Quality new boutique apartment complexes are topping development wish lists as 2023 draws to a close. For the more opulent of off-the-plan offerings, prices have doubled over two years in locations like the Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise, while in Sydney, skylines citywide are being transformed by some of the most spectacular high-rise developments in the country.

Demand is being driven by the growing number of cashed up downsizers willing to pay top dollar to live low-maintenance lifestyles in optimal comfort, not to mention state government housing targets. “To fix the housing crisis, we must build up, not just out,” NSW Premier Chris Minns said. “And that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Projects galore

In Sydney, $11 billion worth of high-rise developments are either currently slated or underway. Projects are spread right across the city with the five tallest being above 50 storeys and located in Macquarie Park, the CBD, and Parramatta according to construction data analysts Cordell. Eight more are above 40 storeys and 15 soaring over 30 storeys. Some projects are so luxurious as to be transformational for the suburbs in which they will appear, such as Parramatta’s ‘8 Phillip St by Coronation’. The 55-storey tower with 314 apartments, 252-hotel suites as well as commercial, lifestyle and hospitality outlets is set to become a significant hub within the Parramatta CBD, especially as the hotel component of the Woods Bagot-designed skyscraper will be operated by the prestigious QT chain. In Harris Park, also in Sydney’s west, significant developments will similarly change the skyline by the end of 2025: Paramount on Parkes – a 46-level complex with pool and landscaped gardens, and a 39-storey modern tower at 14-20 Park Street.

Groundbreaking towers

 In Sydney’s CBD, developer Deicorp recently gained approval for the $700 million Hyde Metropolitan – a 168-apartment, 55-level tower slated for 133 Liverpool Street – and there is much expectation around the upcoming BVN-designed 5—storey City Tattersalls Club hotel and high-end residential apartment redevelopment taking place in Pitt Street.

One of the first of the city’s most groundbreaking towers to open will be Aura by Aqualand, on track to welcome its first residents and customers in six months’ time. Among its commercial property offerings Aura will feature a stylish retail and dining precinct with sweeping city and harbour views. CBRE is also marketing One Circular Quay, the 58-level skyscraper in which two-thirds of apartments have already sold including sub-penthouses priced at $60 million and $70 million. So impressive is the design and features of One Circular Quay that CBRE chairman Justin Brown describes it as the most significant development since Bennelong – known colloquially as “The Toaster” – was constructed near Sydney Opera House in the ‘90s.

Prices doubling

High-rise development is also proving buoyant – for the right projects - in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. Since Sydney developer Allen Sammut launched his 37-level Garfield Terrace project on the Gold Coast two and a half years ago demand for its off-the-plan apartments had led to prices doubling. Buyers were predominantly from Sydney and Melbourne and currently paying an average of $6 million per apartment. Garfield Terrace was one of the successes in the region, with another developer cancelling Gold Coast projects last year due to spiralling costs. However confidence was being shown particularly “for projects under construction and where completion is a certainty” Mr Sammut said, adding that the positivity in his project’s off-the-plan prices had helped but not discounted the effect of recent rises in construction costs.

Brisbane’s critical housing supply shortage was labelled a key factor behind the recent listing of a 3069 square metre development site in the city’s inner-city suburb of Kangaroo Point. Colliers’ Queensland Director Residential Development Sites Brendan Hogan said it was “extremely rare” for a development site of such scale and in such a central, desirable location to appear on the market. Not only was the inner-city property close to the Brisbane River, the Howard Smith Wharves dining precinct and the city centre, it was also near riverside walking and cycling routes and ferry terminals connecting to the CBD and other suburbs. The development itself will feature 130 luxury apartments with city and bay island views, an infinity swimming pool on the level 15 rooftop and commercial precinct, and is due for completion next year.

Prices were expected to be robust too, Colliers Queensland Director Residential Development Sites Troy Linnane adding that there was huge demand across the Queensland capital city for both existing and off-the-plan apartments, demand which had pushed weighted average sale prices for Brisbane off-the-plan apartment stock to just over $1.3 million.