Sydney's Westend backpacker hotel sells to domestic buyer

Sydney, 18 May 2015 – ​A Melbourne group has bought the Westend backpackers' hotel in Sydney's CBD for $19 million and plans to refurbish it and to turn it into a hotel.

The buyer from Victoria, who was not named, was one of 300 parties who asked about the backpacker hotel at 412 Pitt Street during the on-market campaign.

CBRE Hotels' Andrew Jackson and Rob Cross negotiated the sale and said interest in the hotel was phenomenal, thanks to high occupancy levels and little new supply planned in the city.

"We received a staggering 300-plus inquiries and took over 45 groups through the hotel over the course of the campaign, resulting in 13 offers to purchase being received," Mr Jackson said.

The shortlist was made up of mainly offshore groups from mainland China and Malaysia.

The hotel, in the southern precinct of the Sydney CBD, has 86 rooms over 13 levels. It is run now under the Nomads brand as a 359-bed backpacker hotel. It was a rare opportunity to buy a freehold accommodation asset in the CBD with vacant possession.

The buyer intends to reposition the hotel as a "limited service hotel offering to take advantage of the strong Sydney hotel market fundamentals," according to CBRE.

"Strong demand levels in Sydney have produced consistently high occupancies and escalating hotel average daily rates (ADRs). With minimal new supply mooted in the short term, occupancies are likely to remain high with positive ADR growth," Mr Cross said.

"This strong trading outlook is drawing huge interest from both domestic and offshore buyers, with Asian buyers having been particularly active in the first quarter of this year. This is driving the strong pricing being achieved for hotel assets in strong centres such as Sydney."

Sydney and Melbourne in particular are doing very well, with occupancy reaching record levels and room rate growth, according to CBRE's latest Hotel Trends for the Asia Pacific report.

But most hotels are being purchased by foreign investors.

"Asian buyers were particularly active in Australia in Q1 2015 and completed a number of sizeable deals. Prices hit new highs, supported by the shortage of saleable good quality and well located assets," the report said.

About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (in terms of 2013 revenue).  The Company has approximately 44,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through approximately 350 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.