2016 home building trends and predictions: Stephen Thompson

2016 home building trends and predictions: Stephen Thompson
2016 home building trends and predictions: Stephen Thompson

GUEST OBSERVER

Narrow lot designs will be one of the key changes to the home building market in 2016 as it has also been for 2015. It’s no secret that land sizes are becoming smaller to cater for the growing population.

According to the December 2014 report ‘A PLAN FOR GROWING SYDNEY’ by NSW Government Planning and Environment* – over the next 20 years, the population in Sydney will grow much faster than in the last 20 years. The report states that, “Projections indicate that Sydney will need around 664,000 additional homes over the next 20 years. New housing will be needed in greenfield locations and the established urban area. Providing housing in a variety of sizes, types and locations will be essential to meeting Sydney’s future housing need."

To respond to these issues, the Government will introduce planning controls and work with the development industry to increase the number of homes in established urban and development areas. The government is also encouraging innovative, well-designed, smaller homes to suit lifestyles and budgets of the growing population. 

With smaller block sizes, it means more demand for innovative designs that don’t compromise on space. Some people won’t consider buying a block of land unless it has the space they need for their ideal home. All builders are becoming savvier about the way they build a practical ‘family home’.

As well as narrow block designs, there are many other trends and buyer behaviour that Allworth Homes predicts for 2016.

1.      Knock-down rebuilds will continue to increase. 

Home buyers are realising re-building a brand new home on their existing property is beneficial in the long run, financially and logistically. We have seen a marked increase in the number of re-build sites at Allworth Homes and are confident these numbers will keep rising in 2016. We believe this trend comes down to people crunching the numbers around associated costs relating to ‘moving’ compared to building ‘new’. Mixed with the fact that they are future proofing the resale of their home down the track, it’s a clear winner as to why people are choosing to go down this road. 

2.      Buyers are demanding more transparency. 

People are now more educated about what’s involved in building a new home but are still drowning in uncertainty around costs. Buyers want transparency up front. They want to know what they’re in for. Allworth Homes promotes a ‘Ready To Live’ price at every display home door. 

We have been pricing homes on various sites for so long we feel confident in promoting an all up price that will be very close to the final quotation. There are some conditions relating to lot size, services and site fall but in the majority of cases, our ‘Ready To Live’ price should be spot on.

3.      Buyers are future proofing their homes for multigenerational living. 

A lot of new home buyers are now following the trend toward ‘future-proofing’ their new home design. That is, designs that allow, with a small amount of renovation work, a former living area to be converted into sleeping accommodation with bathroom access, for example. Homes with versatile spaces that can be used in different ways and accommodate multi-generational living will continue to be in high demand in the coming years.

4.      High land prices in Sydney will make it tougher for First Home Buyers entering the market. 

This is an unfortunate reality that doesn’t need much explanation. We are seeing a decrease in the amount of sites for first home buyers can afford in Sydney and with the reduction in the First Home Owners Grant, we expect those numbers to keep dropping.

Good news is this may be short lived. With major land release planned and lot sizes decreasing, competition amongst developers should see land priced within the in reach of first home buyers in Sydney late 2016 – 2017.

5.      A tighter market and major developers focussing on ‘Mum and Dad’ buyers will see the return of the discerning traditional buyer, pushing solid long-term contract home builders to the fore. Newer, speculative builders once reliant on a burgeoning market will have to re-invent themselves to survive.

6.      The shortage of bricklayers and subsequent increased labour costs has seen many builders turning to alternate materials. These alternates - do they pass conservative NSW buyers ‘knock test’? Do they provide adequate termite protection? Long term maintenance issues. resale values… all questions buyers will consider in their decision. Whilst Allworth Homes is considering alternatives to brickwork, none have yet passed muster for us. Allworth are sticking with brick at this stage. More bricklayers will be freed up by the builders going other ways and we feel brick will be people’s number one choice for some time.

Stephen Thompson is managing director, Allworth Homes.

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Construction Residential Market

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