What a buyer wants … A buyer gets

What a buyer wants … A
buyer gets
By Brett Hunter

Recent insights into the decision making process of
residential buyers have provided greater understanding for project marketing
and selling off the plan projects.

A recent study undertaken by Realestate.com.au and
interpreted by Raine&Horne has highlighted the considerable differences
between different categories and demographics of our buyer population, and
importantly what they are looking before they make a decision. Over the period
of 6 weeks over 10,000 buyers were interviewed nationally with a goal to
provide clear insights into the changing marketplace and today’s buyer choices.

Grouping the buyers into four demographic sets: First Home
Buyers, Up-sizers, investors and downsizers the study found that more than 74%
of all Off the plan buyers in NSW believe the marketplace in the next 12 months
will be the same or much better than it is today. While the number of buyers
who identify themselves as ‘Investors’ has increased by 8% year on year there
has been a steady state of First home buyers and downsizers. The journey from
starting to look for a property to exchanging contracts has extended from less
than 4 months in 2016 up to greater than 5 months in 2018 indicating both a
calmness of the buyer mentality and an increase in choices demanding their consideration.

The top four benefits to buying off the plan included:

Modern features
Cost savings
Flexibility in choosing
a floor plan and customised finishes
Modern and energy
efficient features

How are buyers making their decision? With a lot to chose from,
developers and agents are creating meaningful differences in developments by:

Price of apartments is
the standout reason for purchasing buy buyers
Location and access to
amenities in the area
Capital growth of area
and region – buyers are savvy on demographic and utility growth of an area
and are looking to be at the forefront of new growth areas
Number of apartments in
a development – boutique developments attract more buyer attention

Most popular development amenities identified by buyers when
making a decision included:

BBQ areas, landscaped
gardens and decking, communal areas / rooftop gardens
Storage cages in car
Pool and sundeck areas
Fully equipped gym

When buyers are tweaking their purchase, the following rank
high on upgrades:

Additional car spaces
Home automation
Furniture packages
Upgrade to floor covings
or kitchen benchtops
Upgrade to kitchen

While everyone loves to get a ‘deal’, those buying off the
plan are very well looked after. Over 72% of buyers said their purchase
decision was in some way swayed by special offers or price rebates. The most
popular special offers included:

Developer pays stamp
Free kitchen upgrades
Developer pays two years
of strata body corporate fees
Price rebates
Rental guarantee periods
Add ons; such as
furniture package, vehicles, frequent flyer points etc

Notably investors who intend to list their property on the
short term rental market (airBnB, stayz etc) have increased to over 24% with a
further 28% having not yet decided whether to permanently rent or short term
let their new investment property. This demonstrates a large upswing in this
marketplace – we will have to wait to see if the demand can rise to this
increasing supply of one off holiday properties on the coast. No doubt
the difficulty to (or lack of) regulation in this industry will prove telling
for the guest experience and investor returns in the coming years.

On Finance, over 67% of buyers are doing their homework and
are approved for finance either before they started looking or before they
decided on an apartment and a staggering 95% believed that securing finance was
as expected or easier to secure finance. It would seem that independent finance
brokers providing access to major bank loans continue to path the way for
buyers to secure the property of their choice.

With Gosford and the Central Coast boasting an unprecedent
number of new developments and many more developments yet to commence; this
study provides good news for buyers, developers and overall growth on the


Brett Hunter is the Deputy President of the REINSW, and a
Director of Raine&Horne Terrigal, Avoca Beach and Saratoga, and Director of
Raine&Horne Commercial on the Coast. Brett also operates a Special Projects
division representing a number of quality developments that have sold out or
currently selling. His display suites are located at the Gosford waterfront
next to the Coast Bar & Restaurant and in Erina at 206 The Entrance Road.