Stockland finds success with $205,000 Sunshine Coast offering as big developers look to attract buyers with grants and incentives
Property developers are defying the current depressed new housing market – combining more affordable offerings with incentive packages and grants – to secure buyers in new residential communities.
On the Sunshine Coast, Stockland has found a sweet spot among buyers after selling all 11 affordably priced townhouses off-the-plan in its Bells Reach community at Caloundra.
The two and three bedroom terrace-style homes called the Bower Series and designed by multi award-winning Queensland architect John Mainwaring, were all priced just under $205,000 and provided buyers with the added bonus of being on freehold titles, meaning no body corporate fees.
The smallest townhouse is a two bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom single garage unit on a 75 square metre block rising up to a three bedroom, two bathroom plus tandem garage unit on a 120 square metre block lot.
Property Observer understands that Stockland plans to release around 60 more of the affordably priced townhouses in future off-the-plan marketing campaigns.
“They are also less than half the median price of established homes and buyers will be eligible for the $10,000 Queensland Building Boost if they purchase before the end of April,” says Stockland Project director for Bells Reach, Ben Simpson.
“We are now very proud to be leading the delivery of affordable and innovative homes in Queensland,” he adds.
The successful Bower Series campaign was highlighted by Stockland CEO Matthew Quinn in a speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) this week, where he said that the average family can no longer afford the average house.
“The average house is $500,000, while the average family can afford $329,000,” Quinn said.
However Quinn also highlighted that Australian consumers are no longer seeking the biggest houses with conversation moving from “how big is my house to how small is my mortgage”.
Quinn expects the overall housing market to improve due to the pressure created by a shortage of houses and says the current softness is cyclical.
However he warns that without monetary stimulus the recovery will be slow.
“In a normal cycle without the resources boom, rates would be on a greater downward trajectory based on the downturn in consumer spending and home building activity,” Quinn told The Australian Financial Review.
Stockland is fighting hard at a time when residential building approvals are falling and the outlook remains week.
There was a 7.8% drop in ABS building approvals in February with particular weaknesses in Queensland and NSW.
The Autumn 2012 HIA National Outlook report forecasts that new housing conditions will continue to deteriorate into 2012 with a 5.9% decline expected taking housing starts to 139,360 just above the 138,790 starts recorded in 2009.
The HIA forecasts a modest recovery from 2013 onwards with starts rising to 147,980 in 2013 and then to 158,290 in 2014.
“The over-arching challenge facing new home building is overcoming a very high and inefficient level of taxation relative to just about every other sector of the Australian economy,” says the HIA in its Autumn report.
“A good place to start would be with the re-invigoration of a program of structural reform to boost new housing supply.”
Aside from the more affordable offering, Stockland is also among those developers spicing up there land sales and house-and-land packages with incentives and bonuses.
Stockland has just released its ‘Bigger Bonuses’ campaign which gives NSW buyers who purchase a selected block of land at eight of its residential developments a $5,000 Visa card.
The six developments are Waterside at Penrith Lakes; Glenmore Ridge in Western Sydney; Darcy’s Peak and McKeachie’s Run of the Maitland and Hunter region; Murrays Beach at Lake Macquarie; McCauley’s Beach and the newly-launched Brooks Reach in the Illawarra; and Bayswood on the NSW South Coast.
It has also lowering its minimum deposit on all NSW land purchases to $5,000, helping buyers to enter the property market before the NSW State Government Stamp Duty Exemption scheme comes to an end July 1 2012.
Under the NSW Government’s Home Builder’s Bonus scheme, buyers receive full stamp duty exemptions for vacant land purchases up to $400,000 (pre-construction) and for new home or off the plan purchases up to $600,000.
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The Block's Dan and Dani - last spotted looking around the Melbourne suburb of Kingsville - merely tweeted their acquisition with little fanfare. But there certainly weren't any tweets from the international film star Toni Collette about her recent property journey.