Highrise Harry versus Australia

Say what you like about Highrise Harry but he’s a survivor. With Chinese immigration via students and tourists doomed, with the exodus to regional areas as ‘work from home’ embeds, with apartments on the nose worldwide as social distancing becomes the norm, he sees a new apartment boom:

  • People want to move closer in, says Highrise.
  • His apartments will get bigger to accommodate WFH.
  • Apartment sales are up to 450 from 420 Jan-May year over year.
  • Only two units per week sold to foreign buyers!
  • Students and migrants must be returned “at once”.

The only line that matters, and the only reason for this interview at all, I suspect, is that last point.

Highrise Harry used to develop roughly 2k apartments per year. He’s now on track for half of that. Previously he has openly declared that immigration is the key driver of apartment development so I suspect the half of volumes that he has lost is directly related to the collapse in foreign purchases.

Other indicators say much the same:

Neither COVID-19 nor Prison Island agrees with Highrise Harry’s business.

The question for Australians is, is it better to restart mass immigration so that the Highrise Harry’s of this world can double their business again as the public absorbs the cost of externalities like crush-loaded infrastructure and deteriorating public services in education and health etc?

Or, is it better to halve immigration and manage it properly, so that wages and productivity-enhancing investment can rise such that we all get richer instead?

Houses and Holes
Latest posts by Houses and Holes (see all)

Comments

  1. DonaldHornRebornMEMBER

    Harry needs to learn the value of “enough” squealing about how unproductive WFH is exposes his inherent dependence of inner city property rent. WFH is a part of life devaluing your assets.
    10 thousand commuter voices drown out your vested interests in a New York minute.

  2. Good question Dave and I think you’ve answered it in regards to the average punter.

    Trouble is the Harry’s of this world only care about themselves and never stop to ask, “How much does one person need anyway?”

    I don’t think he’s concerned whether families live in overpriced dog-boxes and have no quality of life.

    Hasn’t it been shown most people want houses but take units because that’s all they can pay for?

    They say depression is a disease, I find it totally understandable in so many cases, but excessive greed, there’s your disease for my money.

    How much DOES one person need?

  3. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Look, we all know mass immigration is coming back, as it should. So youse loosers enjoy your anomaly in time because you’ll be back to bottom feeding before you know it. The vaccine is vaccining!

  4. Prison Island or the new one, Hermit Kingdom, a new line of attack coined by Jessica Irvine at The Age/SMH yesterday. They are working hard there to help people like Harry with “opinion” pieces calling for the borders to open ASAP, its amazing how their “opinion” writers there all have the same “opinions” in favour of open borders, which by coincidence suit the business interests of the proprietors. Two “opinion” pieces last week defending the Virgin Airlines boss and her embarrassing comments around people dying. One of the columns looked particularly forced. Orders from above and all that.
    As usual the comments section are full of what ordinary people think which is in direct opposition to the “opinions” they are reading. Not very persuasive, these “opinion” writers at The Age/SMH. Same goes for population issues, all the comments don’t want a return to Big Australia.
    Saying immigration needs to half still brings it to 150,000 a year. Too much. 50,000 a year would be more like it. The Victorian Parliaments current inquiry into eco system decline is scary. Its rooted. Expert after expert in despair at the future, you can read their evidence on the Vic Parliament website in the committee section. 150,000 a year is too much but better than 300,000 a year

    • I assume this inquiry is being run the Victorian government who said diversity is our strength and we are not debating immigration.

      • It’s cross party, but correct, the Chair is from the Government. The Sustainable Australia MP is the only one relating population growth to eco systems decline. There is a Greens MP on the Committee but to the Greens population can never be discussed, so nothing from them on population and eco system decline. They dont discuss population or its impact on the environment.
        We can have a million extra people every three years according to them, just wipe out all houses in cities, medium density apartments every where and high rise at the railway stations. Thats “green” according to them

        • Victoria has the most degraded environment in Australia, and yet it has the most people who would argue that immigration is good for us. Add in that people here think Dan Andrews can walk on water because of all the infrastructure he is building through PPPs and yet you point out the amount of greenery lost and you are accused of being a Liberal troll.
          I actually met the SAP member at a protest over excessive development. Very good guy, but I hope his message of excessive migration causing environmental issues changes people voting at the ballot box. An independent candidate at the local municipality elections last year ran on a similar platform as SAP and managed 5% of the vote. There is some hope that we can consign major parties to minority status.

