The West

Saffron Apartments, East Perth.
Saffron Apartments, East Perth.

The resources boom has been a key driver in the construction of nearly 30 residential skyscrapers in Perth's east end, helping turn the city into a residential hub for the first time.

The Finbar Group, which built most of the towers, enjoyed a perfect boom-time storm through a combination of free-flowing finance and an influx of workers.

Chief operations officer Ronald Chan said that astute investors had ready access to credit at the height of the boom and resource workers were eager for the lock-up-and-leave lifestyle.

"We have to sell 50 per cent of our apartments off the plan to obtain finance, so the faster we achieve those sales, the faster we can build," he said.

"We noticed that apartment developments began selling out within a week from about 2004." Most of Finbar's 25 residential developments in the city's east end were built between 2004 and 2009.

The rate of sales - and consequently the construction of new towers - slowed after the credit crunch of 2009 but did not stop.

Diploma builders have also built two apartment complexes in the east end in recent years, taking the number of new and upcoming apartments blocks in the area to nearly 30.

"There is more land available in the east end of the city but we have to wait for people to sell it," Mr Chan said.

Lisa Joyce, of Joyce Property, said the east end residential development had completely changed Perth city and the way people lived.

Some resource companies had rented up to 40 apartments in individual towers for their imported staff. The expatriate workers were prepared to pay $1100 a week for a two-bedroom apartment with parking and river views but they were not prepared to put up with poor furnishings or substandard apartment services.

"The boom has helped bring rental apartments up to a corporate standard," she said.

Kim Macdonald

The West Australian

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