What makes great foundations for a property investment

Peter ChittendenSeptember 29, 20140 min read

Earlier this year, I started a conversation here about what in today's market contributes to the great foundations of an exceptional residential development.

From the buyers' perspective, it's a topic worth continuing, because while there are always lots of property options there's also almost endless daily market commentary.

It’s also impossible not to notice that this commentary is starting to become increasingly polarised. And so I think it’s constructive to suggest that if buyers concentrate on some core elements or great foundations, then despite shifting market conditions, a project that 'ticks the boxes' will always be a good choice; a good home or investment.

I find the best way to do this is to take time and look at individual projects. While I continue to see up-side in the Brisbane market, it’s a project like Cornerstone Living in Brisbane (pictured above) that’s a great example. Not so much a case study, but more a real time example of a solid opportunity.

The Brisbane market might be somewhat in the shadow of Sydney and Melbourne, but, as I detailed back in August, it’s a solid emerging market with great potential, currently offering exceptional value.

So let’s take a closer look at Cornerstone Living and see just why it has great foundations, and as such is an exceptional long-term project.

Markets Never Stand Still

As we look at some key features of Cornerstone let’s also keep in mind that market conditions are always changing, prices are not static they do not always rise, and despite being at sustained and historically low levels, interest rates will eventually increase and supply levels will shift. However by strictly checking the fundamentals of a project, a buyer’s choice can be reassured and it’s possible to move with confidence.

Before looking at my selected Brisbane project, I want to restate the common factors making for great project foundations. From buyer feedback and experience they are usually centred on a few common factors such as being infill locations, the use of existing infrastructure, environmental credentials and sustainability.

Other key points include easy access to open space, the quality of design, good communications, the appeal of mixed use developments, the liveability of the development and finally sales appeal, which is one test that Cornerstone Living has in its first stages already easily past, as the first release stages one and two are now sold out.

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Infill locations

In every capital city and many regional centres, infill locations have been in favour with planners and buyers now for at least a decade, and it’s the same with Cornerstone Living. Consolidated Properties and Hutchinson Builders are building this long-term project, located some 12 kilometres from the Brisbane CBD and just 1.5 kilometres from Sunnybank Plaza.

The site also has easy connections to the major facilities of Mount Gravatt and via the Pacific Motorway to the Gold Coast.

Infill sites are usually (but not always) blessed with access to existing infrastructure, and planning is required to ensure these facilities are not over-run by an influx of new residents. As a key foundation that buyers now look for, we need to think of the full spectrum of schooling and educational facilities from pre-schools to university and for Cornerstone Living that starts with a 10-minute walk to some local schools and an easy bus connection to Griffith University Nathan Campus.

A five or 10 minute drive to get a carton of milk is not anyone's idea of convenience, so 400 shops, cafes, restaurants and services to a regional centre level give the project a better than good start.

The $600 million 10 hectre master planned community site spans a 10 year development period and will deliver 1200 dwellings.

It’s a planing initiative of the Brisbane City Council and as a classic infill site is aligned to existing train and bus services. This combination and the use of existing infrastructure gives the location its core appeal and like other such locations sustains value and buyer support.

The infrastructure is a long-term benefit that always adds value as urban centres like Brisbane scramble to create new services.

Design

In today’s market I think that location, price and design are the big three standout considerations for any buyer or developer. The key design aspects at Cornerstone Living have a lot to do with the sub-tropical environment, the demands of modern living and a clear goal to ensure that the development would fit with the existing urban landscape. It’s an important aspect of infill projects that is not always easy to achieve.

Sales appeal

This is the big test, which in some markets is starting to be taken for granted, but it should not be. Cornerstone Living has great sales appeal and at this early stage in the projects life the architect-designed homes consisting of one, two and bedrooms offering houses and apartments have been designed appeal to varied markets. These include first home buyers, young couples, families and retirees which are increasingly seen as the benefits of multi-generational living.

Good value homes for a wide cross section of buyers, first class community services – add to the appeal of an area in Brisbane which is being rejuvenated – and Cornerstone Living is being integrated into an existing and well-established local community a great foundations that buyers should always be looking out for.

Next I will look at Cornerstone Living’s design, the projects environmental credentials, the use of open space, leisure facilities and employment opportunities and the always-important factor of communications, which from every point of view are always of critical importance.

Peter Chittenden is the managing director for residential at Colliers International. Colliers International are project partners and the sales agents of Cornerstone Living.

 

Peter Chittenden

Peter Chittenden is managing director for residential of Colliers International.
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