on major land parcels in emerging growth corridors being serviced by planned infrastructure.
Earlier this month, a 76ha dairy farm in Melbourne’s northern growth corridor was acquired by Japanese telco giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp for around $100 million.
Nippon, with development partner Yourland, will have the capabilities of delivering 1500 homes across 1250 lots.
That deal pushed the value of major land sales in Melbourne’s outer suburbs to $1 billion this year alone after the likes of Stockland, Central Equity, Satterley Property Group and Brown Property Group all made hefty acquisitions of greenfield sites in the city’s north, south-east and west growth corridors.