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“I’m using property investment to fund a retirement of sport, travelling and time with friends”

Jason Fineberg

Sales Manager

“I go to the store and spend ages umming and ahhing over a $30 shirt, but when it came to buying a property, I could make that decision quickly because of all the information Ironfish gave me.”

Case in profile

  • Sales Manager & owner-occupier in Sydney’s west
  • Realised super wasn’t enough to provide the kind of retirement he wanted
  • Met with his friend & North Sydney strategist, Andrew Koleda to set up a strategy
  • Now owns 2 investment properties and on-track for more

A cricket mate & sounding board

Already savvy with the ins-and-outs of property investment, Jason owned and lived in his apartment in Sydney’s West. He and Andrew Koleda (Ironfish North Sydney Strategist) had been playing cricket together for years, and regularly chatted about property and investing. Jason had realised that living in Sydney, and having the type of retirement where he could regularly go out with friends, still travel and enjoy his sport would be unlikely on his super alone.

“Kollas and I had known each other for a while, and we often spoke about property – he’s always been cluey about that sort of thing. I originally bought my property in Blacktown in 2009 and lived there for about 8 years, but I started thinking about what else I could with my money. We were chatting and he brought up the idea to go down the route of investing. I’d already been thinking this was going to be my best bet to set myself up for retirement.”

Putting the wheels in motion

After that casual chat at cricket, Jason spoke more seriously to Andrew about his plans for retirement and his retirement goals. Jason knew he needed to grow his property portfolio faster to be able to continue to enjoy a similar lifestyle later down the line.

“Andrew sat me down and we talked a lot about my retirement. I want to retire at a certain age, and still be able to enjoy sport, going out with friends and travelling without having to scrimp and save. He showed me what I needed to do, and I came out of it very clear on what my strategy for investing in property would be.

“I really needed to get a 2nd place pretty quickly to build a portfolio to set myself up for retirement. I moved out of my unit and started renting it out to build a bit of equity behind it. That’s when I could refinance it to be able to buy the next investment.”

property investment

Finding the right property.

Now with a clear strategy in place, the pair started the search for the right property to add to Jason’s portfolio.

I went to a presentation and a bus tour of a project out at Badgerys Creek. At the time, that sort of location wasn’t quite right for me. But Andrew had a lot of research on what markets were best to buy into. Melbourne and Brisbane were looking good, so I ended up buying an apartment in Aria’s ‘The Drapery’ building in Brisbane. I was really impressed by their organisation.”

property investment

Looking ahead

Now with two investments under his belt, Jason is focused on letting them perform. But he has plans to continue to build his portfolio in the near future.

“I’ve just bought, so I’m not in the place to do that again yet, but now I’ve started the process and I know what needs to be done. When the time’s right, Andrew and I will look into it again with more detail and I’ll learn from him about what the best market to buy into is. Every step of the way with him and Ironfish has been perfect. I couldn’t have had a better experience, I had help at every step with no dramas.”

Jason’s investment tips

  1. It can be very confusing trying to invest if you speak to the wrong people. I’d absolutely refer anyone to Ironfish to get the right information – rely on their expertise and listen to their recommendations.
  2. Don’t just look to Sydney, look interstate. Use the research and it becomes an easy decision.

What is Queensland’s 2nd biggest employment region?

For property investors, proximity to employment is a key factor to consider when looking for the best area to buy in Brisbane, Queensland or indeed, any part of Australia. Just outside of the Brisbane CBD is Queensland’s second largest employment precinct (after the CBD itself), that’s also the fastest growing trade and industry region in the country – the Australia Trade Coast.

Key points:

  • 6km from Brisbane CBD, is made up of the Airport, Port & surrounding businesses
  • Fastest growing trade & industry region in Australia
  • 2nd largest employment hub in QLD
  • Home to around 1,500 businesses & over 60,000 employees
  • Forecast to employ more than 110,000 people by 2026

Australia Trade Coast: fast facts

The Australia Trade Coast (ATC) is a collaboration between some of the biggest influencers in Queensland – the Brisbane Airport Corporation, Brisbane City Council, Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd and the Queensland State Government. Back in 1999, they recognised the unique opportunity that the area had to be an economic driver and came together to strategically plan and collaborate on development projects.

The ATC is about 6km to the east of the CBD and is made up of the Brisbane Airport, Port and a large number of surrounding commercial and industrial precincts and businesses. In total, there are over 1,500 businesses in industries such as aviation, manufacturing, logistics and construction – including big names like Qantas, Virgin, Australia Post Logistics, Fedex, Woolworths and Bluescope Steel.

Brisbane property market, best area to buy in Brisbane

The ATC’s competitive advantage

In terms of trade, the ATC is in a unique spot. It’s close to the CBD and well connected to the rest of the region through Brisbane’s “Linkt” Network of motorways and tunnels. Over 40 shipping lines service the Port, 33 international and domestic airlines fly through the Airport, and both are close to world-class road and rail infrastructure that allows freight to easily come in and out before being distributed all across the state. It’s also 5 sailing days closer to Asia than the ports of Sydney and Melbourne which makes it preferred by importers.

Key economic driver

The ATC is a major driver of the Queensland economy – the Government recently recognised it as Queensland’s most significant trade and industry precinct. Over 60,000 people are employed in the area, a figure that is only set to rise over the next 5 years with 3 major planned projects: a new cruise terminal, airport expansion and a luxury auto mall. With projects like these, it’s expected that the area will grow to 110,000 jobs by 2026, with a forecast value to the Queensland economy of $9.4 billion.

“The ATC is already a major employment hub in Queensland, and we’ll only see this grow in coming years,” said Ironfish Head of Property and Research, William Mitchell. “The three major projects underway are expected to also have a significant flow-on effect for the tourism industry, and the local property markets surrounding the ATC precinct.”

Project 1: Airport Expansion

By mid 2020, the Brisbane airport is scheduled to unveil its new $1.35 billion expansion – the largest aviation construction project in Australia. By adding a 2nd runway, Brisbane airport will have the same capacity as Hong Kong or Singapore Airports, with the potential to cater for 49 million passengers every year by 2035. This is a significant increase from the 23.4 million passengers that pass through the airport annually today, and will allow Brisbane to benefit from an increase in business and tourism visits to Brisbane by hundreds of thousands every week. It will create roughly 26,000 new jobs by 2034.

Brisbane property market, best area to buy in Brisbane


Project 2: International Cruise Terminal

Queensland’s first dedicated mega cruise ship terminal is also in the works for the Australian Trade Coast. The $158 million International Cruise Terminal will be able to accommodate the world’s largest cruise ships, and give businesses access to tourists from all over the world as they come to Brisbane – an exciting prospect for the local tourism industry.

“This new terminal will help secure our slice of the market by providing a dedicated facility to accommodate larger ships that are unable to dock at Portside,” said Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick about the project.

“This vital infrastructure – Queensland’s first dedicated mega cruise ship terminal – will be a fitting gateway for arriving visitors as they step on to Queensland soil and for those who can now depart in the mega cruise ships directly from Brisbane.”

Brisbane property market, best area to buy in Brisbane

Project 3: Luxury Auto Mall

Construction has already begun on the new $300 million Auto Mall within the Australian Trade Coast precinct, where customers can land at the airport, and take a test drive at one of the many luxury car dealerships (like BMW, Porsche, Lexus and Volkswagen) on a Mark Skaife designed race track. Also in the precinct is a 4WD track, conference facilities, a hotel and dining precinct. Stage 1 is due to open in 2021, and create 300 jobs during construction.

A growth spot for the Brisbane property market

Here at Ironfish, our aim is to position our investors in the right place, at the right time – so we’ve always got an eye out for future growth areas in the Brisbane property market. Given the upcoming projects at the ATC and employment opportunities they will bring, we’re confident that demand for quality properties in the area will increase in the next few years.

To take advantage of this growth area, talk to one of our Ironfish strategists about what opportunities are currently available near the Australian Trade Coast.

All properties we recommend to our customers are subject to a rigorous selection and due diligence process by our Property & Research team.

“Ironfish gave us the courage we needed to diversify our property portfolio for the future”

Carolyn Koleda

Medical Practice Director

“My husband and I already had a property portfolio, but we had only ever bought houses or land. Ironfish helped change my thinking and transform my future for the better.”

Case in profile:

  • Director of a General Practice Surgery alongside her husband, Dr Victor Koleda
  • Introduced to Ironfish by her son, Ironfish North Sydney Strategist Andrew Koleda
  • Owned a successful property portfolio, but limited to houses or land in NSW only
  • Attending an Ironfish seminar broadened their perspective. Now have a diverse portfolio that includes houses, land and newly-built apartments around Australia

An early start to investing

A mother of three, Carolyn has been the financial manager of her family right from the beginning. While her husband worked as a GP, she raised their children and planned their financial futures, growing her husband’s good income into a modest portfolio of shares and property.

In 1983, after 3 years studying abroad, Carolyn and Victor opened their own General Practice surgery in south west Sydney, with Carolyn serving as the practice Director. From there, they were able to quickly grow their portfolio further, but still lacked the right experience and team to support them.

“Property investment was a big part of our financial strategy, but we weren’t very experienced. We worked hard, we had high incomes and were good savers. At one point we owned up to 6 properties. But we only ever made house or land investments because that’s the advice we were getting at the time. Now I realise that was a more traditional mind set.”

Broadening her perspective

Knowing they needed a new strategy, but not sure where to start, their son & Ironfish North Sydney Strategist Andrew Koleda invited Carolyn and Victor along to a seminar by Ironfish CEO & Founder, Joseph Chou.

“That helped me see things from a different perspective. Not every tenant wants to live in a large house and mow the lawn every weekend. And having these kinds of properties, for us, meant there was a lot of maintenance we needed to pay for. That Ironfish seminar taught me about what the modern tenant wants and the ease as an investor that can come with owning brand-new apartments.”

Taking the next step

Armed with new knowledge, Carolyn began to reassess their current financial portfolio. With their family’s future to think about, she and her husband set a goal to create intergenerational wealth for their family.

“We had money in shares, but they had high brokerage fees. Investing in property, and diversifying our existing portfolio with apartments in different locations seemed like a good way to create intergenerational wealth down the line. We founded a trust company and bought one off-the-plan apartment in the Gold Coast under the new trust structure. We also purchased two apartments (located in Sydney and Brisbane) under our Self-Managed Super Fund. This was a big change from our current investment strategy, but the integrity of Ironfish and their willingness to share their experiences made us confident in taking this next step. We never felt pressured, I took my time.”

Looking towards the future

With new confidence and a clear strategy, Carolyn and her husband now feel assured about not only their own financial future, but also the financial future of their three children.

“All the Ironfish reports and their ability to pick good developers, that’s what gave us the stability and the courage to move forward in diversifying our portfolio. Their integrity and how genuine they are in wanting to help their investors is rare in today’s world. I feel like my family is heading in the right direction for the future with Ironfish.”

Carolyn’s tips for other investors:

  • “Start building your nest egg early and save as much as you can. Then once you’ve got it together, just go for it.”
  • “Look for property in the best position. My mum always said that good real estate in a good position will never go to waste.”

From Art Series Hotels to the art of the deal – a sold out evening with William Deague

Over 160 people came out on a chilly winter’s evening for a ‘fireside chat’ with Deague Group CEO, William Deague and Ironfish CEO, Joseph Chou.

Spilling out of the Ironfish North Sydney boardroom, attendees gathered to hear unique insights into the life and success of a prominent business-leader, whose family legacy encompasses five generations of wealth, multiple landmark property developments and an iconic Australian hotel chain.

Never far from the media or public eye Will Deague and his family are commonly profiled for their envious lifestyle – famously taking their own private helicopter from their home in Portsea to Melbourne each day. However, in person, Will Deague is surprisingly low key, very modest and extremely private about his family and personal life – this private interview for our investors was therefore all the more valuable.

Ironfish and Deague Group have a close partnership that began five years ago. Mr Deague is the second, high profile CEO to be interviewed as part of our new ‘CEO Talks’ series of events. Here are some of the key takeaways he shared on the night.

With the silver spoon comes responsibility

Will is the first to admit that he grew up with the silver spoon – top schools, luxury homes and even his own helicopter.

That said, Will’s father and grandfather always instilled in him a great sense of responsibility and discipline – key factors when it comes to building inter-generational wealth successfully.

“I worked odd jobs in the company from a very young age; my father and grandfather would pay me $12 an hour. What I realised very early on is that with wealth, comes responsibility – and the greater the wealth, the greater the responsibility.”

Having now taken over the family’s business, taking on the helm of CEO since 2008, Will continues to practice the values ingrained into him by his family from a young age – being often the earliest to get in and the last person to leave.

“Seeing the growth of our employees, the completion of our projects has really given me a greater feeling of accomplishment, but also added to my sense of personal responsibility.”

Bringing together passion and expertise

Will Deague’s father is a well-known art collector and patron. During a trip to Miami, Will discovered a new concept – the boutique art hotel.

“With Art Series, we were looking to really build our family legacy – we have a passion for Australian art and this way, we could bring together our passion, with our expertise in development. It also helped us to diversify and provide alternative cash flow to complement our property development projects.”

In 2008, the Art Series hotels were born, each named after a contemporary Australian artist, and filled with artworks by the artist.  The concept was extremely successful, with eight Art Series Hotels around the country today.

Negotiation needs to be a win-win

From our two companies’ many collaborations, Joseph shared with the audience that he discovered very quickly that Will Deague is a master-negotiator.

When asked “what is the secret of a successful negotiation,” Will’s reply was succinct: “put yourself into the other person’s mindset.”

“When negotiating you have to think about the other person – what are they looking to achieve in the situation. The concept of ‘win-win’ is strong philosophy in my family – for a negotiation to go smoothly, all parties need to benefit.”

