Obstacles to avoid when marketing a residential development offshore

Obstacles to avoid when marketing a residential development offshore
Obstacles to avoid when marketing a residential development offshore

While the idea of an offshore marketing campaign can be appealing, there are some obstacles to avoid, so I would like to round off this topic with a check list of key points.

Experience dictates that there needs to be access to a database of strongly motivated buyers, which cannot be created overnight. This data needs to drawn from experienced buyers who are very familiar and comfortable with making early commitments to buy foreign real estate.

But clearly all of these potential buyers will have varied reasons to consider a project. Some buyers will be attracted to a particular area, for example projects near a major university, and they will be keen to secure their purchase. The needs of others may not be easy to identify, but during the course of a well-managed campaign their motivation should become more evident. At different times marketing offshore has been very popular, but the success of Australian projects varies.

Across Asia there can be support for this style of marketing, however it will typically only be of value for brand-new buildings with no prior local exposure.

When taking product into an international market like Asia, there are some key elements that have to be taken into account. The developer must allow sufficient marketing funds, have a local partner in each country and ensure that all marketing material is correctly pitched to local conditions.

It is also worth keeping in mind that the offshore buyer usually favours developers with a strong domestic track record and that develop a regular flow of projects in all market cycles.

We need to consider how the project on offer will be perceived, and generally it should be in a location close to transport links, recreation, and shopping and educational facilities.

So in summary I would suggest the following key pointers: 

  • The product mix taken into the markets needs to present a good range of suitable apartments, picked with key features that are in line with current buyer expectations.
  • Always keep in mind, as already noted, that offshore buyers like to have the first-release opportunity. This is one reason offshore marketing works on any scale with new product.
  • At an offshore event you need to on hand have full details covering Foreign Investment Review Board, legal, migration and finance information. This needs to be reliable detailed information or people fully versed in these area.
  • All marketing material needs to be complete and accurate, in particular floorplans, finishes and aspect and view images.
  • Buyers will also be keen to know about any fees they may have to pay, both as part of the purchase and any ongoing fees, like Strata levies.
  • There should also be strong locally based support in each market.
  • One final point, if possible at any major project launch it is ideal to have a mix of local representation, with legal support as well as Australian-based sales team members. 

Offshore marketing should never be seen as over-simplistic, as this is certainly not the case. Each project requires detailed planning, and market conditions and sentiment can and do shift.

off-the-plan sales have been and are still popular, but they require a well-established foundation of local knowledge, and the buyer product match needs to be right on target. As I summarised at the start of this subject, the numbers involved are not exhaustive and this will always remain a specific marketing option.

Peter Chittenden is managing director for residential of Colliers International.

Peter Chittenden

Peter Chittenden

Peter Chittenden is managing director for residential of Colliers International.

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