ALMOST 90 homes in a northwestern Sydney suburb are set to be sold together as a “mega lot” in the biggest group sales ever recorded in the area.
The Hills Shire Times reports the residents of Castle Hill have pulled together on a deal — worth up to $360 million — in a bid to have density changed on their land to allow high-rise development.
The properties are located in the Showground Priority Precinct but are all zoned for townhouse dwellings, under plans proposed by the NSW Government.
The nine-hectare site, which is being sold by LJ Hooker Baulkham Hills, includes the western end of Fishburn Cres and parts of Cadman Cres, Chapman Ave and Dawes Ave — combining them in one master planned community to be called Orange Blossom Heights.
“The economics of townhouses just will not work,’’ said local resident John Allen, who is one of the group co-ordinators.
“When you work out all the costs of buying a new home and what we are being offered by developers (due to the lower zoning), there is just not adequate incentive to get everyone to move. In fact we would lose money.
“The real value is if we can do it together we have an opportunity to create almost a green field site.’’
By combining their land together, the group is confident they will be able to work with the government to change current zoning restrictions because of their size.
The mega site, which could include 1.5ha for parkland or a school, is being offered to local and international developers through expressions of interest and has taken 12 months to arrange.
It has the potential to have a mix of dwellings include mid-rise apartments, plus terraces.
Listing agent Leanne Nehme believes there is an opportunity to create something special for the future of Castle Hill.
“We would like to see it looking like Rhodes, Olympic Park or even Breakfast Point,’’ she said.
“We are profiling the developers we would like and inviting them to see what they would they would like to create on the site.’’
Properties in the Showground Rd precinct, which are zoned for high-rise units, are currently commanding a premium price of between $3.5m and $4m, with many homes already under option.
CLEARANCE RATE: Sydney boom keeps rolling on
Those zoned R3 — some located just across the road from future high-rise apartments — are selling for around the same as those zoned R2, at $1.5m-$1.6m.
Mr Allen argues that townhouse sites are worth less because of their proximity to units and the restrictions on the number of dwellings developers can build on the land.
Almost 90 homeowners have signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) and privacy agreement as part of the group allowing the site to be sold.
“We all have to stick together, every square metre is the same and every homeowner is the same,’’ Mr Allen said.
Dr Lisa Stokan joined the group sale after an early planning proposal had a road running through her Castle Hill home. She felt there was little option for her family until approached by her neighbours.
“They (the government) did us almost a favour by zoning us R3 because it has forced us to come up with this,’’ Dr Stoken said.
“We bought here because it was close to shopping and child-friendly.
“We know that within five years it will be construction site with dirt and dust — but my kids are asthmatic and I don’t want them living in that.’’
Mr Allen said the group had been encouraged by the support and conversation with both the state and local government.
“We have continually briefed them on what we are trying to do and they have been nothing but supportive of our efforts to see a master planned result,’’ he said.
KINGS OF THE CASTLE RAISING THE ROOF
GROUP property sales expert Steve Cox says the proposed 90-home deal in Castle Hill would easily beat the record for Sydney real estate sales.
Mr Cox, the residential director at leading real estate agent Savills, has pushed through several group sales in recent years.
“I can’t think of anything that’s come close,” he told The Daily Telegraph yesterday.
Mr Cox said the nearest in scale was a Frenchs Forest site listed earlier this year, comprising 62 homes.
The neighbours combined their rezoned homes near the new Northern Beaches Hospital to create a 4.3ha site, which they hope to sell for about $200 million.
More than 30 other sites are on the market across Sydney consisting of three or more houses being sold together.
“Homeowners are trying to capitalise on the potential upside to their properties from rezoning,” he said.
Recent collective sales included 17 homes on Kenneth and Burchmore Rds in Manly Vale listed together in May.
Combined, the houses could sell for between $30 million and $55 million, although no price guide for the deal has been released.
Another group of neighbours in Castle Hill joined forces the same month to sell their 25 properties as a single development site estimated to be worth about $100 million.
Mr Cox warned that bigger sites were not always more attractive to developers.
“People are hearing about these sales and the profits you can make, but it’s not always that simple,” he said.
“Once there are more than about 10 homes, financing and planning becomes a lot more complicated for developers. Those sites are harder to sell.
RATE CUT TIPPED AS HOUSING PLATEAUS
SYDNEY property prices are continuing to plateau, giving the Reserve Bank of Australia more reason to cut the official interest rate to a historic low of just 1.5 per cent today.
The latest CoreLogic Home Value Index shows an average property price rise of 0.8 per cent in July, after 0.5 per cent in June, 1.76 per cent in May and 1.7 per cent in April.
CoreLogic senior research analyst Cameron Kusher said there was a sharp slowing of price growth over the past couple of months, although sales activity was still relatively strong in Sydney.
He said he was expecting the RBA to cut rates at its meeting this morning.
“I think interest rates will probably be cut, largely because inflation is very low,” he said. “But the RBA will keep a close eye on the housing impact of any rate cut.”
He said given a big pullback by investors and the fact that first-home buyers were sluggish, it was upgraders that would drive the market — something he believed would eventually see prices in Sydney hit the brakes.
“That’s the thing that will eventually slow Sydney. It’s not financially viable to upgrade every three or four years,” Mr Kusher said.
“They will probably reach a point where not many upgraders will be active. It will happen within this decade, but as to when — it’s anyone’s guess.”
CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless said the recent moderation in the rate of capital gains should be seen as a positive sign that dwelling values “may be returning to more sustainable levels”.
“However, the growth trend rate is still tracking considerably faster than income growth resulting in a deterioration of housing affordability,” he said
— 25 homes on two sites (19 on one site and 6 on another), Showground Rd, Carrington Ave and Sexton Ave, Castle Hill
— 16 homes on Middleton Ave and Hughes Ave, Castle Hill
— 13 homes on Fishburn Ave Castle Hill
— 10 homes on Old Northern Rd and Winchcombe Pl, Castle Hill
— Eight homes at 121 Cecil Ave, Castle Hill
— Seven homes on Partridge Ave and Ashford Ave, Castle Hill
— Seven homes at 22-34 Ashford Ave, Castle Hill
Originally published as $360 million: 90 homes to sell in ‘mega lot’ sale