Growing your income

According to Will, the key to building wealth ‘from scratch’ is to start with the fundamentals.

“You need to be aware of how much your daily expenses are, or how much passive income you need to be in a position where you don’t need to work for a living. You also need financial buffers in place to be prepared for situations that may arise in life.

“You need to work hard too, of course. But there are a lot of people who work very hard, and they’re all doing things the same way. You need to break from the conventional path.

“Your income from work shouldn’t be treated as the upper limit – it should be your starting point from which to progress. For example, you can use your income to buy investment properties; rental income can diversify your income source and the property itself can grow in value to add to your wealth.

“I know there’s a lot of noise in the media, with people complaining that Sydney and Melbourne house prices are crashing. But the fact is that in these markets, house prices have fallen by about 8% in the past 12 months, but in the last 10 years, they’ve grown by 80%. If I were 20 years old man today, I’d definitely start with property.”

Ironfish & Deague Group: shared values

Today, Deague Group (formerly Asian Pacific Group) is a prominent Australian development company, known for delivering quality homes. Ironfish and Deague have had three joint venture partnerships – and when asked why they chose Ironfish as a partner, Will answered without hesitation:

“Without a doubt it is shared values. That is, we both seek to place our buyers at the forefront. I’ve seen myself that Ironfish’s highest priority isn’t profit, it’s maximising the outcome for their investors, providing better service and trying to support them throughout their journey.”

Box Hill Whitehorse towers

Giving back

Recently, Will’s wife was diagnosed with blood cancer, naturally a major shock for the family. After multiple treatments, she is thankfully in remission. But through this experience, with a cause so close to home, the family is now a major supporter of the Australian Children’s Cancer Foundation, raising a record $1.2 million for the charity in one fundraising lunch event.

“Being able to use our wealth to help so many people is something that is infinitely satisfying. It also gives me greater motivation to help more people.”

Understanding wealth

At Ironfish, we believe that wealth forms part of the universal formula for happiness (along with health and love).

Whether you create wealth or inherit wealth, whether you aspire to billions, millions, or just a bit of luxury in life – it’s important to know how to manage your money and grow your wealth effectively.

Events such as these are part of helping our customers to open up the realm of possibilities and learn more about wealth building from people who have done it before.

We thank Will Deague for generously sharing his time and experiences with our investors.

If you’d like to see our next upcoming events in your city, visit our events page.


What’s the one ingredient that consistently supercharges capital growth around the world’s major cities?

There is one stand-out factor for property, anywhere in the world, that consistently attracts a premium price tag: the closer you are to water – the higher the property prices.

In Australia, the majority of our population is centred in our capital cities; and the closer you live to the water – be it lake, river, or ideally harbour or beach – property prices increase.

Sydney is well known for its long roster of expensive harbour or beach-side suburbs; buying property in any of Sydney’s eastern suburbs or on the north shore is prohibitively expensive for most.

In Melbourne, from long-established harbour-side suburbs such as Brighton to more recently gentrified suburbs such as St Kilda – being close to the coast demands a premium.  

In Brisbane, the most affordable of the major eastern capital cities, riverfront property in suburbs like New Farm and Hamilton remain some of the priciest in the state. However there are some hidden beachside and bayside Brisbane suburbs that are sleeping giants when it comes to “waterside potential”.

When you examine all that comes with living by the water, the price tag is understandable. Expansive blue views, fresh, cooler air and sea-breezes, being able to take a short trip to the beach or relax at a harbour-side café on the weekend – this is a lifestyle that people are willing to pay to enjoy.

Many investors seek out these properties for their portfolios, knowing that with proximity to water comes long-term capital growth. But often, the high price tag these properties attract force investors to look to further-out or inland suburbs. For instance, Sydney’s Maroubra is known for being a beach-side haven within easy reach of the city, but an existing townhouse will set you back well over a million dollars, or around the same price as two new apartments in Brisbane.

Brisbane property investment

Brisbane’s undiscovered ‘bay-side’ lifestyle

With Brisbane tipped by analysts to be the next up-and-coming market, many investors, who are seeking capital growth opportunities, are looking to add this city to their portfolio.

The idea of being close to the water in Brisbane is synonymous with being close to the river. But what are the options for investors who might be unable to afford inner-city riverfront property but still want to target longer-term capital growth?

Less than 15km outside of the CBD, in Brisbane’s eastern suburbs, the Wynnum West locale is a largely ‘undiscovered’ area, which offers the coveted coastal or ‘bay-side’ living without the hefty price tag.

Residents enjoy weekends spent at outdoor cafes, meandering along the bayside enclaves of Wynnum with its beautiful blue waters and family-friendly beach/ocean pool, and the picturesque Manly Boat Harbour – the southern hemisphere’s largest boat facility.

In Brisbane, there is no other area within a 15km radius of the CBD that offers this kind of true coastal experience akin to Sydney’s eastern or northern suburbs. Despite this, it remains lesser known as one of Brisbane’s bayside lifestyle suburbs.

Brisbane property investment


Interestingly, in addition to offering a premium coastal lifestyle, the area also boasts a number of train stations with direct lines to the CBD – unusual for Brisbane, where bus is the main form of public transport.

Queensland’s 2nd largest employment region – the Australia Trade Coast which houses both the Brisbane Port & Airport, is only a short drive away and there are multiple state and private schools and retail in the area as well.

Brisbane property investment

The rising demand of townhouses

The most affordable entry point for any coastal area is likely an apartment, however, in the eastern suburbs Bayside precinct it’s possible to pick up a property with higher land content at an affordable price. Young families, professional couples and even downsizers seek out the easy-care living that townhouses can offer. It’s a rising property trend in Brisbane, and Wynnum West is no exception, with townhouses in high demand.

Approximately 21% of dwellings in Wynnum West are townhouses, compared to only 10% in Greater Brisbane, however in the last 2 years only 3 multi-dwelling DAs for townhouses have been approved in Wynnum West, putting this high-demand housing option in short supply. This is not anticipated to change anytime soon, with the Brisbane City Council progressing plans to stop townhouse developments in low-density zoning.

Restricted townhouse supply in the area coupled with their strong popularity signal an exciting opportunity for investors looking for a Brisbane property investment with long-term capital growth.

Brisbane property investment

Arbor Park

Located just 50 metres from Wynnum Plaza Shopping Centre and across the road from Wynnum West State Primary School is a new townhouse living opportunity – Arbor Park. Made up of 67 architecturally designed homes that centre around lush native landscaping and neighbourhood gathering spaces, residents of Arbor Park enjoy a sense of community. The homes have a bright, modern feel to complement their bayside setting, and floorplans that maximise light and encourage cross-flow to let the sea breeze in.

With a range of 2, 3 and 4 bedroom townhouses, Arbor Park is set to benefit from the best that the eastern suburbs bayside precinct has to offer, at an affordable price point.

Brisbane property investment

“We’re really excited to be able to recommend these boutique townhomes exclusively to our investors. They’re located just a few kilometres from the biggest boat harbour in the southern hemisphere, a short walk from Wynnum Plaza, close to Queensland’s 2nd largest employment hub and offer true bayside living,” said Ironfish Director, Property & Research, Grant Ryan.

“The quality of the finishes and design in this development is truly unique in this location, and we expect strong appeal – particularly from young families and downsizes.”

Scheduled for completion in 2021, exclusive opportunities in Arbor Park are available to Ironfish customers now. To find out more, click here.

All properties we recommend to our customers are subject to a rigorous selection and due diligence process by our Property & Research team.


A property journey spanning from Hong Kong to Australia.

Here at Ironfish, we are proud to practice what we preach. Many of our staff are property investors themselves, and have kindly agreed to share their individual stories and their own personal property investment tips. 

Jade Cattanach

Senior Property Investment Strategist, Ironfish Brisbane

“I never thought I could be a property investor. Growing out of this belief and building a portfolio of four properties worth over $2 million has been the biggest sense of accomplishment for me, and has secured my family’s future. Now I want to help other people like me put investment strategies in place to protect their financial wellbeing for years to come.”


  • Jade had never considered investing in property because of the unaffordability of her home – Hong Kong
  • Unable to work when she moved to Australia in 2012, Jade wanted to be able to protect her family’s future
  • A missed opportunity to purchase a home turned Jade’s beliefs around, and she became a Strategist with Ironfish
  • Now a seasoned investor herself and a Senior Investment Strategist with Ironfish Brisbane, Jade wants to help others just like her to safeguard their financial future

From Hong Kong to Australia

Starting as a PR Marketing Professional in Hong Kong, Senior Brisbane Property Investment Strategist Jade Cattanach never imagined she’d become a successful property investor, let alone help others achieve wealth through investing. Living in Hong Kong, a city with the lowest housing affordability in the world, owning property wasn’t a realistic goal for Jade.

“Although I had a successful career as a PR Marketing professional, property prices in Hong Kong were so daunting that I didn’t think property ownership was possible”

Feeling put-off investing in property, Jade instead invested into her career in luxury public relations marketing. But when she left her high-paying job behind to move to Melbourne with her husband in 2012, Jade’s thinking started to change.

“I couldn’t work for a year because of my visa conditions, and I felt that my financial freedom was taken away. It made me think about what would happen if my husband and I both couldn’t work. How would we still support ourselves?”

Brisbane property consultant

A property realisation

This was the start of a turning point in Jade’s property journey. Around the same time in 2012, Jade’s husband and brother-in-law wanted to buy a home together in Melbourne. The three of them looked for a place to live and found a house and land package in a newly-built community for $380,000. But when Jade’s husband secured a great job in Queensland, their property plans were put on hold until 2015. By then, the house they were so close to purchasing had risen to $450,000.

“This experience made me realise that Australian property is so different to Hong Kong. Here’s it’s possible to invest at an affordable price point and generate some income from a property.”

Alongside this realisation, Jade went through another big life change. It was time to restart her career in Australia. Speaking Mandarin, Cantonese and English, and with a background in luxury PR Marketing, it was difficult to find a job that could combine Jade’s new passion for property with her professional skills.

“Then I came across a job posting for Ironfish. I felt we shared the same ideals, a belief in long-lasting customer relationships and a drive to protect our futures. Ironfish cared about everyone around them – whether they were employees or investors”.

By the end of that year, Jade had joined Ironfish Brisbane as an Investment Strategist.

Brisbane property consultant

Beginning the investment journey

After she joined the Brisbane team, Jade began studying the Ironfish investment philosophy and along the way, came across the term ‘rentvesting’ – a new concept to her.

“At the time, my husband and I were close to buying a house in Brisbane. But working at Ironfish made me realise we would be better off putting our money into an investment property.”

After attending an Ironfish investment seminar, Jade’s husband agreed and the two immediately took action to purchase the first property in their portfolio.

Through the Ironfish investment portfolio approach, Jade and her husband diversified and grew their portfolio.

“We now have 4 properties that together are worth more than $2 million and our portfolio is cash-flow positive. It’s been the biggest sense of accomplishment, more than I could have imagined before moving to Australia. Now I want to help other young couples like me and my husband experience this same accomplishment and learn some new investment strategies to help secure their future.”

Brisbane property consultant


From changing her own beliefs to helping others

Now a seasoned property investor, Jade has guided many others like her towards building a successful property portfolio.

“One of my clients is a very successful young woman working in medical science. She’s been trying to buy a second-hand home to live in for the last six years.”

Facing rising housing costs and fewer established property options, Jade’s customer missed out on her dream home again and again. Taking her under her wing, Jade invited her customer to an Ironfish investment seminar at their Brisbane office.

“Becoming more educated about property investment and learning about different investment options completely changed her thinking. After the seminar, she approached me wanting to switch from buying an existing property to an off-the-plan investment.”

As a top-earning medical professional, Jade’s customer needed a highly personalised strategy because of her personal income tax situation. Under the careful guidance of Jade and a professional team, she utilised Queensland’s First Home Buyer Subsidy and First Home Buyer Stamp Duty concessions. It saved her over $35,000. After living in her new home for a year, Jade helped her customer transition to rentvesting as her customer wished to capitalise on tax incentives.

Since that first investment, she’s now added a second property to portfolio, and she’s determined to own more.

“A lot of my clients are professionals working in law, engineering, university education, business or medicine. They all go through the exact same journey as I did in changing their mindsets, then achieving this aspirational goal of building a property portfolio. I’m proud to say that I help them through that journey.”

Jade’s property investment tips

Reflecting on her experience in Hong Kong, Jade’s tips to investors is to throw out any ideas of ‘getting rich overnight’ and think about your reasons for investing.

“Investing in property for me wasn’t about buying things, it was to protect myself should a rainy day eventuate. It’s all about safeguarding my future.”

Reflections on 13 years of Ironfish

A message from our CEO & Founder, Joseph Chou


This month marks the 13th anniversary of Ironfish and it’s been an exciting journey to get to where we are today.

In 2006, the Sydney and Melbourne markets were in a downturn, people were losing faith in property and many people were getting out of the industry. Within that landscape, we started Ironfish with 12 people, and we had the big vision to become a global company one day.

Firstly, we wanted to help more people not only to build a portfolio of four or more properties, but also to help them hold those properties long-term until such time they would double in value and they could retire on those properties.

Secondly, we wanted to create a platform for like-minded people to build a career with us and give talented people unlimited opportunity to grow.


Ironfish’s 12 founding members – 2006

In the same year, with this vision, we opened two more branches. In August, we opened our first Melbourne branch in Box Hill – which has now become our Melbourne head office – in partnership with Ellen Bian. In September we opened our Adelaide branch, with successful entrepreneur Damon Nagel at the helm.

All of a sudden, our sales went from $20 million to $148 million in just 12 months – and Ironfish was on its way.

