Buyer confidence in purchasing off the plan is now at an all-time high, according to the leading advocate for Australia’s $600 billion property industry, the Property Council of Australia.
“It’s now an established practice in the market and buyers have become astute about asking the right questions to understand what’s on offer,” says NSW executive director, Glenn Byres.
“Now we have a situation of high confidence mixed with high demand, together with the knowledge of what constitutes good-quality product.”
Certainly, when reputable developers unveil plans for new buildings in sought-after locations, there is often a huge rush for the pick of the apartment crop.
In Bondi Junction, for example, Lindsay Bennelong Developments, the company behind the successful Advanx complex in Rushcutters Bay, has been overwhelmed with inquiries about its proposed 133-apartment building, VUE. With its sales launch set for February 22 for the first release of 104 units, callers have been 60 per cent intended owner-occupiers, mostly downsizers and upgraders, and 40 per cent prospective investors.
“People are more used to the process now,” says Lindsay Bennelong development director David Flanagan. “And we’ve completed some good projects and have a great builder, Hutchinson, so people have confidence.”
The 18-level curved tower, designed by architects Daryl Jackson Robin Dyke, with interiors by Smart Design Studio, will have views towards the city, Opera House and harbour, and can never be built out.
Strata levies will be low, as the only communal facility is a heated, infinity-edged pool and sundeck on the sixth floor, and the Bondi Junction interchange is within 300 metres.
It will be the second major new development since recent rezoning. The first, the 20-storey Capitol by Legacy Property, almost sold out in its first weekend of sales last September. A third is coming up from Leighton Properties.
“We’ve had a lot of inquiry from people living in older buildings in the area, as they’d like something new and feel it will be a good investment,” says project marketer Tony McGinley of R&W Projects.
At Central Park on Broadway, the demand for apartments rose as soon as the first two buildings on the 5.8-hectare site took shape, and customers understood what the $2 billion mixed-use Frasers Property-Sekisui House development would look like.
“I think people also appreciated that we’d gathered a collection of outstanding designers and we’re getting notoriety for our public art works,” says Paul Lowe, Frasers’ director of sales.
“We’re known for quality and excellence of design, and we have strong repeat purchasers.” While about 90 per cent of the apartments released have been sold, there are still a number of units left.
Similarly, Crown International has always emphasised its own concern for quality and attention to detail in its developments. With its $309 million, 29-storey tower, V by Crown, in Parramatta, a central feature is set to become the remains of part of the state’s first penal settlement, discovered during site excavation.
When the foundations of the 1840s convict hut, wheelwright’s workshop and the cellar of a local hotel were uncovered, the design of the 519-apartment building was hastily rejigged to keep the remnants intact, so they could be showcased under the floor of the lobby.
“We’re conscious of the need to maintain and preserve the area’s heritage,” says development director Chris Pope. “It’s interesting to be able to add value to the site, and I think that reflects our concern for quality we’re keen to uphold.”
VUE, 570-588 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction, will have 68 one-beds (51-67 sq m) from $595,000; 46 two-beds (88-100 sq m) from $825,000; and 19 three-beds (111 sq m) from $1.56 million. Intended completion is in late 2016.
vuebondi.com.au, 1800 332 118.
Research takes fear of unknown out of the equation
Conveyancer Cindy Lambert has spent so much time researching developers and their contracts on off-the-plan property for her clients, she knew exactly what she had to do when she was looking to buy an investment apartment of her own.
”I have to know who the developer and builders are” she says. “In two to three years, I don’t want to be dealing with defects. With unknown builders and developers, you run more of a risk.
“You need to find out which projects they’ve done, and see what they look like, especially a few years down the track.”
Lambert, 37, mother of Patrick, 6, and Jessica, 3, runs Vogue Conveyancing in Artarmon. She has bought a one-bedroom apartment at Bay Pavilions in Lane Cove, a 270-unit development over five eco-sensitive buildings nestled between Burns Bay and Lane Cove River. She was impressed by developers Piety Developments, by the architects Marchese Partners, and by the apartments’ setting, away from the main road.
“The site is unique in its own bush,” she says. “I think it’ll be a good investment and appeal to young professionals.”
Apartments will have good views and large terraces, near Lane Cove and Hunters Hill villages. One-beds start at $540,000.
baypavilions.com.au, 1800 027 245.