(Article text from The Age, By Tim Boreham - 4 August 2018)
Call them ‘man caves’, ‘she-sheds’ or even ‘dens of equality’, compact warehouse and office spaces are in hot demand in Sydney and Melbourne for both domestic and small business purposes.
Property experts attribute the popularity of the industrial bolt-holes to both the resilience of the small business sector and shrinking houses at a time when householders have more accoutrements than ever.
An evolutionary step beyond a storage cage, the buildings typically including comfy facilities such as kitchenettes, showers, air conditioning and gated access.
For investors, the category is more affordable than housing and thus has become popular with self managed super funds and parents buying an asset for their children in lieu of a house deposit.
In Melbourne, small unit warehouse specialist builder and developer Sector Property is poised to open its third facility at Point Cook in the city’s west, having already established two complexes at Yarraville and Brooklyn.
The Base in Point Cook consists of warehouse/office lots between 130-243 square metres, with a starting price of $250,000 plus GST.
Sector Property director David Loakes said the facilities, close to the freeway network, were popular with self-employed tradies seeking their own space.
The buyers, he said, were split 60:40 between owner occupiers and investors attracted by the 6 per cent yield and a 12 month rent guarantee.
The occupants typically live within a 10km radius and want to save time in traffic to achieve a better work-life balance.
TB Property Group’s Tony Blazevic said the economy had undergone a structural shift since the global financial crisis, with a movement from light to heavy industry and increased demand from small businesses. These include sectors such as trade and construction, importing, ecommerce, lifestyle, food and general warehouse and storage.
“There has also been a noticeable improvement in the build quality and design offering of this type of warehouse product, which typically ranges from 80 sqm to 250 sqm in size.”
In Sydney, small warehouse developments have continued to be popular in locations such as Smithfield and Marrickville in the west, and Belrose and Brookvale in the north.
Joe Trimbole of Savills Australia reports a “fair few” new developments and good stock availability. The agent has just completed selling allotments at McCredie Industrial Park, a 38-unit facility.
The warehouses, ranging between 112-560 sqm, fetched an average $3100 per sqm.
Selling points are five minutes from the M4 freeway and with easy access to the Cumberland Highway.
In Belrose, Bridge Real Estate is advertising storage units between 19-56 sqm for $115,000 to $130,000.
“Perhaps you need somewhere for your boats/cars, archives, business equipment, wine or furniture,” the ad reads. “Or maybe you just need your garage back, or perhaps a man cave, she shed or den of equality.”
Mr Loakes said many buyers were seeking an alternative to strict body corporate structures and high management fees.
The only drawback is that occupants can’t get too comfortable because sleepovers are off limits.
According to CBRE strata specialist Steph Di Val, land scarcity in South Sydney and in the north has pushed prices to over $7000 sq m and $6000 sq m respectively.
Further out from the Sydney CBD and Port Botany precincts, prices vary from circa $3400 per sqm in Rouse Hill to $4500 sq m in Liverpool, $3750 sq m in the north west and up to $5000 per sqm in the central west.
“It appears that enquiries are not necessarily location bound and (buyers) are willing to entertain multiple locations as they weigh up the cost versus time savings,” Ms Di Val said.
New Warehouse Units and Warehouse stores in Point Cook now selling www.thebasepointcook.com.au
New Urban Workspaces in Brooklyn now selling www.workspacebrooklyn.com.au
New Urban Workspaces in Yarraville now for lease at www.thebaseyarraville.com.au