After 13 years, of those 12 founding members, only five of us are still here: myself and my two Co-Founders, Susanne Anderson, Ironfish Chief Operating Officer along with Grant Ryan, Director of Property & Research.  Also, Lanny Xu, now the CEO of Ironfish China, as well as Linda Lu, Ironfish Burwood Managing Director.

Together, and with the help of our growing number of staff, we have achieved many great milestones for the Ironfish business and our customers.

Ironfish leadership team – 2019

Ironfish achievements

Ironfish is one of the very few companies – and there are many that come and go in this industry – that has built to a national scale – not just in Australia but also in China.

We have expanded our property investment services to property management, mortgage broking and property development to provide more integrated services for our investor customers.

We have attracted and retained many talented people – many who have come from very successful prior backgrounds and have been inspired by our compelling vision of democratising property wealth, our strong corporate culture of being people-focussed, customer-centric and giving staff unlimited room to grow. It doesn’t matter which branch you go to, it will always feel like Ironfish; I’ve been complimented so many times about the calibre of our people.

While the real estate industry is known for being very transactional, we are known for being different. We are a relationship-building company; every time we get in front of a customer, we’re talking about a lifelong relationship, not a single transaction.

Ironfish operates under a real estate license, so technically speaking, our client is the vendor – the developer. A lot of real estate agents would act purely for the vendor – to achieve the highest price for them. But from day one, we decided that our customers would be number one in the Ironfish value chain.

Accordingly, we are highly selective about which developers we work with. Our experience tells us that if our customers are happy with the service they receive and the property they purchase from us, then they’re going to continue to build their portfolio with us. They’re also going to refer their family and friends to us. If our customers are happy and continue to purchase, then our vendors will be happy too. If our customers and vendors are happy, then we can build a strong business, which provides a good career path for our staff and our business can continue to grow.

Ironfish people

We have made a huge impact on the property industry because of our fanaticism about quality. Not only do we pride ourselves on working only with leading developers, we’ve also helped many developers change their floorplans or designs to enhance the end product, thus customer experience – and we’re very proud of this. We haven’t just marketed many billions of dollars-worth of properties, we have contributed to making the industry better.

We have been able to have this impact because we have developed a reputation as a company that’s very professional, that’s pro-active, that cares about the location, quality, finishes and always delivers on our promises.

When and if challenges arise, with lending changes for example, unlike some other companies which have shut up shop – we have invested further resources to help our customers settle.

We have also produced the strongest leadership team in Australia. Even though we’re very ambitious, we never lose sight of doing the right thing by our people all of the time. Our partnerships are formed based on shared values – and that can last a lifetime.

This is how we have managed to build trust with our many customers who have chosen to invest with us over the years.

Weathering the challenges

Building a business so rapidly over the course of 13 years has not come about without many challenges to overcome along the way.

Creating customers for life

Putting our customers first, and therefore balancing the needs of both our customers and our vendors isn’t an easy task.

It means having to say no to a lot of developers; negotiating on price with developers, to ensure the property represents value for money for our customers.

Customers, naturally, want the best development at the lowest price. Developers think their developments are the best and therefore want the best price.

We also always want to keep improving the calibre of properties we can offer our customers. So as time went on, and we found even better development projects, we chose to walk away from long-standing relationships with some developers. It’s tough, as you build friendships along the way, and severing a business relationship can affect that.

Continually wearing these two hats has been a challenge for us – but one we’ve been able to face and will continue to work on so that we can deliver value to both our investor customers and our developer partners.

Industry competition

Property has a very low entry barrier. There are new companies coming out every day, many of which come and go. These may just be a one person or husband and wife team with little experience, few quality properties, and no assurance to customers of long-term support.

But with a nice social media ad, it’s hard for an industry outsider to know the difference – educating our customers about this is an ongoing task.

Lending and policy changes

In property, our customers are always at the mercy of a government’s policies or bank policies, which can fluctuate from time to time.

When lending policy tightened, some of our buyers who used to be highly qualified, became less qualified. Some even became unqualified. We had to help these customers change their strategy and slow down in the way they build their portfolio. We also had to look for new customers, who met the higher qualification requirements, in new markets and territories – always a challenge for any business.

When Australian banks decided to pull out of lending to FIRB buyers, even though most of our customers were local buyers, we had about $1.6 billion worth of FIRB property purchases which needed to settle in the next two to three years. All of a sudden, they could no longer borrow, so we had to put in a lot of resources to help our buyers find alternative solutions and help them settle, serve them better.

When that policy changed, it affected our China business considerably, but Ironfish China is still there and not only did we elevate our service levels for customers, we have also found a sustainable credit solution for many of those buyers as well.

Varying market cycles

Ironfish is now a national company, with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The market cycles of each city vary, and banks can give different valuations of developments in different cities due to perceived risks. If there is a valuation shortfall, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth less than the buyer paid for it, it might just be that the bank is more conservative in that area or unwilling to lend quite as much money. The bank valuation isn’t necessarily the market value – the real value is what the market is willing to pay for it when you put it up for sale in the future.


But bank valuations play an important role in both maintaining a buyer’s confidence and ensuring they have enough funds or equity to settle the property. It’s our role to support our buyer’s confidence, and this is also why we encourage buyers, prior to purchase, to have enough buffer in place to cater for a possible valuation shortfall.

It’s also our ongoing challenge to remind our customers that property investment is a long-term pursuit.

Short term market fluctuations can put a dent in an investor’s confidence. But we know from experience that the five major capital cities have different growth cycles, with Sydney and Melbourne paralleling in one cycle, Brisbane and the Gold Coast one step behind while Perth and Adelaide’s cycles are just the opposite. Just because a property hasn’t performed for a while, doesn’t mean you should sell it. You have paid the price of waiting, you should hang in there to reap the benefits. Once a market does start growing, it’s going to grow very quickly. The only way you can benefit is if you are in the game. No one is going to tell you before the market grows – they only tell you after it happens.

For example, when Sydney went through almost 10 years of no growth from 2003 to 2013, many working in the industry at the time couldn’t see a time when the market would grow again. For investors who bought at the peak of the last cycle, many gave up one or two years too early before the market started moving up again.

We don’t want that to happen to our buyers.

Ongoing education, information, service and inspiration is the only way we can help our investors overcome this challenge.

Attracting and retaining talent – growing business partners

Property is known for being a high-turn-over industry, newcomers can come and go – feeling like the grass is greener elsewhere. While we have managed to retain a lot more talent than others, we have our share of the challenge of retaining more talented people. We need to constantly improve the way we run our business so that our talent can continue to thrive in the environment we have created for them, and they can take genuine pride in the value we bring to our customers.

We believe strongly in looking for ‘partners’ rather than employees, and over time we have built a strong leadership team in our Ironfish Managing Directors. The additional challenge here is that all of our leadership team started out running a small business. We’re now a larger business and need to continue to grow our skills alongside the business’s growth. While we’re all aligned in values, we have different styles and personalities. Now, with so many branches, leaders, entities, all our leaders including myself need to grow my management skills to help guide our people and our business to greater heights.

Today’s business – tomorrow’s vision

From day one we had a huge vision of building a global company to provide property investment services all over the world. So, we are constantly balancing between running today’s business with our future business.

If a business only looks to the future, and forgets to run today’s business, then they can’t stay in business for very long. But we also don’t want to bury ourselves in today’s business and lose sight of our future vision.

The nature of the property industry is constantly dealing or preparing for drought or famine. We have hundreds of people employed to deliver for our customers and suppliers, we need to keep investing in the business, up-skilling people, technology and infrastructure. All this takes very sound financial management and discipline. Certainly, for an entrepreneur it’s a challenge to keep a balance on the entrepreneurial flair of expanding the business and cash to keep the business going. It is something we keep working on.

Many lessons learned

Through these challenges, we have learned many lessons along the way and have adapted our approach to serve our customers, suppliers and staff better.

For example, there are some rare occasions where we’ve grown too fast or grown the wrong people and it didn’t work out.

In terms of markets, we put a lot of our Sydney customers in Sydney developments before and during the boom. But in hindsight we could have put more of our interstate buyers into Sydney as well, despite the higher price point. This would have also given them a share of the Sydney boom as well as a chance to grow more equity in their portfolios.

Over the last 13 years, our property and research team has identified a lot of great developments for our buyers, including many in urban renewal areas. Urban renewal, as we know, has huge long-term growth potential, but in the short term, often means a lot of supply coming in to the area at the same time, so typically it takes longer for those property values to grow.

Looking back, we realise urban renewal may not be the ideal starting place for some first-time investors. Because when people invest for the first time, their ability to grow equity in their first purchase and experience can add to confidence in continuing the journey. Now we have adjusted our approach to put some first timers in lower density or lower supply areas, in house and land or a townhouse, so they can experience some early growth. Then while they’re building their portfolio, we can put them in strategic urban renewal areas as well.

Ironfish has been lucky to work with some of the best developers in Australia, but we know now we should have started our development business much earlier. Our own developments help us fill the gap in certain cities or locations where developers weren’t delivering the quality or property type we were looking for. Or not developing in areas we were interested in based on our own research.

It took us a while, but we started eight years ago in South Australia, under the leadership of Damon Nagel. Since then we have established development arms in other cities as well and we also have a number of joint-venture developments.

Opportunities for the future

Sometimes challenges also offer opportunities. With lending changes, settlement was a big challenge for our industry – but one we embraced fully.

As we look to the future, technology will pose a challenge and opportunity for many industries, including property. We’re very conscious that technology like AI and blockchain will fundamentally change the nature of our industry. We are gearing up for this so Ironfish can be at the forefront of these changes.

Perhaps most importantly, Ironfish is in the midst of changing into a property service company. We are very excited about the prospect of becoming a formidable force in delivering that service to our customers and all people related to our business.

Our aim is to use our leadership in the industry to consolidate our position to make a bigger impact. The property industry is often known for being greedy and we want to help to change this opinion to have a kinder, friendlier association.

ironfish customers

We want to help 100,000 Australian families to use property to help them achieve financial wellbeing – a core mission which underlines our day to day business.

We see the last 13 years as our learning years – we were born, we survived, we grew a little. Now we’re in our ‘teenage’  years, as we grow into maturity as a sustainable, successful company that will continue to deliver a valuable service to our community, for many generations to come.

Joseph Chou is the CEO & Founder of Ironfish.

He travels around Australia regularly, presenting on investing, personal and career development. Book your seat at his next speaking engagement in your city via our Events page.

Melbourne planning its comeback as ‘World’s Most Liveable City’

Having lost the title of World’s Most Liveable City to Vienna in 2018 after a 7-year reign, Melbourne is getting ready to make its comeback. Just outside of the city’s centre, the suburb of Alphington is leading the charge, undergoing a radical transformation that experts predict will see it top Global Livability charts by 2025.

Key points

  • Alphington tipped by UK-based trend forecasters ‘The Future Laboratory’ to become the most liveable suburb in the world by 2025
  • Located just 6.5km from the CBD, close to a train station, 4 of Melbourne’s top high schools, and 2 Universities
  • Major ‘YarraBend’ development in the suburb of Alphington includes co-working hub, health-and-wellness centre, four new parks, artisan food district and art gallery

Property investment Melbourne

World’s Most Liveable Suburb

Up until recently, Alphington was one of those suburbs that flew under the radar, overshadowed by the prestige of its neighbours Kew and Hawthorn. But where these suburbs are lauded for their period homes and old-world charm, Alphington’s YarraBend – a new mixed-use development spanning over 140,000m2 – is quietly innovating the standards of community living.

The futuristic precinct is centered on 6 pillars that global research strategy consultants The Future Laboratory have predicted will be central to lifestyles of the future. An ambitious target, the suburb plans to become the most liveable in the world through its focus on:

  1. sustainability
  2. technology
  3. art and design
  4. health and wellness
  5. knowledge
  6. food and entertainment.

“Developments such as YarraBend are at the forefront of profound cultural shifts in which people – and buildings – are optimising everything, which is why we’ve identified that it will become the World’s Most Liveable Suburb in the future,” said Future Laboratory Co-Founder, Martin Raymond.

Property investment Melbourne

Quiet achiever

While YarraBend will clearly transform the area, Alphington is already a suburb with great appeal. Nestled amongst some of Melbourne’s most desirable locales, it’s only 6.5km from the CBD with a train from Alphington station to the city taking just 20 minutes. It sits within the catchment zones of 4 of Melbourne’s top 20 high schools including Camberwell Grammar School and Trinity Grammar School. RMIT and Melbourne University are also within a 15-minute drive.

The average income of Alphington residents sits 38% higher than the Melbourne average – indicating a premium demographic. The rental market is tight, with vacancy rates at 1.5%.

For investors looking for potential growth, Alphington’s unit capital growth over the last 10 years currently sits at 9.6% (that’s 4.7% higher than the rest of the Melbourne market). Median home values are $1,532,312, while apartment values are $626,648 – a disparity that could signal potential for apartments to close the gap.

property investment melbourne

Master-planned community

YarraBend is a rare offering in the market, due to its sheer scale as a master planned community, in such close proximity to the Melbourne CBD.

A mix of houses, townhouses and apartments with quality retail shopping and first-class amenities, its appeal to a range of tenants and owner occupiers is clear. Busy professionals will love the co-working desks and business amenities of the WorkLab. For families, the open green spaces, river walking tracks, bike paths and outdoor cinema provide plenty of weekend entertainment. Foodies are covered with an Artisan Food precinct including the best restaurants, cafes, bars and gourmet grocers from all over Melbourne to the area.

And all eyes are on the Health & Wellness Centre. The high-tech retreat includes an indoor and outdoor pool, spa, yoga studio, spin room and gym area – all integrated with the latest in virtual reality fitness training.

“The appeal of the area to those living a busy lifestyle is obvious. Shopping, restaurants, a state-of-the-art gym, parks, business centre – it’s all there, and it’s all been created with the future in mind,” said Ironfish Head of Property Will Mitchell.

