Terrigal . Avoca Beach . Saratoga Blog


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 parks
  • 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 appliances

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 duty
  • 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 Coast.


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.


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