Larry Schlesinger | 17 December 2012

Stick to bricks and mortar: Harry Triguboff’s advice to investors as he prepares for a busy 50th year in property game

Australia’s elder statesman of apartment development, Harry Triguboff, has no plans to retire as he prepares for his 50th year in the property market and says bricks and mortar remains the soundest form of investment.

The Meriton boss, who turns 80 next year, says he has dabbled in the stock market, but says it is very unpredictable.

“I still believe that bricks and mortar are the strongest investment,” he tells the inaugural edition of StrataCall magazine, an offshoot of the stratalive.com.au website.

“Investing in property is simpler, safer and far more straightforward and logical."

Triguboff says now is “a perfect time" for first homeowners and investors to purchase property and describes the decision as “really a very easy equation’.

2013 is likely to be a busy year for Harry Tribugoff and Meriton following its acquisition of six sites across Sydney this year at a combined cost in excess of $200 million.

The sites have the capacity for 2,000 apartments worth around $1.3 billion.

Meriton remains debt free, but Triguboff says this is not a good thing, though he sympathises with other developers who have struggled to manage their debts due to the economic downturn.

“Trying to grow too fast and carry huge debt is OK when the banks are not nervous; but once they start pulling in the purse strings, it takes very little for the whole deck of cards to come tumbling down,” he says.

Were Meriton to carry some debt, Triguboff says this would be a good sign that development approvals are going through, land is becoming available and Meriton is in a position to build.

“If you ever hear I am carrying debt, it will be very good news for the property market,” he says.

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