With the development of YarraBend set to be fully completed by 2025, the World’s Most Liveable City title may not be far off returning to Australian soil.

Register here to view the latest YarraBend apartments.

All properties we recommend to our customers are subject to a rigorous selection and due diligence process by our Property & Research team.

Turf wars: Zoning changes set to push townhouses back where they belong.

Key points:

  • Brisbane’s current City Plan allows townhouses to be constructed in low-density residential areas
  • Townhouse developers in these low-density areas have angered locals, concerned the character of their suburb is under threat
  • Council have progressed a proposal to block this loophole in consultation with residents
  • The proposal will stop townhouse supply in low density residential areas.

Brisbane City Council have announced a proposal for a major change to their 2014 City Plan to stop the development of townhouses in low-density residential zones across Brisbane.

The current City Plan stipulates townhouses can’t be built in low density residential areas – unless the developer owns 3,000m2 or more of land. In recent years, developers have exploited this loophole, buying-out multiple residences to construct highly-concentrated townhouses on leafy, single-dwelling streets. “We’re seeing blocks being amalgamated to get to the 3000 square metre threshold, which is seeing more of those medium- to high-density type of developments in areas which are traditionally one- or two-storey homes,” Brisbane City Council planning chairman Matthew Bourke said.

These developments have angered local residents, claiming they’ve had enough of townhouse developments changing the character of their communities, with a campaign to “protect the Brisbane backyard” receiving over 100,000 responses. Classic Queenslander houses with their large backyards, pitched roofs and iconic wrap-around verandahs are in stark contrast to the modern developments quickly going up beside them.

brisbane property news, townhouses

The State Government recently gave the Brisbane City Council the green light to progress to the next stage of the process to get these changes implemented. Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner was pleased with the State Government’s decision to back their campaign. “Brisbane is growing, but Council is committed to maintaining the character of our suburbs and ensuring any development fits in with the existing surroundings,” Cr Schrinner said.

In the right location, townhouses have an important part to play in residential housing – their construction is encouraged by Brisbane City Council in low-medium density areas. An affordable entry point to the market, they’re becoming ever-more popular as family structures change and the need grows for housing options that blur the lines between apartments and houses.

Typically, townhouses are found on the fringes of central hubs including shopping centres, train stations or universities. “Demand for townhouses has grown dramatically over the past 10 years,” says Ironfish Head of Property, Will Mitchell. “They serve their communities and residents best when they’re near suburban centres and they can fill the gap between where apartments are built, and houses begin. This change to the Brisbane City Plan is a positive one, and will mean townhouses are developed in appropriate locations throughout Brisbane. A consequence of this change though is that future townhouse supply will be significantly reduced across Brisbane’s suburbs.”

Community consultation for the proposal begins on the 29th of July and will go for 20 business days to give the public opportunity to share their feedback. The proposal is highly likely to be given the go-ahead once consultation has ended. Once approved, the supply of townhouses is expected to reduce significantly at the same time as demand for this convenient and affordable housing option continues to rise. We will be monitoring how this plays out in the Brisbane market.

Click here to read the QLD Government’s full statement.

Are townhouses the new house? Read more by clicking here.

Ironfish Brisbane property investment

Want to find out how this planning change affects your Brisbane investments? Make a free appointment with one of our experienced strategists today.

Ironfish investment insights at Rothelowman Architects

At Ironfish, one of our key property investment services is providing research-driven property recommendations to our customers in Australia’s five major capital cities.

Our dedicated in-house property and research team monitors the market in each city to identify great locations and outstanding developments within those locations to recommend to our customers.

Many of our customers have grown to rely on our research and market insights, and within the industry too, we have developed a reputation for producing astute market research that filters the noise to provide actionable investor insights.

Recently, our Head of Property, William Mitchell was invited to present our latest research to Rothelowman architects.

Rothelowman is a multi-award-winning, national design practice, specialising in innovative residential architecture, interiors and urban design.

Rothelowman is the architectural practice behind a number of developments Ironfish has recommended to our customers, including Valencia and St Julien (by Aria Property Group) in Brisbane, and Dux (by Little Projects) in Melbourne.

St Julien was designed by Rothelowman architects

Presenting to Rothelowman’s Brisbane office, Mr Mitchell provided a comprehensive ‘post-election’ market update and outlined our expected trends in the Brisbane market over the next few years.

Some of the key takeaways presented included:

  • The strength of Brisbane’s population growth;
  • Insight into the dramatic drop in supply of new apartments in Brisbane; and
  • How the changing tax policy landscape is likely to impact the market.

Operating as advisors not only designers, Rothelowman works closely with industry bodies and organisations like Ironfish to identify new opportunities in the market and create properties of enduring value,” said Rothelowman Principal, Duncan Betts.

“Those that purchase a Rothelowman-designed property benefit from our global outlook and future consciousness, with insight sessions like this helping to keep our finger on the property market’s pulse.

“It’s with the insight and collaboration with partners like Ironfish that Rothelowman successfully responds to the contextual elements needed in today’s built urban environment and integrates with tomorrow’s purchasers.” said Betts.

 “It was fantastic to collaborate and share ideas with one of Australia’s leading architectural practices,” said Ironfish Head of Property, William Mitchell.

“We have worked on many Rothelowman-designed developments across Australia, which have resulted in first class buildings that deliver long-lasting buyer appeal – a fantastic outcome for our customers, and a testament to Rothelowman’s expertise.

“It was interesting to get Rothelowman’s read on the market too, with Duncan reporting a significant uptick in enquiries from developers for their services in Brisbane and more broadly across the east coast, highlighting that confidence in the Brisbane market is returning quickly.”

Thanks to Rothelowman for inviting us into your Brisbane office.

If your business or staff would appreciate industry insights into the property markets nationally, or on how to invest – please contact us.

If you would like to learn more about our most recent Rothelowman-designed property recommendation, you can register your interest here.

From newspaper delivery to Managing Director

Here at Ironfish, we are proud to practice what we preach. Many of our staff are property investors themselves, and have kindly agreed to share their individual stories and their own personal property investment tips. 

Jimmy Yan

Managing Director, Ironfish Melbourne CBD

“Joining Ironfish has been life changing for me – not just in terms of my investments – it’s the mindset: changing the inside to change the outside.”


  • Joined Ironfish Box Hill as a Strategist in 2009
  • Portfolio of 10+ properties
  • Grew with Ironfish to become our youngest Managing Director

The long road to Toorak

Last year, Ironfish Melbourne CBD Managing Director Jimmy Yan moved his family into their brand-new house in the affluent Melbourne suburb of Toorak. The move in many ways marks a milestone in a highly successful career with Ironfish that began when Jimmy was in his early twenties.

At 24, Jimmy was delivering newspapers by day and working late as a kitchen hand by night. He took an interest in property investment after reading an article in one of the newspapers he was delivering. He wanted to learn more and to start investing, but struggled to afford it.


“I was working hard but not really moving forward. At the time, Ironfish was the only company I could find who were helping people learn about property investment and I went along to a seminar in 2007 – because it was free (and I had no money!). The content was great, really interesting and I learned a lot about investment. But I was still a bit skeptical, and in ‘self-protective’ mode – I thought their seminars were all about selling property, and I couldn’t afford to buy.

“But around a year later, someone from Ironfish got in touch with me and came over for a one-on-one appointment at my house – free of charge. The experience completely changed my perspective on Ironfish. Throughout the entire meeting, we never talked about property. We were from similar backgrounds and we had a frank discussion about life and where I was at.

“Although I wanted to buy, the Ironfish strategist told me I should wait, and instead think about how I could earn more money to achieve my goal of investing.”

Melbourne property consultant

Jimmy Yan, Managing Director, Ironfish Melbourne CBD

Starting as a strategist

Jimmy kept in touch with his Ironfish strategist and the following year, he decided to come along to our income expansion master class.

“It cost nearly $2,000 to join the course, so it was a massive commitment for me – more than half of what I had in my bank account at the time. But looking back, it was the turning point in my life. It totally changed me. I learned that if you want to achieve success in life, you need a coach or a mentor. Listening to Joseph [Ironfish CEO & Founder] – I knew I had found my mentor, I thought he’s the guy that I want to follow and that’s why I decided to join Ironfish.”

After starting as a strategist in our Melbourne Box Hill office, Jimmy quickly found his niche under the mentorship of Joseph and our Melbourne Managing Director, Ellen Bian. Jimmy fully embraced his training, immersed himself in study and soon developed a loyal customer base.

“After 6 years of working as a strategist and building my own portfolio, I really took to heart the Ironfish ethos of ‘adding value’. I was given an opportunity to become a team leader within my branch for an internal comp we were running. But even after the comp, I kept my team, and continued to meet them weekly, working together to build on our achievements.

“One day, about 2 or 3 years ago, I was having lunch with Ellen and Gary [Gary Ma, Ironfish Melbourne General Manager] and Ellen asked me where I see myself in the future. Have you thought about opening your own branch in the CBD? I was grateful for the opportunity, and for Joseph and Ellen in seeing my potential as an honest, reliable person who is willing to take responsibility as a leader. But that’s just the Ironfish culture – if you prove yourself as someone willing to take responsibility, opportunities come to you. It’s why the company has grown so quickly in the last 13 years.”

Melbourne property consultant

Ironfish Melbourne CBD office

All-round nice guy

Today, Jimmy is known among both the Ironfish team and his customers for his kind, genuine and generous nature, always willing to share his knowledge, expertise and time.

“I always say to my team to bring your heart to your work. Property is a long game. You have to build true friendships with your customers, because if you don’t become their friends, then you’re not going to be able to support them long-term. It’s also about adding value to your customer, and not just with property. If you have some other resource or knowledge – share it. Learn more so you can help others more. Follow through on your promises, lead by example and do what you love – people know when someone is being genuine.

“In my experience, when you have that trust, it goes a long way. For example, I founded a soccer club in Melbourne some years back, and spent many hours volunteering to manage the club, being the chief coach, marketer, accountant – whatever was required. I did this purely for my love of soccer, not because I was expecting anything else out of it. But what happened was that the friendships and trust I built from that time meant that when some of those people were looking for property, they came to me. Because they already knew me as someone who could be trusted and do the right thing by them.

“My life changed completely after I joined Ironfish. I not only learned more about investing and built my own portfolio, I also found my career path. I never thought back then that any of what I have achieved today was possible. The biggest gain from Ironfish was the possibility thinking – and the platform. Now I am proud to help others like me – knowing I have the opportunity to influence people and change their lives, the way mine has changed – this is what I love most.”

Jimmy’s property investment tips:

  1. I learned from experience that having a mentor can make the world of difference. One of the customers I’m most proud of helping is Lucy – a single mum who was working two jobs and really, really wanted to invest. She said having someone to guide and ‘push her’ meant that she ended up changing jobs to earn a higher income to be able to achieve her goals. She now owns three properties.
  2. Don’t be afraid to sit down one-on-one with someone – there’s nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain! I’m glad I made that decision 10 years ago!

Why Brisbane is forecast to grow by 20%


Download our in-depth analysis of the Brisbane property market and what this means for investors here.

There is one question investors always want the answer to: “is now the right time to buy?”

At Ironfish, we know that what’s likely to happen over the next 10 years in the property markets is more important than the past 10 years. Our aim is to position investors in the right markets, at the right time – to take full advantage.

One of the markets looking likely to outperform the national market over the next decade is the growing city of Brisbane. BIS Oxford Economics sees strong potential, having just released its Residential Property Prospects 2019-2022 report. They’ve predicted that Brisbane will be the strongest performing market over the coming years, growing by 20%, with apartments anticipated to perform strongly too at 14%.

Brisbane is currently one of the most affordable capital cities, suggesting that its residents can comfortably pay more for property compared to their neighbours in Sydney and Melbourne.

*Household income as at 2016 Census, Median Price CoreLogic 2019


So what are the key factors that could influence price growth in the short to medium term – and why are they apparent in the Brisbane market today?

Download your free report on the Brisbane property market here.

Increasing population

Australia’s population has been steadily climbing, and Brisbane is no exception. With the cost of living already high in Sydney and Melbourne, Brisbane is becoming an ever-more attractive option. Delivering on lifestyle as well as affordability, more Australians are moving away from these major cities to QLD’s capital. “Brisbane has the highest interstate migration in 10 years” said Ironfish Head of Property William Mitchell. “People are looking for lifestyle and for employment. Brisbane delivers.”

Growing economy

Brisbane has recently been tipped by Deloitte Access Economics to become the east-coast leader in economic growth over coming years with strong jobs growth in the health care and education sector expected to drive this. According to Deloitte, over FY2019 to FY2022, Melbourne is set to grow by 2.8% p.a., Sydney by 3.1% p.a., and Brisbane by 3.5% p.a..

Major infrastructure pipeline

Brisbane has a crucial infrastructure pipeline scheduled for completion in the next 5 years, expected to create jobs and drive more tourism to the sunny city. Expanding the airport, a new world-class casino and integrated resort, and a larger rail network are all expected to impact the wider Brisbane market. Experienced investors aim to buy ahead of this curve, before property prices are impacted.

“Brisbane has a $15 billion infrastructure pipeline which brings jobs and obviously money flowing through the economy.” Mr Mitchell added. “It’s going to be a key catalyst for growth.”

Slowing property supply

Brisbane locals have seen first-hand the cranes coming down since mid-2017 – a tangible indicator that supply of new properties in the city has dramatically slowed. Coinciding with Brisbane’s strongest rate of interstate migration in 10 years the rental market has tightened, tipping Brisbane into a landlord’s market.

“The supply of new apartments into Brisbane has fallen by more than 50% since 2016, and this isn’t looking likely to turn around any time soon” shared Mr Mitchell. “coupled with Brisbane’s growing economy and population, it paints a clear picture of where this market is heading, and it is certainly one we will monitor closely over the years ahead.”

