September 17 2015
Prospective buyers of 267 off-the-plan apartments in Glen Waverley are being asked to pay $2500 to secure first dibs at purchasing a home.
It is possible to register for the event without parting with any cash upfront, but the real estate agency handling the project, John H. Castran, warned it comes with a genuine risk of missing out.
John Castran saw it first hand when he sold all 116 apartments in a neighbouring tower in just one night in August 2012. The veteran agent was shocked when about 400 people from Melbourne's Chinese community arrived at a venue meant to accommodate 200.
"People were just squished in, almost breaking the windows," he said. "It was bedlam."
Mr Castran said he was expecting a strong turn out from the Chinese community again. Glen Waverley has the highest concentration of Chinese Mandarin speakers in Victoria.
The planned 15-storey Galleria project, at 52 O'Sullivan Road, is also short walk from Glen Waverley Secondary College, a public school with one of the highest percentage of high-achieving Year 12 students in the state.
So what does $2500 get you?
Those with "gold" tickets can visit the display suite before other buyers, in preparation to sign a contract at the opening night.
Silver tickets are $1000 and guarantee a spot at the launch.
Those who have purchased the tickets for the latest $36 million tower will eventually get their money back, either by deducting it from their deposit or a refund.
Nevertheless agent Lachlan Castran said it had been a "fairly bold" move to introduce the ticketing system.
"To ask for an initial fee is something that is not widely done and certainly hasn't been done in this area," he said.
Residential project marketing expert at commercial property company CBRE Andrew Leoncelli said it was typical for Sydney buyers to hand over $10,000 "to book a spot in the queue", but "extremely unusual for Melbourne" where demand for property was not so intense.
Mr Leoncelli said the process was aimed at creating a sense of urgency. "They are going to have 200 people in the room. If that doesn't force you to buy something you feel like you are going to miss out."
It was also more likely to appeal to Asian buyers, who don't want to be seen to lose face and miss out, Mr Leoncelli said.
Monash councillor Geoff Lake said he was torn between being "chuffed" and concerned about the marketing strategy. He said about 1000 new apartments were forecast to be developed in Glen Waverley in the next five years.
"Don't let the agents tell you this current opportunity is once in a lifetime," Cr Lake said.
Frank Farrugia, a Glen Waverley refrigeration mechanic, purchased a gold ticket as he has three children in the market for a first home.
He said while he was initially a bit surprised the ticket was needed, given the number of apartments for sale, "the way it has been explained to me is you can't lose your money".
See more: www.theage.com.au/victoria/pay...