LOCAL property developers are seeking premium boutique developments - promoted with neutral colours and natural textures - and say that business is booming in line with the current growth in real estate sales on the northern beaches.
Domain Residential real estate agents Simon Gourlay and Peter Grant say they are working on several new developments in the northern beaches, and seeing growth in interest in buying off the plan. They have sold more than half (nine out of 15) of the residences in 'ILUKA', a new development situated between Mona Vale's expansive beach and golf club. It is due to open by Christmas next year.
"The market is strong and people are realising the changeover price means they can afford to have this quality," said Mr Gourlay. "The buyers are all owner occupiers predominantly from the northern beaches, so they know how beautiful this area is. People love the location - it's a cul de sac with drop dead views across the golf course down to the beach. They will never drive to the beach again, it's less than a minute's walk."
He was also seeing a trend towards sustainability in new homes. "It's one of the first developments we have where they have actually got solar panels on the roof to run the house and basement lights," he said. "Two of my buyers have electric cars. It's increasingly starting to come up how important solar and sustainability is."
He said the builders, IPM, have completed high quality developments in Freshwater and Mona Vale, "which is giving buyers confidence".
In Manly, '21 Whistler' is a boutique building of eight apartments that has also been selling fast.
It is set to be completed mid-next year, with developer (and local surfer) Ted Byrne from Urban Partners, who has completed four previous Manly projects. For this one, he is allowing buyers the chance to choose their own layouts, appliances, fittings, finishes, colours and touches, appealing to passionate owner occupiers who have a strong link with the beautiful beachside town.
Red Property real estate agent Alicia Ryan said three out of the eight have sold, all to owner occupiers, with interest also coming from overseas investors. She said that although potential buyers were "still nervous" about buying off the plan, they had seen a surge in interest in new developments.
"We expect them to go pretty quickly, in the next month or so," she said.
"They have been selling more to young couples than to downsizers. They can no longer afford a house in the area so they are opting for a unit. So, they are excited that they really can do their own colour schemes and make it unique to their own personalities.
"They are really doing their research into the developers and that is important. Buyers are becoming more discerning and they expect more and so they should based on the prices. And developers are more sensitive to the buyers' needs because land is so expensive, they can't afford to do the cheaper developments for the masses, so the whole building and all the finishes are more higher end.
"I've been involved with 62 developments in Manly over 40 years; I started when I was 16 and I'm turning 60. I remember selling one and two bedroom units for around $60,000 and now we are selling them in the two million dollar range.
"The area has become an affluent area. I know it sounds cliched but everybody wants to live in Manly because of the lifestyle. One couple buying in 21 Whistler don't even have a car, they don't need one."
- ILUKA: Simon Gourlay 0418 229 224 or Peter Grant 0412 527 071
- 21 WHISTLER: Alicia Ryan 0416 045 584
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