With the property market back in full swing after the usual January slowdown, we spoke to Luke Berry, director of sales and marketing at one of Sydney’s leading property developers, Thirdi, for his learnings from the past year and plans for the future.
In 2018 Thirdi settled more than 200 properties across Sydney and Newcastle and launched two new large apartment projects that sold more than 80 per cent off the plan, so Berry was rightly positive. “While 2018 was a tougher year, it’s not all doom and gloom,” he says. “It reminded us that investing in property needs to be done with a long-term view and not based on a 24-hour news cycle.”
Berry sees the current market as a positive one for buyers, particularly regarding securing an apartment that’s exactly how they want it. “The current market is your ‘blank canvas’ opportunity, where you have developers not only flexible on price but even on what fixtures and fittings go into your home,” he says. “You’d be surprised what we developers can do to help buyers create their dream home, often adding more value long-term than a small discount at the contract exchange.”
While securing finance might currently be the biggest challenge for buyers, Berry suggests that staying true to a bigger-picture property plan will ensure you don’t miss out. “My recommendation is that if buyers find a property they love and have a view on the market beyond 2019/2020, then secure it off the plan sooner rather than later.”
He adds, “I’m not suggesting any buyer should make a rash decision and not negotiate on price. I believe the window of getting a great deal will close quicker than the market thinks, and many people will miss out on creating their dream home with a developer.”
Image: Thirdi's project The Gentry in Alexandria
If you can’t get a discount, try asking for an upgrade. “Create your dream kitchen, ask for the best appliance package,” Berry says. “Consumers need to have the confidence to ask the question. Be rational and fair and both you and the developer will get a great outcome. If you know your bank will support you, don’t hesitate.”
What does Berry recommend buyers look for when choosing a developer? Primarily, innovation and a well-chosen team. “We never compromise on partners and consultants and choose only the very best in each sector to work with,” he says. “We combine this with a willingness to embrace new technologies that help us design, deliver and build our projects in ways never seen before for the benefits of our clients.”
This is evident in the combination of home automation and smart sustainability which feature heavily in Thirdi’s upcoming projects.
“At our Paragon of Pyrmont (as shown above) project, the home automation will start before you even arrive home,” Berry says. “Our buildings will recognise you are on your way and send a message confirming you would like to get the home ready for arrival.”
All of Thirdi’s current projects will have access to home automation packages and will either have private energy storage (by way of a Tesla battery in the garages) or the building will have been designed with a dedicated energy storage area in the basement ready for battery installation in the future.
“We have major plans for these batteries to feature as a ‘green and clean’ energy offering and hope this will not only help the environment but also significantly reduce the cost of living for our residents,” Berry says.
His final word on purchasing an apartment is a practical one: “Do your research and do your numbers. I can’t speak for other developers but the last thing any of us want is settlement issues when the property is completed. Buy something you can afford and communicate regularly with your developer if there are any issues before settlement.”
This article was originally published in Sydney’s February print edition of Broadsheet.
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