To read this report in full, click here to download

How this small business owner got off the sidelines & into investing

Clint Indrele

Workplace Relations & HR Consultant

“The one thing I like most about how this played out is the convenience of the process. I’d probably still be sitting around waiting to make a decision on a property, had something like this not come along.”


  • Small business owner
  • Experienced stock trader
  • Purchased 2 investment properties with Ironfish
  • 1 property in a self managed super fund

A growing business – and family

Clint Indrele runs a small workplace relations and HR consulting business, On Demand HR, which is growing fast. His wife is a primary school teacher, supporting kids with learning difficulties – a vocation she loves. Together, they are raising a young family: two boys, aged four and two, in Sydney’s south-western suburbs.

“I’ve been self-employed for 9.5 years; I have one full time staff member, one casual and one contractor. We’ve had steady growth over the past 4-5 years. This year we’ll likely do about 30 – 40% better than last year.”

Diversifying investments

Clint owns his own home but had never invested in property, prior to investing with Ironfish.

“I’ve considered investing in property for years, but never done it. To be honest, it just came down to not having the knowledge, and not having the reserves of time needed to look into these things.

“I have invested in the share market considerably – the US options market – and have actually done very well doing it. But I wanted to diversify a bit and have something else with it. I was lucky with my options trading as I put my money into the US when the exchange rate was good. Everything I already have in there is good to keep working with, but now there’s not much incentive to put new money in when you’re only getting 69c.”

“My ultimate goal would be to retire as early as possible. Whether that’s passive income from the options trading, the business itself (trying to work myself out of the business) and/or a little bit of passive income from a property eventually. If a combination of these can deliver me some passive income by age 50 or even late 40s – that would be great.”


Property selection services

Ironfish North Sydney Strategist Andrew Koleda connected with Clint, an old friend, and suggested he come in for a chat.

“I came in and met with Andrew and Colin [Ironfish North Sydney Head of Strategic Property Services] and we talked through a few presentations, which were very informative. We talked about the markets, some of the ups and downs of different areas, as well as things like migration trends – which states are going up, which are going down. We also talked about longer-term and what was my income goal for retirement.

“I always had my mind on Queensland to buy a property – mainly for affordability. In Sydney, it’s difficult to find something under $700K that’s reasonably metropolitan – even Penrith, which is a good hour out of Sydney, you need to spend at least that much. So, when Andrew presented some options to me in Queensland, something that was palatable, in the price range I was comfortable with – I ultimately decided to do it.

ironfish reviews

“I also bought a second property in the Aspire development in Melbourne through my Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF). This one, to be honest, I decided on a lot quicker. I’ve had a SMSF for years, with quite a bit of it sitting idle, as my original investment plan for it didn’t materialise, so I thought putting it into a property was a pretty good Plan B. Since the development isn’t being built till around 2023, the overall strategy just worked nicely for the situation I had. I only had to put up the $55,000 to secure the property, put the structures in place, then adding into my super over the next 4-5 years would put me in a very comfortable position to complete on that one. It’s something that not many people have the know-how of how to put their super money into a property, so I thought this would be a good opportunity.”

Convenient investing

A key stand out for Clint, was the Ironfish service, which made the investment process so easy.

“What I’ve appreciated most about investing with Ironfish is probably just the simplicity and the convenience of the process. As I said, prior to dealing with Andrew, I wanted to buy a property, but just didn’t have the know-how to follow through. If you want to invest in Queensland, then how do you go about? Do you engage a buyer’s agent, do you fly over and start looking at random houses- where do you even start in terms of choosing these things?

“The other aspect was co-ordinating some of the aspects of process – for example, I didn’t have to go and look for a solicitor or a broker. I didn’t have to deal with the developer myself around any issues or delays. I could have found those people myself but having those things ready to go was much easier. It’s been a very convenient and easy process.”

Clint’s property investment tips

“My know-how is really limited, but what I would say, for people who are in my sort of circumstances – self-employed or working sufficient time that they don’t have much spare time – it’s a great way of going about it. The process is very convenient. I probably would still be sitting on the sidelines if I hadn’t spoken to Andrew, and he hadn’t talked me through the Ironfish process and how it all works.”

Want to learn more about how our customers are investing for their future? Take a look through our Ironfish customer reviews and stories.

APRA ends 7% serviceability requirement

Getting a mortgage will get easier from today. In good news for property buyers, APRA has today confirmed it will end the serviceability buffer requiring lenders to assess whether their borrowers can afford their mortgage repayments using a minimum interest rate of 7%.

Effective immediately, banks will now merely add 2.5% on top of the loan’s actual interest rate to determine whether the borrower can service the loan.

APRA Charmain Wayne Byres said today that the 7% buffer was no longer necessary.

“A serviceability floor of more than seven per cent is higher than necessary for ADIs to maintain sound lending standards” Mr Byres said in a statement.

Until today, most banks assessed borrowers at 7.25% so this change will have a significant impact on many Australians looking to secure finance for a home or investment property.

interest rate cut

interest rate cut

The announcement comes just days after the RBA announced a second cash rate cut, down to a historic low of 1%.

It’s the first time since 2012 that the RBA has cut interest rates twice in consecutive months.

How much will the average home owner save?

  Old rate (May) New rate (July) Monthly savings Annual savings
CBA 4.77% 4.33% $105 $1,259
Westpac 4.58% 4.18% $94 $1,133
NAB 4.51% 4.07% $103 $1,239
ANZ 4.56% 4.13% $101 $1,215

Source: Rate City, Based on an owner-occupier paying principal & interest repayments on a $400,000 loan on a discounted variable rate with one of the big four banks

“This is welcome news for anyone with a mortgage or looking to finance a new home or investment property,” said Ironfish Head of Property William Mitchell.

“APRA has recognised that there are many people who can afford a loan but were facing a barrier due to the high serviceability requirements. Now with borrowing capacity likely to increase, along with record low interest rates, we see that as positive news for the property markets.”

To stay up to date on the latest property news and updates, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Investment property tax deductions: do depreciation deductions apply to you?

With tax time upon us again, and as we begin a new financial year, we invited one of our property partners: BMT Tax Depreciation to explain the ins and outs of tax depreciation.

Do depreciation deductions apply to your investment property?

Owners of income producing properties are eligible to claim tax deductions for a number of expenses involved in holding a property.

Most investors are aware of some of the deductions they are entitled to claim such as their Property Manager’s fees, council rates and any repairs and maintenance costs.

However, all too often investors are unaware of property depreciation and as such they frequently miss out on the valuable returns these deductions can provide them with when they complete their annual income tax return.

What is depreciation?

Over time, any building and the assets contained within it will experience wear and tear. Legislation allows the owners of any income producing property to claim this wear and tear as a tax deduction called depreciation.

Unlike other expenses involved in holding a property, such as repairs and maintenance for instance, an investor does not need to spend any money to be eligible to claim it.

For this reason, depreciation is often described as a non-cash deduction.

Types of depreciation deductions available

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) clearly defines two types of depreciation allowances available for property investors:

  • Division 43 capital works allowance
  • Division 40 plant and equipment depreciation

Capital works allowance

This refers to what an investor can claim for the wear and tear that occurs to the structure of the property. This includes any structural improvements that may have been made during a renovation.

As a general rule, any residential building where construction commenced after the 15th of September 1987 will entitle their owner to capital works deductions at a rate of 2.5 per cent per year for up to forty years.

Owners of older buildings constructed prior to 1987 should still find out what deductions are available, as often these buildings will have undergone some form of renovation which can result in capital works deductions for the owner.

Plant and equipment depreciation

This refers to the deductions an investor can claim for the wear and tear that occurs to the easily removable fixtures and fittings found within the property.

Some examples include the carpets, blinds, air conditioners, hot water systems, smoke alarms and ceiling fans.

Unlike structural items, no date restrictions apply when claiming depreciation on plant and equipment assets.  Each of the assets is assigned an individual effective life and depreciation rate by which depreciation should be calculated.

* Under legislation outlined in the Treasury Laws Amendment (Housing Tax Integrity) Bill 2017 passed by Parliament on 15th November 2017, investors who exchange contracts on a second-hand residential property after 7:30pm on 9th May 2017 will no longer be able to claim depreciation on previously used plant and equipment assets. Investors can claim deductions on plant and equipment assets they purchase and directly incur the expense for.

Investors who purchased prior to this date and those who purchase a brand-new property will still be able to claim depreciation as they were previously.

Some more BMT resources about this legislation are available here or in this comprehensive White Paper document.

investment property tax deductions

 New tax depreciation changes favour new over second-hand property

Who should you contact to calculate and maximise your deductions?

Often an investor will make the mistake of thinking their Accountant will claim all of the deductions available in their investment property. However, when it comes to depreciation it is important to consult an expert in this area.

Tax Ruling 97/25 recognises Quantity Surveyors as being one of the few selected professionals with the knowledge necessary to estimate construction costs for depreciation purposes.

A specialist Quantity Surveyor will use their skills to provide a depreciation schedule outlining the deductions an investor can claim for any specific property at the end of each financial year. An Accountant will then use the figures outlined in the depreciation schedule when submitting the investor’s individual income tax return at the end of financial year.

How will depreciation help an investor?

The additional funds an investor receives by claiming depreciation can have a significant impact on their available cash flow.

In the 2017/2018 financial year, BMT found investors an average first full financial year depreciation deduction of $8,212.

For obligation free advice on the deductions that are available for any investment property, contact the expert team at BMT Tax Depreciation on 1300 728 726.

  • Article supplied by BMT Tax Depreciation.
  • Bradley Beer (B. Con. Mgt, AAIQS, MRICS, AVAA) is the Chief Executive Officer of BMT Tax Depreciation. 
  • For more info about BMT visit

BMT is one of our preferred property partners and offers special benefits to Ironfish customers. For more details, book in a free appointment with your local Ironfish strategist.

Managing change in the workplace, in business and as an investor

A message from our CEO & Founder, Joseph Chou

When I was a student and arrived at my university – one with a reputation for being the best in the country – I was immediately overwhelmed by how advanced everyone else was compared to me.

They were better students, they came from wealthier families, had more opportunities; they seemed to be ahead of me in every way.

It threw me, and I got a little lost initially. But what I realised was that there was nothing I could change about them. But I could change myself.

So, I looked for something that I was passionate about and that I was good at; for me, it was English. Then I poured all my focus and energy into my study of English.

And though I started the year as one of the slowest students, I ended up as one of the most advanced. The university even started calling on me to interpret when international students or visiting guests came to the campus.

For me this was an important lesson: whether you’re currently behind or currently ahead – you can change that.

If you’re behind, you can work harder, smarter with more energy and focus – and get ahead.

If you’re ahead and become complacent or arrogant – others could catch up or overtake you.

This has helped me with many key decisions over the course of my life. It has inspired me to work harder in rebuilding my life in Australia after giving up my diplomatic career in China. It has also kept my feet firmly on the ground when I’ve achieved success.

The 3 types of people

I read a book recently which categorises people into three distinct categories based on their approach to life or change.

The first group (“Drifters”) believe you can only succeed when conditions are perfect, but whatever the conditions, there is always something stopping them.

The second group (“Millionaires”) are strong enough to take their lives into their hands but believe their success still depends on favourable conditions.

The third group (“Billionaires”) know they have it inside them, and they make it big in business independently of external factors.

Consider Steve Jobs who revolutionised the music industry by convincing record companies to allow him to sell songs individually for 99 cents on iTunes. Jobs needed songs on iTunes to make iPods a success, but at that time music was sold per album rather than per song. He was convinced he could change this model – and given time, he did.

managing change in the workplace

To make iPods a success Steve Jobs changed the music industry by convincing record companies to sell songs individually on iTunes for 99 cents each.

Change is inevitable, growth is optional

The fact is, everything in life is constantly changing. External factors and situations will continue to change – whether you’re ready or not.

On the other hand, the ability to grow and adapt yourself to change is optional. Choosing not to grow and evolve will reflect the results you get. Those who choose to hold onto old beliefs tend to stay on that path for life and plateau. They won’t make any progress.

Sometimes change is happening even when it’s not apparent. We started Ironfish n 2006, a time when people didn’t believe in property investment anymore due to the Sydney and Melbourne market performance. What many of those people didn’t know was that Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide were quietly building up.

But from our experience, we knew the property market is cyclical and each city is in different stages of the cycle. That’s why we set up our business model to be national, so right now, for example, as Sydney cools, we can help our customers to get into Brisbane and other up and coming markets.

When lending tightened for investors, we again had to adapt our strategy to focus on customer service at point of settlement, to help our customers settle their properties successfully.

At tough times when other companies closed shop, we took the opportunity to grow our talent pool.

As the company matured and grew in confidence we became even more selective about which developers to work with, choosing developments that would align with the changing demands and needs of our customers and the market.

And as time went on and we had a strong foundation in property investment, we diversified into mortgage broking and property management, to continue the Ironfish service offering to our customers long-term. Similarly, for a long time I did not want to go into property development, but in order to fill a niche where a certain type of property that our customers wanted in a particular location wasn’t available, we evolved to develop some of our own projects as well.

Now amidst a backdrop of the recent election, US-China trade war and the credit squeeze, Ironfish has again seen a great opportunity to change and we’re right in the middle of embracing this change.

managing change in the workplace

A changing market

As a property investor, having a mindset geared for change is crucial, because you’re working with so many moving parts, for example: a changing market, interest rates – as well as your own personal circumstances.

As an investor you can not expect things to stay the same – as much as we all want a great economy, low interest rates, zero vacancy, the best price, the fastest growth – conditions can never be perfect.

Without preparing for and adapting to change as it happens, you won’t achieve success as an investor.

