Fitzroys Leads Brighton Charge With Nearly $40m In Sales

Posted on 25th November 2022

Fitzroys has sold nearly $40 million worth of commercial property in Brighton in nine months as the blue-ribbon suburb’s enviable catchment, premier roll-call of tenants and consistently low vacancies continue to attract strong demand from local and offshore interests alike.

The agency has been leading the charge when it comes to Brighton property in both sales and leasing, with its sales in the six-month period eclipsing the $32 million Brighton Woolworths sale in 2016.

In the most recent sale, Fitzroys’ Mark Talbot and Tom Fisher sold 51 Church Street for $4.45 million, home to ASX-listed powerhouse Flight Centre with a renewed lease, on a very sharp 3.2% yield. It was just the fourth along the strip - arguably Australia’s best- performing shopping strip - since 2019, with all of the sales having been achieved by Fitzroys. Those included the $16.2 million sale earlier this year by the agency of 71-73 Church Streetand 36 Carpenter Street, home to Nike, Ecco and Laurent, at 3.8%.

Thanks to the high disposable income of the suburb, Church Street is known for being home to some of Australia’s most popular fashion and lifestyle retailers, including Scanlan & Theodore, Mecca, Witchery, and Kookai, and the strip also features major banks, a number of popular local traders and eateries, and is anchored by Woolworths and the iconic Dendy cinema complex.

“We’re continuing to see investors put their faith in bricks and mortar assets at a time of sharemarket and residential market volatility,” Talbot said.

“Brighton is home to one of Melbourne’s most established and affluent catchments, with making it an ideal place to set up business. Investors can invariably rely on a secure income cash flow from their asset in the the suburb,” Talbot said.

“As we’ve seen from depth and strength of enquiry, competitive bidding and tight yields in the most recent campaigns in the suburb, rising interest rates have absolutely not deterred investors.”

The only other sales in recent years on Church Street have been number 13, home to international retailer Oroton, which Fitzroys sold for $6.07 million last year at sharp 2.5% yield, and 35 Church Street, which it sold for $6.105 million at 3.5% three years ago.

“Church Street, Brighton is notoriously tightly held and the fundamentals of the location have not changed. We continue to see hotly contested campaigns between local and offshore interests in the rare instances that properties do come to market,” Talbot said.

According to Fitzroys’ new Walk the Strip report, Church Street again retained the lowest vacancy rate of Melbourne’s iconic shopping strips in 2022, at an ultra-low 0.7%. The affluent and established local catchment means there is a long queue of tenants waiting for the rare opportunities that emerge to take space in the strip. Fitzroys has recently leased 88 Church Street, to minimalist fashion design label Assembly, 111 Church Street, Brighton to boutique caterer Blakes Feast, and most recently 18 Church Street, in the few leases that have taken place on the strip.

The 18 Church Street lease was most extraordinary as three well-known tenants vied for the corner property with the chosen tenant paying a strong rental of $1,333 per sqm, according to Fisher.

“Melbourne’s shopping strips have demonstrated their resilience over the past three years, and none more so than Church Street, Brighton,” Talbot said.

The 51 Church Street sale followed Talbot and Fisher’s $8.38 million auction sale of 28 Carpenter Street, just a short distance from Church Street, which smashed the reserve price by $1.38 million and again reflected a very sharp yield of 3.08%. After 80 enquiries were generated during the campaign, five bidders competed for the immaculately presented 504sqm double-storey building, on a large 589sqm landholding that presented as Bayside’s ultimate landbank opportunity. The buyer is a passive investor who will keep the leases to three long-standing quality tenants in Dorevitch Pathology, Buxton Real Estate and dentist Lifestyle Smiles, who have leases with options through to October 2033, and maintain the strong income stream of more than $257,000 per annum.

“This was an ultra-rare opportunity to acquire a sizeable landholding in the immediate proximity to arguably Australia’s best-performing shopping strip,” Talbot said.

Over on Bay Street, Fitzroys managed the $6.83 million sale of a portfolio of retail properties owned by an Estate associated with the late Tom Chapman, a prominent real estate agent who previously owned Hodges Real Estate for three decades from the time he bought the business in 1956.

““Brighton real estate is amongst the most tightly-held and prestigious in Melbourne. The huge market response and strong results clearly reflected the perennial demand for opportunities in the suburb, with that demand evidently extending beyond the Church Street precinct,” Talbot said.

Fitzroys also sold 174-176 Bay Street, home to Laser and White glove, for $1.72 million, and Shop 2, 123-127 Martin Street, occupied by Physio Train, for $1.25 million.

Talbot said that while there have been post-COVID challenges, 2022 has demonstrated a strong appetite for Brighton properties of all different asset classes and price points, and he expects demand in 2023 will continue despite national and international volatility.

Fisher mentioned that Fitzroys had already listed a number of off-market and on-market opportunities for 2023 and hopes to replicate a strong 2022.