      • haroldusMEMBER

        Yeah mate. Mine will be lapsing for the specific reason of trolling from non-members. And not be renewed until it’s sorted.

        I emailed most recently about it 9/3 ([email protected] ). That was the email om MB conditions page.

        • blacktwin997MEMBER

          Don’t go harry! You’re one of the mainstays of the comments which admittedly i often enjoy more than the articles themselves. Then again if it’s a matter of principle and you’re jack of being stooged by CCP astro cunce or generally belligerent aholes, fair enough.

    • happy valleyMEMBER

      Most opinion pieces tend to be just an advertorial for some vested/biased interest and therefore, are rightly ignored.

      I wonder how many politicians – federal, state/territory, local gubmint – watched David Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet documentary (released in 2020) which detailed the phenomenal world population growth over the 9 decades of his life so far and its massive contribution to the degradation of the environment. Presumably, not many watched? An inconvenient truth?

      • I don’t think these papers shift the dial on opinion much (or at all anymore) 20 years ago maybe but not now.

  5. Triguboff was calling employers parasitic for allowing employees to work from home. Most companies know that rent is a large amount of their costs and if work from home is permanent for two days a week, they could reduce floor space by up to 40%. Most people I have spoken to enjoy working from home. They also enjoy more space and not living in an apartment. Society changes after major events in history and this is no different.

  6. happy valleyMEMBER

    Poor old HRH. You have feel for him. At $17.27bn, he’s only no. 6 on the AFR’s top 200 rich list out today.

  7. Arthur Schopenhauer

    Miami and LA were tiny rural backwaters before the Spanish Flu pandemic. Both cities experienced extraordinary growth during the 1920s and 30s.

    Most historians put the growth down to the personal mobility revolution, yet at the time the car was a pipe dream for most of the new residents. Trams and bicycles were the predominant mode of urban transport.

    Curiously, almost all the 1920s advertising material for house and land packages for each city emphasized the healthiness of suburbia and outdoor living. (And even the distance between houses!) Warmth and wellness were the catch cry.

    The US didn’t really regain the appetite for medium and higher density Urban living until this century.

    WFH enabled by ubiquitous internet connections, has replaced the car as the technological enabler. Harry and his ilk will have a hard time putting this genie back in its dogbox.

    History rhymes.

    • that’s the same in australia. Surry Hills / Paddington / the inner west were all terraces and medium density housing with a great tram system.

      the 20s saw that fall out of favour for “garden suburbs” where you would eventually need a car. same marketing of the “health benefits” of living in detached dwellings.

      • Arthur Schopenhauer

        I have a sense we are at the beginning of a Renaissance for well located, picturesque country towns in Vic and NSW.

        • “Forty homes by 40; how Popcod went from Chy-na refugee to Western Districts Property Baron using this one hack that Millenial’s are flocking to!”

  8. Arthur Schopenhauer

    In Melbourne, the Garden Suburbs sprouted along each Suburban train line. Burley Griffin designed the best example, Eaglemont, in 1915, centered around Eaglemont train station.

    Edit: Reply to Anon.

  9. Ronin8317MEMBER

    WFH means people want a backyard, not a slightly larger high rise prison with paper thin walls.

  10. Perhaps Harry doesn’t understand that he is not in a battle with Governments and Border Policy? He is really fighting a technology and demographic paradigm shift in which the self interest of the individual and corporations means that living in a city has become less compelling. If a worker can produce the same or better outcomes WFH with modern tech 3 out of 5 days, while still having the 1/4 acre+ block why would someone overspend on a dog box when the entire city appeal has disappeared?

    He’s done well on government ponzi policy but the next round of his fate will not be of his choosing or influence.

      • blacktwin997MEMBER

        We really need South Australia to step up and send some more ‘Returned Australian Travellers’ to HRH’s neck of the woods.

  11. This is what I would ask Harry Triguboff:

    Mr Triguboff, I understand you have a lot of money. In fact you are the Australia’s richest man.
    1) What do you spend your money on?
    2) Why do you want more?