If you are open to change, prepare your buffer, have a great support team in place, and continue to make yourself more valuable in the workplace (this one is your weapon) you will be able to manage and navigate change successfully, to achieve your long-term property goals.

Change requires work

While change is inevitable, many people prefer not to change because it’s uncomfortable and it feels risky. It’s not easy, it takes work.

Just like your health, if you don’t continue to work at it, eat well, exercise, you won’t be able to get fitter or healthier.

Same for your partnerships and relationships, you need to keep working on them, to keep growing as a person and adapt to new perspectives.

In my career, although I’ve changed jobs and industries, the one constant is that I’ve always been servicing people.

I believe very strongly in adding value in the workplace, as a way of making yourself more valuable. If you believe in your work and you believe in the vision of your company, then as changes occur – new management, a change in role, a requirement to put in longer hours – then you can adapt yourself accordingly. Because if the business needs it, then you need it too.

And if you’re going to have to do it anyway – you may as well do it with a positive attitude rather than being unhappy!

Of course, some things should never change. Your core values, principles and integrity should never be compromised. When I came to Australia, I was prepared to do just about anything to rebuild my life and career – but as long as it was legal, ethical and was in alignment with my own values and beliefs.

It’s also important not to change just for the sake of change – that’s not very smart either.

But embracing change and enacting change can bring positive results – I have seen it firsthand in business, in my career and also as a property investor.

Personally, I love change; change can help push you to grow as a person. Change can help you progress and find greater success and happiness as you stretch and fulfil your potential.  Being willing to change is a willingness to take on a challenge. And I can tell you from experience, it’s well worth the effort.

Joseph Chou is the CEO and Founder of Ironfish. He travels the country speaking about property investment, entrepreneurship and personal development. Find out his next speaking engagement in your city here.


A vision for Woolloongabba: on tour at South City Square

Last week our Sydney teams and CEO flew to Brisbane to tour ‘The Mews’ – a recently completed apartment building by developer Pellicano as part of the South City Square master-planned precinct in Woolloongabba.

Ironfish CEO Joseph Chou touring the rooftop of Pellicano’s ‘The Mews’ in South City Square

South City Square has been planned and designed as a mixed-used development centred around a large green square. Around the green square will be a commercial tower, a luxury Hyatt Place hotel and a series of modern architecturally designed apartment buildings.

At ground level of the apartment buildings is a variety of retail, with a few trendy cafes and restaurants, and the obligatory hipster barber shop already up and running for business. Opening next month is a Club Vitality gym and Salt Meats Cheese.

Further essential retail includes a gourmet deli/grocer ‘The Market Hall’, which opens next year and in 2021, Woolworths, BWS and Priceline pharmacy will open their doors, along with a Reading Cinemas.

In short, the entire area has been carefully created to provide residents with everything they would need and expect for an enviable urban lifestyle. With its many attractions, the precinct is also expected to attract many more Brisbane locals to become a lively go-to destination both day and night.

“We’re not trying to compete with a standalone residential tower. What we’re creating is a true mixed-use precinct” – Michael Kent, Pellicano Development Operations Manager.

So far, three of the residential buildings have been completed: South City 1, New Deshon and The Mews, which Pellicano kindly toured us through last Tuesday.

It’s all in the details

After fuelling up with an excellent coffee downstairs at ‘Tuckshop’, the team headed first through New Deshon, and then on to The Mews. Both are beautiful, but it’s also clear to see the team at Pellicano haven’t been resting on their laurels, always enhancing with each new project.

The Mews foyer makes an immediate impact – a glamorous and elegant affair – think white brick floor tiles – that continue into the lift and velvet sofa.

The apartments themselves have clearly been designed for life; the kitchens not only look premium with their thick, black caesarstone benchtops – they’re also incredibly functional, with plenty of storage and ‘eat-in’ design.

woolloongabba rentals

What we particularly loved though is the intercom / communications panel, which not only provides the usual functionality, it also sends alerts to residents if a parcel is ready for pick up or other notifications. It’s little details and extra services like these that can really make a difference.

Rooftop oasis

The rooftop again blends luxury and elegance with truly functional spaces.

 woolloongabba rentals  

There are plenty of nooks around The Mews rooftop – including around the stunning rooftop pool – where residents can curl up with a book, coffee or meet friends.

woolloongabba rentals

Spaces can be reserved through building management for private parties as well.

50-year-old brand

Pellicano is a developer we’re proud to work with. They’re a privately-owned company that’s over 50 years old, with an ongoing legacy of delivering quality, mixed-use and master planned communities.

They’ve also won nine international property awards, which speaks to their quality and innovation in design and development including:

  • Winner of Asia Pacific Property Awards, Best Mixed-Use Project Australia 2019
  • Winner of Asia Pacific Property Awards, Best Residential Property Australia 2019
  • Winner of Asia Pacific Property Awards, Best Mixed-use Development Australia 2018 – 2019
  • Winner of Asia Pacific Property Awards, Architecture Multiple Residence Australia 2018- 2019
  • Winner of Asia Pacific Property Awards, Residential High-Rise Architecture Australia 2018- 2019
  • Winner of Asia Pacific Property Awards, Residential Property Australia 2018- 2019
  • Best Mixed Use Development Australia 2018 (5 star winner)
  • Best of the Best Award for Best Overseas Residential Project Australia 2017
  • Asia Pacific Best Mixed Use Development Australia 2017

“Another aspect, which shouldn’t be overlooked is that Pellicano is not only the developer of South City Square, they’re also the builders and the property managers.

“This gives us great confidence in their product, given they have been developing in Australia for 50 years, and are retaining an interest in the development by holding onto the property management business. Pellicano have a vested interest in ensuring the ongoing success of the South City Square precinct, and are incredibly motivated to ensure their product meets the highest quality standards possible,” said Ironfish Head of Property, William Mitchell.

Analysis – Woolloongabba rentals

Pellicano Living property managers report strong rental price growth within the Woolloongabba Catchment in recent years.

And despite the fact that the full South City Square vision is still a few more years away from completion, Pellicano Living has managed to achieve rental growth within the development.

woolloongabba rentals

Rental Case Study: Apartment 802, 1 South City

2017 September: Tenant secured within a week of settlement on a 12-month lease.

Rent per week: $380

2018 September: New tenant secured on 6-month lease

Rent per week: $390

2019 February: New tenant secured on 12-month lease

Rent per week: $410

“We think this is a pretty remarkable result considering several parts of the South City Square precinct are yet to be delivered, and much of the retail is yet to come,” said Mr Mitchell.

“Once the Green Square is finished, the gourmet deli moves in next year, Woolworths and the cinemas the year after we expect rents to strengthen further as demand for the precinct grows.”

All properties we recommend to our customers are subject to a rigorous selection and due diligence process by our Property & Research teams. If you’d like to access more of our great properties, like The Mews and New Deshon, please register for our selected properties list.

You can also find more info on the Brisbane market via our latest quarterly market report.   

What does apartment living look like in 2019?

For most Australians who live in an apartment, the experience is pretty similar across the board.

You come home to your building, which is hopefully in decent repair and well presented – although perhaps a little old-fashioned.

You go through a small, unassuming foyer and climb the stairs up to your apartment. The apartment itself has been renovated a bit since it was first built, but it’s still got an outdated layout; that boxed-in kitchen which isn’t very convenient for entertaining or watching the kids while you put on dinner. Windows that could be bigger to bring in more light and views.

If it’s a newer building, you may have a lift, an open-plan layout, and hopefully, an ensuite for the master bedroom. If you’re lucky, you might even have a pool or a gym in the basement. However, neither of these are likely nice enough to allow you to quit your gym membership any time soon.

But despite all this, you love living in your apartment, because it’s so close to buses, trains, shops, restaurants, bars or your work. You barely use your car, you don’t have to do any gardening or worry about any maintenance.

It’s also much more affordable than living in a house on the same street or in the same suburb.

78% growth of apartment households in Australia

The many benefits of apartment living are making this type of housing more popular than ever before.

According to the latest Census, over the past 25 years, the number of occupied apartments in Australia has increased by 78%. Nearly half of these (47%) are in New South Wales, followed by Victoria (23%) and Queensland (17%), mostly concentrated in the capital cities.

With the significant uptake of apartment living, we have also seen many new apartment buildings spring up in our major cities in recent years – though, it’s safe to say, not all of them are created equal.

Amongst the many ‘cookie-cutter’ apartments on offer, there are some that stand out, not simply for the design, detail and quality of the apartment itself, but also for the experience offered holistically for residents within the entire building.

Apartment living redefined

Some of the best developers in Brisbane, for example, are redefining the concept of apartment living. Gone are the days where there were either no resident’s facilities, or just a small pool or gym.

Not only is greater attention paid to the apartments themselves; light, bright, architecturally designed spaces with contemporary lifestyles in mind. The building itself is designed to enable residents to enjoy a 5-star hotel experience.

Our Ironfish Sydney teams took a tour this week of Gurner’s recently completed ‘FV No 1’ apartment building in the Brisbane suburb of Fortitude Valley. An area set for gentrification along the lines of Sydney’s Surry Hills or Kings Cross – with FV itself spearheading much of this change.

Gurner is a brand which exudes luxury, premium, elegance, so before arriving at FV No 1, we were expecting something special. But being able to view the completed building for ourselves provided an insight into how this luxury experience will work in practice for the future residents of the building.

On site at FV No. 1

Setting the scene at ground level at FV No. 1 is the opulent, hotel-like foyer, with private entrance through to ‘Foresters Restaurant & Bar’ a new curated bar and dining experience. On the rooftop at level 6 is the Altitude bar – set to be the ‘Ivy’ of Brisbane’s bar and dining scene.  

The foyer is staffed by the Peppers (property management) Concierge who can facilitate resident’s requests, from dry cleaning to valet parking – much like a hotel, all is possible. And, whether you’re in a one-bedroom or the penthouse, you can enjoy the same 5-star experience.

Upstairs on Level 6, the entire floor is dedicated to exclusive facilities, including a stunning pool, gardens and free, bookable private cinema room. The gym is spacious, with top-end equipment. Yoga classes run in the adjacent yoga studio and a personal trainer can be booked on request. Time to cancel the gym membership.

A special highlight are the private spa rooms, which residents can book for private use or even private parties. The rooms enjoy nice indoor-outdoor flow and are equipped with a flatscreen TV and wine fridge. It can be fully catered by Peppers, or you can bring in your own food and drinks.

Also available for residents is the Business Club, which includes bookable boardrooms, and hot desks equipped with the latest Macs. Residents can book these for free via a convenient app. Freelancers could effectively run a small business, receive and entertain clients all without leaving their home, or paying an additional $450 / month for a Wework hot desk.

FV No 1 residents enjoy further exclusive rooftop facilities – a jaw-dropping wrap-around infinity pool, sun loungers, spa, BBQ areas – all with quite possibly, the best views of the city.

Inside the apartments themselves, natural light abounds through floor-to-ceiling windows, which offer views of the city or hinterland. The quality of the finishes is a stand out; thick, white stone benchtops, luxury tapware, integrated study nooks, floor-to-ceiling glazing and beautiful lighting.

The verdict was clear from our visit – this is an enviable place to live, work and play, and for an investor, its appeal to a premium tenant is obvious.

Of course, premium generally comes with a price tag, and if such an apartment lifestyle was on offer in Sydney, it would be unaffordable for the vast majority of buyers. In Brisbane, however, the price tag can start below $400,000. As Fortitude Valley is at the beginning of its gentrification process, with government spending in place to redevelop the nearby train station ($500 million) and a new high-tech vertical school for the suburb currently under construction – in our experience, there are all the right signals for future potential as well.

Buying off the plan – render vs reality

The fact is, buying off-the-plan can offer much uncertainty to an inexperienced investor around the quality of the finished property. If you’re buying a property before it’s built, how do you know if it’s going to deliver on your expectations? Is it going to be well-built, is it really going to be as beautiful as it looks in the rendersin the brochure?

This uncertainty is one of the reasons why we do what we do here at Ironfish; to help investors or even first home buyers, review new properties on the market, to find one that really stands out for its quality, design, and future potential.

Many, many factors go into our property selection process, so that we can provide more of this kind of certainty to our buyers.

We also ensure our teams get to experience the finished result of the quality of the off the plan properties we have recommended to our investors, like FV No 1. It can also help our strategists to pass on this feedback personally to our investors who may live interstate and are unable to fly over to experience it for themselves.

If your experience or understanding of apartment living in Australia looks and sounds more like the first description than the description of FV No. 1, we highly recommend you take a look firsthand if you are next in Brisbane. It’s easy to say that apartment living has changed radically, and for the better. But seeing, as they say, is believing.

All properties Ironfish recommends to investors undergo a rigorous selection and due diligence process. If you’d like more information about properties, like FV No. 1, please register to access our selected properties list.


Photos: courtesy Gurner

Air Taxis to take off in Melbourne in 2020

Last week Uber announced to the world that the first non-US city to trial its brand-new Uber Air service would be Melbourne, Australia.

The Victorian capital will join US cities Los Angeles and Dallas in a pilot of Uber Air flights, with commercial operations expected to roll out in 2023.

Air Taxis: “same price as an UberX”

The announcement was made at Uber’s Elevate summit in Washington after the deal was sealed with Melbourne Airport, Macquarie Capital, Scentre Group and Telstra.

According to the company, its vision for Uber Air is to transport people around the city for the same cost as an UberX trip over the same distance.

“Australian governments have adopted a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology,” said Uber Australia, New Zealand and North Asia Regional General Manager, Susan Anderson.

“This, coupled with Melbourne‘s unique demographic and geospatial factors, and culture of innovation and technology, makes Melbourne the perfect third launch city for Uber Air.

“We will see other Australian cities following soon after.”

10 minutes to Melbourne Airport

The Air Taxi service is expected to operate similar to a helicopter, except more quietly and efficiently. Passengers will travel in electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft known as VTOLs.

