Chinese investors have bought two sites in Melbourne's west and southeast for a combined $70 million as Chinese capital flees the riskier apartment market.
In the bigger of the two deals, a permit-ready 30-hectare site known as Botanic Drive, adjacent to the Cranbourne Royal Botanic Gardens, has changed hands for $42 million, well above market expectations of $30 million-plus.
The site at 1160 Ballarto Road and 20, 60 & 80 Botanic Drive in Junction Village, which has approval for 311 lots, was put up for sale at the end of September by Michael Goldthorp, the managing director of land developer Wolfdene, and his investment partners.
Mr Goldthorp said he decided to offload it after receiving a number of unsolicited offers. He said it was a good time to hand the project over to a buyer looking for a permit-ready project.
In the second land deal, Zhong Cheng Ye Pty Ltd, a company with an office in Docklands, paid $27 million – almost $2 million a hectare – for a 14-hectare site at 440-448 Point Cook Road in the west of Melbourne. The company's sole director is listed as 27-year-old Jia Zhang from Yan Cheng in China.
The site was put up for sale by private owner Sneydes Pty Ltd, whose directors are Silvana and Elisa Scarica and Anna Tymms.
Both sites were sold by Frank Nagle and Andrew Egan, directors at Biggin & Scott Land.
"We're still getting developers who are coming out of the apartment market and bidding on these land opportunities. A number of the underbidders were developers with current apartment projects in the Melbourne CBD," he said.
"Sentiment has turned against the apartment market because investors don't see continued growth in that market."