Sydney Insider

Market Insights
9 years ago
2 minutes

Off-market deals are masking the true state of Sydney’s bullish property market.

When it comes to buying and selling Sydney development sites there is much that is hidden from public view.

Many important deals occur ‘off market’, without advertising, marketing or fanfare. The transactions are generated away from prying eyes through a network of well-healed contacts and a portfolio of cashed-up developers, both locally and internationally.

Being able to keep a buttoned lip is a prerequisite for realtors in today’s cut-throat market, says boutique agency Regency Real Estate, which has negotiated around $100-Million worth of discrete transactions so far this year.

Currently it is representing 40 sites, with DAs approved or pending, capable of reaping anything from 10 to 300 residential apartments. The locations include Meadowbank, Mortlake, Ashfield, Belmore, Burwood, Campsie, Epping, Gladesville, Dee Why, Milsons Point, Strathfield, Homebush, Gordon and Redfern. 

Despite the sites being extremely newsworthy, all of the vendors want to maintain their privacy.

“When you know what you are doing and have access to the right businesspeople then there is not always a need to put a property officially on the market,” said Regency Real Estate principal Harj Uppal. 

“Many of our clients like to keep their financial dealings to themselves, and are mindful of potential negative impacts which can flow from having a high media profile, particularly on their families.”

Mr Uppal formed Regency Real Estate three years ago, and in that short time has generated more than $350-million worth of property transactions.

“We maintain cordial relationships with many influential people throughout the world, and a fair proportion of our deals have been with cashed-up developers from Russia, China and India,” Mr Uppal said.

“Whilst we use a sophisticated database to match potential buyers with available sites, by far the most active purchasers of small to medium-size sites in Sydney are Lebanese developers with whom I have close connections.

“Developers still have to pay their staff regardless of whether they have work or not, so they need to have a bank of projects in the pipeline. The influx of overseas developers have pushed up the prices of sites, meaning locals either have to stretch beyond their normal financial comfort zone or take a chance on developing in areas they had never previously considered.”

Mr Uppal says the true level of development activity in Sydney is grossly underestimated because of off-market transactions.

“If you thought 2014 was busy for the construction industry wait until next year; Sydney will become ‘crane city’.”