The service will operate via the Uber app, allowing passengers to travel across a network of landing pads called ‘Skyports’.

Given Melbourne’s city-to-airport rail link is still in the development stage, Uber Air offers an appealing interim solution for Melbourne’s commuters until the railway link is built.

“The 19km journey from the CBD to Melbourne Airport can take anywhere from 25 minutes to around an hour by car in peak hour, but with Uber Air this will take around 10 minutes,” Uber Elevate Global Head Eric Allison said.

car sharing australia

Private car ownership: ‘unsustainable’

Uber, which has already achieved market dominance in the ride-sharing market for on-road vehicles, is now looking to pioneer the same service – in the skies. Underlying this market expansion is the company’s belief that in future, people will be less reliant on their own cars.

“As major cities grow, the heavy reliance on private car ownership will not be sustainable,” Mr Allison said at the Elevate Summit.

Alongside Uber’s popularity surge, ride-sharing in other forms has also risen to prominence in our inner capital cities, particularly on the eastern seaboard. Companies like GoGet and Car Next Door are growing their membership base. Car dealers have also entered the market, offering car sharing of new vehicles, in a bid to attract millennials who are driving the shift away from private car ownership.

Holden, for example, launched its ‘Maven’ car sharing service in Australia two years ago, which offers authorised drivers the ability to rent a new car hourly, daily or weekly – and swap different types of vehicles to suit specific needs.

“One of the key benefits of Maven is its capacity to help broaden the appeal of driving for young people, many of whom are apparently less interested in vehicle ownership or getting a licence until later in life,” General Motors, Director of Urban Mobility and Maven Australia Head, Anthony Reimann told SMH.

Ride-sharing – impact on affordability

With multiple alternative options available over and above public transport, many inner-city residents are now willing to forego a car parking space at home.

For studio or 1-bedroom apartment buyers, a parking space can add a significant additional cost to the purchase price as well – impacting affordability.

City of Sydney is currently leading the charge with car-sharing spots. Close behind – and neck and neck – are Sydney’s Inner-west Council and Melbourne City Council.

The Sydney Inner-west council has 80 car spots currently and is working with GoGet to roll out an additional 20 more as part of a pilot program integrating car share with the light rail. It’s one of almost 50 councils GoGet has partnered with.

“If you reduce requirements for parking in new development you increase affordability of housing significantly,” said Sydney Inner-west Council Mayor, Darcy Byrne.

Tesla, Audi car-sharing in Australia

With this shift in mind, more developers are now offering integrated car sharing solutions in new apartment buildings. In Sydney’s Central Park for instance, Domain reports 700 residents, or one in 10, are car-share members utilising about 50 spaces in GoGet SuperPods at the One Central Park and Duo buildings.

Other developers are opting for premium car sharing services exclusive for residents’ use. For example, in Aria Property Group’s ‘The Standard’ apartment development in South Brisbane, residents will be able to rent one of three Teslas for their personal use.

car sharing australia tesla

Residents will be able to car share one of three Teslas in Aria Property Group’s ‘The Standard’ apartment building

Western Australia’s first ever car-sharing service was unveiled as part of Fini Group’s ‘Stirling Cross’ apartment building. Two GreenShareCar Audis are parked at the building, where they can be hired by the hour, inclusive of insurance and petrol costs by Stirling Cross residents.

With Uber’s Air Taxi in the mix of ride-share options, is the future apartment tower also equipped with a resident’s exclusive-use Skyport? Time will tell.

The future of the world’s 2nd most liveable city

According to the Victorian Government, Melbourne was selected by Uber Air following an 18-month process and was chosen for its status as being Australia’s leading tech city, its diverse and talented labour pool and ranking as one of the world’s most liveable cities.

The launch of Uber Air would not only bring a new industry to Melbourne, further contributing to the city’s economy and appeal, it may also have broader implications for the types of property people choose to live in or buy. A trend we will continue to watch closely.

“We’re thrilled that Melbourne has been chosen to partner with Uber Elevate to help start, nurture and grow what could become a new industry, revolutionising travel across the world,” said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

“The future of transport is coming to Melbourne, giving us a flying start to capitalise on new opportunities that emerge as this industry takes off.”

Want to find out what makes Melbourne one of most liveable cities in the world? Download our latest quarterly report.


Queensland Budget: infrastructure spending continues

Queensland’s 2019/2020 State Budget, unveiled by Treasurer Jackie Trad earlier this week, confirmed the state’s continuing investment in major infrastructure.

The Budget includes a $13 billion capital works program which will directly support 40,500 jobs across Queensland (and 15,000 in Greater Brisbane).

queensland jobs

Source: Queensland Government, Jun 2019

queensland economy

Source: Queensland Government, Jun 2019

“Through this budget, the Palaszczuk government is choosing to stay the course,” Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad said.

“We choose to continue our strategy of investing in jobs and in front-line services to meet the needs of our growing state.”

According to the Queensland Government, the State’s population grew by more than 86,000 in the last 12 months. This increase was the highest annual rise in more than five years.

In addition to major spending on roads and public transport, the Queensland Government is budgeting $19.2 billion for health, which will also help support healthcare and social assistance jobs growth.

A total $957 million has been allocated this year, to expand the Caboolture, Ipswich, and Logan hospitals.

In news for property investors, the Budget also unveiled changes to land taxes. For companies and trustees with landholdings worth more than $5 million, land taxes will increase by 0.25 cents for every dollar over $5 million.

The land tax on foreign companies and foreign trusts will be increased from 1.5% to 2%.

For more of the latest info about the Queensland property market, feel free to contact your local strategist or subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Can a book really change your life? It did for Aidan

Here at Ironfish, we are proud to practice what we preach. Many of our staff are property investors themselves, and have kindly agreed to share their individual stories and their own personal property investment tips. 


Aidan Zhu

Ironfish Brisbane Senior Property Strategist

“I started with a $50,000 deposit and now I’ve got a $6 million portfolio working for me while I sleep. Knowing that I will have the income from this portfolio makes me feel very confident and secure about my financial future.”


  • Migrated from China
  • Former small business owner turned sales consultant
  • Joined Ironfish as a strategist in 2013
  • Portfolio of 8 properties with total value of $6 million

Reluctant migrant

In 2009, when his wife Irene first proposed the idea of migrating from China to Australia, Aidan Zhu refused. His wife worked for a global 500 company, spoke great English and was ready to take on the world. Aidan had a modestly successful smart home business and very little English.

“It seemed a pity to give up on my business which was heading in the right direction. And without English, the idea of building a new life in a strange land seemed too difficult to comprehend.

“However, Irene was determined to apply for a skilled migrant visa, which was accepted. She moved to Australia, but I continued on with my business in China.”

The power of a great story

In 2010, Aidan made a trip to Australia, and this time Irene had some news for him.

“Irene was really excited. She said she’d met someone who would interest me. He was formerly a Chinese diplomat, a graduate from the top university in China, and built a new life and a successful business from scratch in Australia.

“Irene was of course, speaking about Joseph [Ironfish CEO and Founder]. She bought a copy of his book ‘From Bicycles to Bentleys’ and asked me to read it.

“As soon as Irene left for work that day, I took myself to the park and read the book from beginning to end in one go. Joseph’s career path inspired me tremendously and made me determined to try to set up a meeting with him.”

brisbane property consultant

Aidan pictured with his wife Irene and Ironfish Brisbane customers Eric and Mandy

Good career advice

After some time, Aidan heard Joseph was on a business trip to our Beijing office, and made a special trip up north to meet up with him.

“Joseph listened to what I had to say, and my dilemma about working or migrating with Irene to Australia and he quickly gave me some very useful and honest career advice. He told me that Australia is a pretty fair society. If you work hard, you will get something back. However, many industries are already very competitive. So if you want an opportunity you’ll need to work harder than most people, or do something that others don’t want to do.

“He also told me fairly bluntly that my lack of employment experience in Australia, coupled with my poor English skills would make me fairly unemployable. He said that sales would be a possibility, but that I’d need to work hard on my English.”

Door-to-door salesman

The conversation with Joseph gave Aidan the direction he’d been searching for. Previously, when he’d asked his friends for career advice when moving to Australia, they’d suggested going to TAFE or doing odd jobs, which didn’t sound that great.

“Sales was actually very much in line with what I was doing with my small business in China, and I love dealing with people on a daily basis – so it made sense. It gave me more confidence about my future life in Australia.”

In November 2011, Aidan gave up his life and business in China, and landed in Brisbane – the same year, Irene started working in Ironfish. In order to improve his sales and communications skills, Aidan joined a sales business, selling electricity services door-to-door. A year later, after wearing out the soles of many pairs of shoes and trimming down a couple of belt holes, Aidan went from someone who could barely manage a sentence in English to team sales champion.

Approaching investing like a ‘business’

At the end of 2012, Aidan met up with Joseph again at an Ironfish event. Joseph was impressed by Aidan’s commitment, growth and achievements and offered him a job to come and work at Ironfish as a strategist, which Aidan accepted.

“Coming on board as a strategist, meant comprehensive training – not only in terms of servicing customers, but about investing in property in Australia. What I learned very quickly from Joseph is that building wealth requires a two-pronged approach. Firstly, to work hard in your career to progress and grow your income. The second aspect is to invest and build up a portfolio of assets. And you need to treat these assets like a business. Think about it as if you’re going into business with the bank – they put up most of the money and you pay it back, mostly with the help of your tenants and potentially a bit of help from the tax system. You just need to ensure you can hold onto the asset for the long term.

“This analogy made a lot of sense to me. As a new migrant, especially, it’s not easy to save $1 million based off what you earn from your job. But by using leverage, investing in the right properties, and holding onto them long enough – it becomes a possibility.”

brisbane property consultant

Aidan and his wife Irene, pictured with their customers at the Ironfish Brisbane Christmas party in 2018

From $50K to a $6 million portfolio

At Ironfish we are proud to ‘practice what we preach’ and Aidan is no exception. After joining Ironfish in 2013, Aidan quickly set himself a goal of building a $5 million property portfolio. Beginning with a $50,000 deposit, and using the Ironfish investment strategy, Aidan has since managed to build a portfolio of eight properties, with a total value of $6 million.

“Now, I’ve got a $6 million portfolio working for me while I sleep. Knowing that I will have the income from this portfolio makes me feel very confident and secure about my financial future.

“My hands-on experience has also helped me understand how others like me can achieve the same results. I now have many customers who are Chinese immigrants like myself, professionals who work across different industries. For me, it’s not just about helping them build their property portfolio, it’s about exchanging ideas about wealth, business, growth. That’s what so fulfilling – and it’s exactly what Ironfish did for me.

“Now when I look back on my uncertainty and hesitation in moving to Australia, it strikes me that your starting point isn’t as important as the turning point in your life. For me, if I hadn’t read Joseph’s book, if I hadn’t taken the bullet train to Beijing to meet Joseph, if I hadn’t chosen a tough job as a door-to-door salesman – I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Aidan’s property investment tip

Many people are slow to start investing, mainly because they’re trapped by their own thinking. Ironfish taught me that everything is possible, you simply have to dare to dream big, have a go and make sure you find the right people to help you get there!

What makes this 36-year-old multi-millionaire so well-respected in the industry?

You won’t find him on any rich lists – not because he doesn’t belong there, but because Tim Forrester, Aria Property Group’s CEO & Founder, prefers to travel under the radar.

In addition to being one of the (quietly) wealthiest individuals in Australia, Tim Forrester runs a billion-dollar property development company which has single-handedly transformed South Brisbane / Fish Lane into a vibrant destination precinct.

The company’s last three developments have won the national award for best high-density development at the UDIA industry awards. It can well be argued, that Tim numbers amongst the best developers in Australia – no mean feat for someone still in their 30s.

best brisbane apartment

Earlier this year, Oxley + Stirling by Aria Property Group took out top national honours at the UDIA industry awards

Aria and Ironfish have been working together for several years, and many of our investors would already be familiar with Aria’s dedication to quality in design and build, along with its signature rooftop clubs and exclusive resort-style facilities available for residents.

Tim was kind enough to come in to Ironfish North Sydney offices, for an intimate Q&A session with Ironfish CEO & Founder, Joseph Chou as part of our new ‘CEO Talks’ series of events. These events are designed to inspire as well as educate – enabling attendees to gain valuable insights into the life and mindset of highly successful people in business. 

As the evening unfolded it was easy to see not only why Tim has become one of the most successful in his industry, but also why he’s so well-liked and respected.

best apartments brisbane


Anyone can head to Aria’s website to see their company mission – ‘creating iconic projects that we’re proud to walk our families past in 20 years’ time’. But what does this really mean? Tim said his dad taught him from an early age, that while money will come and go, the only thing left behind will be your reputation.

“Money is important in business, of course. But it’s not the driving force in Aria, for us it’s about leaving a legacy. Whether we’re making a decision about tapware, or the restaurant we put underneath a building – we ask ourselves, is this something we’re going to be proud of in 20 years?”

$2 for tuckshop

Tim is the son of Rod and Jan Forrester, his father well-known for founding prominent property development company FKP Limited. Despite growing up in a successful family, Tim’s parents ingrained in him a strong work ethic.

“Mum and Dad started out living in a caravan park in Mooloolaba. They always expected us to work hard. When I was a kid, I remember coming home one day and I asked dad for $2 to buy my lunch at the tuckshop, like some of my friends. My dad said: ‘Sure, I’ll give you $2 for tuckshop, but you’re going to have work for it. You’ll need to wash the car first!”

The power of entrepreneurship

Tim started his first business at the age of 17. He bought a mobile coffee cart for $6,500 and got himself a spot at the Woodford Folk Festival. He made $21,000 in a week.

