I spend a lot of time writing about the many things that can, and do, go wrong for body corporates and their subsequent ramifications. In fact that pretty much sums up my job as a records searcher; look for the problems, report.
In all this negativity it’s easy to forget that there are some valid reasons why developers keep building units and registering body corporates and why they keep selling out.
An apartment or unit is cheaper than a comparable house. Price is set by calculating the cost of land plus building plus profit margin and then divide by number of lots. In a body corporate less land is used, so less initial outlay. Building costs are higher, however, the number of lots against which the costs are offset are almost always higher, bringing the total cost down and therefore making comparable selling prices lower.
In most cases an apartment or unit will represent better value than a comparable house.
Lots in body corporates range in price from $120,000 to many, many millions. I know that rather makes a mockery of my price argument, but consider, how much would it actually cost to have an absolute beachfront house in Surfers Paradise? Or how about a house in the centre of Brisbane? Assuming it was actually available how many people could realistically afford to own that? Not very many. On the other hand $750,000, or even higher, for an apartment is actually achievable for quite a lot of people. And if that apartment is right on the beach or has the most amazing never-to-be-built-out views, well, that makes those properties very attractive.
Creating body corporates in incredible locations opens up the opportunity for a lot more people to enjoy those locations.
Supply is determined by a mix of council density zoning and developer expectations of profit. Councils want higher density in some areas which works really well for developers since it’s a lot easier to sell 10 mid-priced properties than it is one or two high priced ones. Consequently developers build more mid-priced properties in incredible locations offering greater supply of apartments over houses in those locations.
Simply put, in some places, usually the most attractive places, an apartment or unit is what you’re going to get.
I have fond memories of my beachside apartment with beautifully manicured lawns, luxurious gardens and sparkling blue pool. Now days my lawn is nearly a foot high, my garden overgrown and my pool doesn’t so much seem to sparkle as lurk. That’s because now I live in a house and I’m responsible for my own maintenance which is not nearly as much fun as taking a swim whenever you feel like it without ever once considering who cleans the pool or dries the floor once I’ve dripped my way to the elevator.
Body corporates bring that resort lifestyle to thousands of people at an affordable price. And you know, it’s a nice lifestyle. Combine it with a great location …
Body corporates are at heart communities, groups of people working together for mutual benefit. A functional community offers residents:
- Greater security for themselves and their property, usually built into the infrastructure of the property
- Greater buying power offering the ability to enjoy facilities such as at home gyms and theatres that once would have been reserved for the wealthy
- Greater financial strength collectively and the ability to maintain fiscal health despite the fortunes of individual lot owners
- A greater sense of pride and belonging
In our increasingly fragmented society the biggest benefit of a body corporate is the ability to foster a supportive, safe community. Ironically, their biggest benefit is also their biggest weakness, but that’s me venturing back into the negative again.
Body corporates can and do have lots of different problems but the benefits, both real and aspirational, are very much worth the effort, which is lucky since body corporate living is going to become more and more prevalent.
My name is Lisa Rutland and I’m a body corporate records searcher. I’ve spent much of the last eight years learning about body corporates and what can and does go wrong. Now I’m sharing as much of that information as I can on MyBodyCorpReport.com.au.