Talk to anyone in real estate and you’ll hear the same story for the most restricted year in Victorian history. For Core Projects, the sales and marketing agents of Verdant Hill on Melbourne’s outer western fringe, it’s been a busy year as buyers in all categories look for more land, more home, and greater access to the great outdoors. It’s not the only change new home sales buyers have experienced this year.
“Since the onset of COVID there’s been a significant reversal of the longstanding population flows from regional centres to cities. Instead, people are moving in the other direction.” Saul Eslake, Economist.
Adding to what already looks like a perfect storm, the government added a $20,000 Home Builders Grant. This not only helped first home buyers in regional Victoria by increasing their kitty to $40,000 but attracted second and third home buyers to the market. As Madison Kelly, Project Manager at Core Projects explains, “The home builder grant announced early last year wasn’t targeted purely at first home buyers; it brought an increase in all buyer segments to the new home and land market.”
Downsizers and investors joined first home buyers in taking advantage of the market conditions, streamlining their investment portfolios, and maximising the earning potential of growth corridors.
“There’s been a 237% increase in regional sales – almost outperforming metro which is something we’ve never seen before,” continues Madison Kelly. Taking advantage of these government incentives homeowners have entered the real estate investment market at unprecedented levels. “Investor buyers have increased 21% since COVID-19 hit in March 2020.”
The style of new home builds has changed with social and market conditions. “Most people have shifted to building two-storey rather than one storey homes.” Says Madison Kelly, “Previously the preference has been for single storey homes, but the price increase of land and the demand for home workspaces has driven people to double storey homes.”
Family homes are now places for work and relaxation with study nooks, larger bedrooms with desks as well as the more traditional dedicated room set away from living spaces for quiet work. It’s a trend that’s unlikely to go away, as office workers demand a work-life balance more conducive to better health and wellbeing.
Land releases have been accelerated over the past 24 months to help meet the increased demand, which in turn has impacted the settlement timeframes. Verdant Hill is still however meeting expectations with land settlements within 12-18 months.
With travel limits in place and in-person contact limited, the industry has also pivoted quickly towards digital contracts and payments, which has both simplified and advanced what was often a labour and time-consuming process for both the buyer and the seller. Contracts can now be emailed and signed digitally without any need to print and present documents in person which also has a positive impact on human and environmental resources.
Does Madison see things slowing down in affordable areas with vast open spaces and the opportunity to build for the times? “Even when things do open up fully, from now on, people will always want more space to work from home.”
View our Verdant Hill project here.
For more information on securing your dream home or adding to your investment portfolio, please call 1300 837 226 or enquire at verdanthill.com.au.