“That was my first experience of having my own business, but we worked hard – 15/16 hours a day. Everyone I know who has been successful in business, always worked harder, always worked longer, particularly in their 20s, like me, before kids. The harder you work, the luckier you will be.”

best apartments brisbane

The luck of timing

Tim’s first ‘pot of gold’ came from property; he bought two properties in Brisbane off-the-plan, both of which doubled in value by the time they came to settle.

“I just thought, wow – how good is this? This is the best thing ever, why wasn’t I doing this before? But little did I know, that growth had been building for the past 10-15 years. I just happened to get lucky with timing. I realised soon after that property investment is a long-term investment. Sydney took 14 years to double, not two years. It’s easy to forget that. I expect Brisbane will be flat for another 12 months, and then we’ll start seeing some growth.”


With three kids under five, how does Tim balance a billion-dollar company with raising a young family?

“I never want to be one of those parents who looks back and thinks I should’ve done this or that. I look at my son and feel like I blinked and he went from being a baby to 5 years old. I don’t want to miss out on this time with them. So basically, my alarm goes off at 4:30am and all I want to do is roll over and go back to bed. But I get up, train, and then I aim to get into work by 6/6:30am so I can get home by 5pm to spend time with the kids. (I also tend to be in bed by 9:30pm!). At the end of the week, I often analyse how I could have freed up time – several minutes here or there, so as not to make those mistakes again. Getting up earlier really does help you buy yourself more time.”

Financial freedom

As a final question, Joseph asked Tim, what does it feel like to be financially free – given that many of our investors are working towards this goal.

“Financial freedom doesn’t solve all your problems, but it does give you more freedom to choose your dreams, and spend more time with family and friends. Also, the ability to give. We have recently established the Forrester Foundation which aims to assist disadvantaged young children and address the impact of social media, particularly on teenagers. It’s good to be able to support something that’s important to you.”

With thanks to Aria Property Group CEO, Tim Forrester.

CEO Talks run quarterly at our North Sydney office. Our next guest CEO is Will Deague, CEO of Deague Group.

For the latest seminar listings, property news and updates, please subscribe to our monthly newsletter. 

RBA cuts rates to record low 1.25%

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has today cut the cash rate by 25 basis points to a new record low 1.25%. This marks the first move in the official interest rate since August 2016.

The RBA noted that the cut was delivered to help “support employment growth and provide greater confidence that inflation will be consistent with the medium-term target.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg yesterday advised executives at the nation’s big four banks that the government expects them to pass on in full any cash rate cut from the Reserve Bank.

If Banks do pass on the full rate cut, a typical investor with a $400,000, 30-year investment loan will see their mortgage repayments fall by $57/month or $684/year. (Assuming current interest rate of 4%).

RBA cash rates 1991- present


Boost for the markets

Today’s rate cut is expected to bolster property markets, with the RBA noting improvements to auction clearance rates in certain markets, which have already taken place.

The decision to cut rates will likely continue to support the property market moving forward and help to stimulate continued economic, jobs and wages growth.

The RBA expects that the national economy would grow by 2.75% in 2019 and 2020.

Much of the growth would be underpinned by record levels of infrastructure investment as well as positive movements in the mining sector.

In terms of employment, the RBA noted that jobs growth has been robust over the past year, with labour force participation noticeably increasing. At the same time, the unemployment rate had been trending at 5% consistently for some months, however edged slightly higher to 5.2% in April 2019.

The rate cut should help to see a pickup in wages growth which has begun to improve, albeit slowly.

Want to find how this may impact your property investment portfolio? Book a free appointment with one of our property investment strategists. 

Stay up to date on the latest property investment and market news by subscribing to our monthly newsletter.

Confidence returns to the market post-election

A message from our CEO & Founder, Joseph Chou

Two weeks out from the Coalition victory and the overwhelming response from customers, colleagues, developers, business associates, financiers, has all been very positive, and it has been a welcomed result for the property industry and property investors.

Compared to other developed nations, the Australian economy has been running stronger than most. The current Government has almost returned the budget to surplus and this economic stability is likely one of the reasons why the Coalition won.

The return of the Morrison Government also brings back certainty for many Australians. With Labor advocating for change on many fronts, there was some concern and doubt about Labor’s ability to deliver those change as well as the potential implications of those changes.

For example, Labor’s proposal to change negative gearing scared a lot of people and certainly spooked some property values in the last 18 months. For new buyers, it also raised concerns around potential negative equity in future.

Now that these concerns are alleviated, and no change is expected, business is back to usual. Those who believed in property continue to have faith in the market. 

election property market

With no change to negative gearing; stability in government; and the economy expected to continue positively, this could potentially lead to even lower unemployment rates, or even wage increases, all of which can help people to sustain their property investments. These factors contribute to higher levels of confidence, and we’ve seen that return to the market already. Just last week we held a seminar in Sydney after the election and we received double the number of bookings we were expecting. To me, this is another sign of confidence and interest in the market.

New Government policy

There are also new policies proposed by the Morrison Government, which we would expect to have a positive impact on the market. Just prior to the election, for example, the Liberals proposed a First Home Buyers Scheme, which would enable people to purchase with only a 5% deposit. This is something many people expect to add pressure, especially to the affordable end of the market.

Ironfish has developments across the country, and while we’re keen to support people to build up some assets, we’re also helping people get into their first home as well. So, we’re excited about our contribution to that.

The newly re-elected government is also very pro-building; with billions in infrastructure investment across the country. Every major capital city is going through major infrastructure projects and transformation, the scale of these projects will help strengthen the economy further.

One thing I’ve been emphasising to people lately, is that the Liberal government is very pro-enterprise, supportive of people who take risks, work hard at building a new business. This ‘philosophy’ can help more people feel confident to step out of their comfort zone, to take risks, innovate, have a go at bringing their ideas to life.

I have a strong belief that a country can only go forward, when it encourages its people to have dreams. When a country stops dreaming of growth, and is purely focussed on redistributing what’s already there, then the potential for growth is stifled.

One of the reasons why I love Australia so much is that it gives everyone a fair go. Here, you can have the opportunity to go out and pursue your dreams and know that you can always pick yourself up – as we have a great society that can support people when they’re in need. It’s easy to underestimate the impact of this.

Credit squeeze loosened

Coupled with the election results, we also received some good news immediately afterwards. APRA has now talked with more certainty around a reduction in lending restrictions; giving people greater purchasing power. There are also further indications of potential rate cuts by the RBA – all of which adds to the current excitement around the markets.

With the credit market being so very tight, alongside a growing Australian population, a shortage of housing supply is expected by 2021. Typically, it takes around three years to turn around a residential property development – perhaps even longer. So there will be a period of time in the near to medium term where things will be good for people who already own properties!

I’m not saying there will be another boom in Sydney and Melbourne as a result of all these factors, but there is at least a lot more confidence in the market again, which can also contribute to the overall economy.

election property market RBA

Positive media

In the last couple of weeks, it’s hard not to have noticed the many positive news headlines for the property market – even Sydney and Melbourne. The reality is that there are a lot of people who are guided by the media, or who have been sitting on the sidelines to see what would happen after the election. People know that the media tends to be quite negative, so when even newspapers are being positive – it’s a strong statement. It’s been quite refreshing, from my point of view, that the media have had to report some good news for a change!

2019 property strategy

For investors who have been taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, to me there are three very clear takeaways from the events of the last two weeks.

    1. If the credit squeeze is loosened and banks are already reducing rates, it means money is as cheap as ever, and potentially may even become cheaper. If people need to borrow money to build future assets, it makes a lot of sense to borrow money when it’s really cheap, rather than when it’s really expensive. We’re in this almost unprecedented time, when people can use leverage – i.e. the bank’s money – to build their future nest egg.


  1. In my opinion, there are now opportunities in a few markets. For example, Melbourne apartments, which underperformed in the current cycle, after playing catch up off the back of some great new planning rules and population growth. From my experience, the market cycles are working the same as they have been over the last few decades.We also see very strong signs in the South East Queensland market due to interstate migration and the relative affordability there. With Brisbane and the Gold Coast especially, I feel that for investors who go in there now, there will be a good chance for growth in the foreseeable future. All the infrastructure going in will be completing in the next 5 years. Interstate migrants who came in 18 months ago and started out renting, will in the next 12 months be looking to buy. Investors who made money in Sydney and Melbourne are continuing to go there – especially for premium product that appeals to owner occupiers – the type that Ironfish recommends to our buyers, a mixture of house and land as well as apartments.

    Interestingly, I did a seminar in Perth on the 16th of May, which had an overwhelming show up – we were hoping to get about 80 at most, but over 100 people showed up, some forced to stand in the cold as the venue only held 80. That shows me also the market is simmering a little there, as we have been telling our investors recently.ironfish perth
    An overwhelming attendance at a recent Ironfish Perth event

  2. The last thing I would emphasise, is to take a long-term approach to your property investment strategy. Because irrespective of governments and what’s happening outside, many people will still have to face the reality of not having enough to support themselves – whether at retirement or due to illness or other factors. If they don’t have other assets, or not enough super, they will face a challenge – whether they want to face that reality or not. So now is a good time to put some plans in place, gather a team of professionals, put a strategy together, make a commitment, and start doing something because it’s never going to get easier.

Regardless of when you decide to do something, you will always have to face the pressure and discomfort of making a decision. The ability to trust other people, the inconvenience of having to do things – all of that isn’t going to go away if you postpone it a year or two.

So, don’t think of property as an opportunistic investment, it is a long-term investment.

In the short term, however, what we know is that Scott Morrison’s election win has also won him the support of the Liberal party, giving him some freedom to run the country as he wants to. I know him from his time on the Property Council of Australia, and from when he was Treasurer, to be someone who is pro-building; a do-er, not a talker.

I think people should take advantage of all the good things that are happening – a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, as they say. If you’ve been waiting for a sign, then it’s time to get started; if you don’t get started, you’ll never get started.

Joseph Chou is the CEO & Founder of Ironfish and a highly seasoned property investor.

He shares his thoughts on the Ironfish blog at the end of each month and also travels regularly across Australia speaking at various events, workshops and property investment seminars.

To book your seat at his next speaking engagement, visit our property investment seminars page.

Trains, planes and 200,000 jobs – the future of Sydney’s south-west

As Sydney’s north-western residents this week enjoy the fruition of years of planning, development and construction in the launch of Sydney Metro North-west – the project, in many ways represents just the beginning of big infrastructure set to transform Sydney’s west over the next decade.

From West Connex, expected to open later this year to the Parramatta Light Rail set to open in 2023 to the West’s headline project: the Western Sydney Airport which is expected to be complete in 2026. These projects signal big changes for the north- and south-west and highlight the NSW Government’s continuing focus on big spending to support this growing region.

$5.3 billion Nancy Bird-Walton Airport

Over the coming decades, residents and workers in Western Sydney will benefit from easy access to strong local and international connections and a 24-hour economy centred around the new Western Sydney Airport.” – NSW Government

Arguably the next most anticipated infrastructure project of Sydney’s west is the $5.3 billion Western Sydney Airport – recently named the ‘Nancy Bird-Walton Airport’ after Australia’s first female pilot licensed to carry passengers.

Earth moving works started in September last year; power lines have come down and the Baderys Creek ‘Harbour Bridge (without the harbour)’ has begun construction. A $3.6 billion roads package is underway to support anticipated demand around the airport, including the $509 million upgrade to Bringelly Road (which borders Leppington). There are also plans for a new M12 Motorway, which is expected to commence construction in the early 2020s, and once complete, will link directly into the M7 Motorway from the future Western Sydney Airport. 

Western Sydney Airport construction underway

EOIs are now being sought for the new terminal design of the airport, which is being built on a land size roughly twice as large as Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport. Once complete, it will be a full-service international airport. It will generate more than 11,000 jobs in the construction phase, and a further 27,000 jobs in the first five years of operation.

200,000 jobs to come

Immediately south of the new airport is the NSW Government’s ‘South West Growth Area,’ a region forecasted to generate over 200,000 jobs, over the next 20 years. Most of these jobs will be centred within the new ‘Western Sydney Aerotropolis.’

The Aerotropolis will be located in the suburb of North Bringelly. It will establish a new high-skill jobs hub across aerospace and defence, manufacturing, healthcare, freight and logistics, agribusiness, education and research industries.

Recommended corridors for the North South Rail Link and South West Rail link extension

leppington western sydney

Source: NSW Government

$7 billion North South Rail Link

To provide public transport links to the airport, both federal and state governments have committed to jointly funding an initial $7 billion for Stage 1 of the North South Rail Link. This rail line will run from St Marys to Badgerys Creek and is expected to open ahead of the 2026 completion date for the Western Sydney Airport.

Investigations are also underway to develop a full North South Rail Link from Schofields to Macarthur as well as a South West Rail Link to connect Leppington to the Western Sydney Airport via an interchange at the new Aerotropolis.

The only train station

In 2015, Leppington Station was unveiled to the public. This train station is the only station that currently sits within the South West Growth Area – one of the fastest growing areas of Sydney.

Leppington station – then and now

Leppington is just a couple of suburbs away from the new airport and Aerotropolis and benefits from being a step ahead in terms of existing infrastructure – facilitating easy connections to all three Sydney CBDs

“As this week’s roll out of Sydney Metro shows, the completion of major infrastructure projects can be truly transformative for a region. For South-west Sydney, undoubtedly, the Western Sydney Airport project will be a once-in-a-generation project with flow on effects for neighbouring suburbs. The tens of billions of dollars being spent is going to be amazing to watch over the next decade, and this will absolutely have a profound effect on the desirability of the area”  said Ironfish Head of Property, William Mitchell.

“It ticks a lot of boxes for us in terms of showing long-term potential.”

Want to stay up to date on what’s happening in North- and South-Western Sydney growth areas? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter or download our quarterly market reports.