Developer Piety Group’s $520-million ONE the Waterfront project originated long before the current economic challenges but the developers are getting on the front foot to help first-time buyers get on that elusive ladder.
The development at Wentworth Point has been named one of the most sought-after developments in Australia.
Since stage one was completed in 2018, the project has delivered 620 apartments and the final stage of the plans were launched last year.
At the same time, unprecedented challenges have started to impact prospective buyers.
The NSW government, as well as the federal and other state governments around the country, have introduced first-time buyer exemptions, concessions and grants to stimulate house buying.
But as rents increase and deposit requirements skyrocket alongside home price increases, buyers have proven increasingly cautious.
Laver Residential Projects project director Sam Elbanna said that consumer confidence had taken a hit in recent months.
“Buyers haven’t disappeared. But the issue has been for some time, especially with first-time home buyers, that their funds are finite,” Elbanna said.
“With cost of living increases, interest increases, they’re just running out of money.
“Add to that, rents have gone up so things are getting tough for buyers. Inevitably what some people do when they are being cautious, is do nothing.”
According to realestate.com.au, the hidden costs of buying a home can add up to $40,000, if buyers are having to take on lenders mortgage insurance, pay stamp duty if they are not first-time buyers or the home is worth more than $500,000, on top of conveyancing, building inspection and other fees.
“What we’re doing is trying to alleviate the concerns and financial burden faced by first-time buyers.
“It is driven by conversations with lots of people who bought with us, but also those that didn’t, who tell us that the biggest challenge they faced was they did not have a lot of buffer in their finances.
“Whatever buffer they had might have has been eaten up by strata levies or cost of living issues such as expensive fuels costs and high rent.
“We wanted to give them the opportunity to buy the property they want, with a level of confidence that if something unforeseen happens they can keep going and get on with the next chapter of their lives.”
Laver and Piety teamed up on a variety of solutions for buyers, including covering the cost of future interest rate rises of up to 1 per cent to reduce mortgage costs if interest rates continue to escalate.
They also announced an initiative to cover strata levies for the next two years for incoming buyers.
“We hoped it would give them a level of confidence,” Elbanna said.
“When first-time buyers buy a property they rarely think about strata rates and when they do think about it, it’s a real concern, it’s just another cost.
“The response has been phenomenal and the proof is in the pudding.
“We’re been averaging 12 sales per month since we brought that on, that’s really strong. It’s not a brand new project so to generate that level of sales per month is a sign that there is a market out there for buyers who want to transact but are a little bit fearful.
“We’re always trying to stay ahead of the curve by anticipating problems and developing solutions that work for developers and the buyers.”
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