Off-the-plan buyers looking past Coronavirus crisis

Off-the-plan buyers looking past Coronavirus crisis
Jonathan ChancellorDecember 17, 2020

Off-the-plan buyers are understandably looking past the Coronavirus crisis.

The continued construction at apartment project work sites will bring on their completion close to their intended schedules.

It is one of the telling achievements of this time of pandemic.

Off the plan buyer interest continues too, abeit at reduced levels.

But the use of virtual property technology has been key in off-the-plan projects enabling prospective buyers to see what their acquisition will provide.

With online tools like e-contracts, sales are being done.

Every day sales agents are also seeing potential buyers in their display suites, but digital tools are assisting in a big way.

The sector’s embrace of digital tools, such as virtual inspections, amazing graphics and 3D, means buyers are able to see past the current uncertainty and make long-term decisions.

Customisation is an important offering these days.

Not only can buyers see what they are set to get upfront, they can also make selective changes to the floor plans so the property better suits their needs.

Some buyers may pick up two apartments and amalgamate them into a large three-bedroom apartment.

Others may turn a two-bedroom unit into a large one-bedroom apartment.

Most developers can offer buyers choices of finishes and a variety of upgrades.

A serious foodie might want the dream kitchen with the best appliances, stone bench tops and a pantry.

An asthmatic would probably opt for a timber or stone floor rather than carpet installation.

The current isolation will likely have long-lasting impact on the apartment design. Maybe it will see the installation of better functioning balconies. Some that are bigger, others that offer a Juliet-style garden patio.

Separate rooms being proposed rather than just open plan.

A real study - collaquallily known as Zoom rooms - not just a study nook in the hallway to provide picture-perfect, acoustically sound video conferencing opportunities.

Developers in their own isolation will be rethinking the ideal apartment interior.

Expect more inner city apartments that allow pets as they provide joy for their owners who can't all seek out a sea or tree change.

Trendy architects are releasing that the apartment blocks of the 1920s got it right.  

When buying off the plan, buyers must rely on the reputation, honesty and goodwill of the developer which is why it's crucial to research the developer, their financial strength and capacity to deliver rectification after issues arises.

The economy ahead is going to remain challenging for the property industry, with the risk of buying in a poor growth markets, so buyers need to be prepared to withstand bumps along the way.

Especially since many who purchased off-the-plan a few years ago are now going to have issues, perhaps given loss of income, along with the prospect of valuations coming in on completion at below contract price.

Ofcourse the apartment construction industry had hopes of seeing restored buyer confidence after the startling exposures during 2019 of neglectful building practices with the cracking at the Opal Tower high-rise just the tip of the industry poor practice.

Apartment markets across Sydney and NSW had reached new heights last year with record residential prices highlighted by a $100 million penthouse sale at Barangaroo.

While the pullback by buyers has taken momentum out of the market, and we could see some price falls amid a weakened rental market, the web traffic suggests buyer interest remains strong.

This article first appeared in The Daily Telegraph

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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