Is The Block the world’s worst development?

Washington Brown has crunched the numbers on The Block’s latest development in Melbourne’s inner-city bayside suburb of Port Melbourne, and something just doesn’t add up.

 From a financial point of view the development, which consisted of transforming a 1920s art deco building into a luxury apartment block, was one of the worst he has ever seen.

While I understand the magic of television, Channel 9 has outdone David Copperfield in creating the illusion of a profit to the public!  Depreciation Quote Schedule

Let’s look at the numbers:

According to reports Channel 9 bought the site for around $5 million, which allowed for 6 apartments. Only 5 were sold on TV and for calculation purposes let’s say the acquisition costs is $4.2 million.

The construction cost and depreciation allowances totalled over $11 million, for the 5 apartments alone.

That’s $15.2 million alone in construction and acquisition costs.

It’s worth noting that under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 the initial vendor (ie. the developer) has an obligation to pass on the actual costs of construction to the purchaser, where the costs are known.

Let’s not forget there’s then a variety of other costs involved in buying and selling, and undertaking a property development, including:

Whilst some of these costs may have been avoided due to contra deals, the bulk would have to be outlaid by Channel 9. Depreciation Calculator

I estimate these additional costs to conservatively be $2 million, which brings the total cost to $17.2 million.

The Block’s total sales realised just a little over $12 million, leaving the development in the red by around $5 million, yet it has been indicated that profits of up to $715,000 were made by the contestants.

That something David Copperfield would be in awe of.

You know it’s the peak of the market when reality TV shows are pulling rabbits out of a hat to show a profit.

Whilst the contestants may have walked away with some ‘profit’, if the numbers are to be believed as shown on the show that development was a stinker.

The worry is these shows give an unrealistic expectation to would be budding renovators.

About Tyron Hyde

Tyron Hyde is a director of quantity surveying firm Washington Brown. He is regarded as one of the industry's leading experts in property tax depreciation, is regularly quoted in the media & asked to speak at conferences. -