Harry Triguboff sees caravan parks as solution to housing crisis
The Australian Business Review
Turi Condon
20 April 2017

Harry Triguboff says mobile home parks could meet rental demand. Picture: Adam Yip

Billionaire Harry Triguboff is looking at large tracts of land in Sydney’s west with a view to taking his Meriton Group into a venture he last tried 30 years ago: mobile home parks.

The group has investigated sites in the Penrith area, Mr Triguboff told The Australian, with a view to establishing the business.

Mobile home parks in outer suburbs could offer a fast, short-term solution to Sydney’s lack of housing supply and affordability problem, Mr Triguboff said.

In its apartment business, Meriton would settle more than $1.3 billion of unit sales this financial year, building around 1500 apartments, he said.

“I’m very bullish because demand is strong, and others may not be able to get the money to develop,” Mr Triguboff said.

While unit prices were flat in Sydney, rents continued to edge up. However rents in Brisbane’s oversupplied apartment market had fallen by around 15 per cent over the past year, but the units were still leasing up, Mr Triguboff said.

The group still had an appetite to buy new sites and while land prices had fallen in Brisbane, in Sydney where Meriton continues to expand, prices had not dropped, he said.

Meriton last developed mobile home parks in the 1980s with Mr Triguboff saying he had developed about 700 caravan sites in three Sydney locations.

However rising land prices at the time saw the properties used for housing and the caravans sold off.

“This is not my business, but I would do it if they (planning authorities) would let me,” Mr Triguboff said, noting that co-operation would be needed from state and local governments given land would need to be rezoned. “Thirty years ago I built caravan parks. There is a demand for cheap homes, but you need unzoned land.”

Demand for housing would increase on the back of population growth, with Sydney and Melbourne seeing the biggest influx, Mr Triguboff said.

Meriton was hoping to double is workbook next financial year, building about 3000 apartments.

However, the approval process from councils in Sydney was still slow. Rather than new site approvals, Mr Triguboff said increases to density allowances around rail and infrastructure would add to his inventory.

Meanwhile, Mr Triguboff has continued to sell his older apartments, divesting more than 300 units recently, including 200 in Sydney’s inner-city Ultimo.

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