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Four Lessons in a Flat Property Market

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In this market, how do new and established developers stand out? A look at learnings since the GFC.


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WRITTEN BY

Roxanne_Millar

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Four Lessons in a Flat Property Market

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Written by Roxanne Millar, General Manager

Five years ago, we were up to our eyeballs in off-the-plan apartments here at Bastion Effect – it seemed every time we turned around a developer was inviting us to work on the latest ‘tallest’ building, from Golden Age to World Class Global.

It was a heady time that reminded me of my days working in London prior to the GFC, when every day as a property journalist I’d be writing about another UK star-architect project or wild Middle East scheme.

Then that iconic photo went around; you know the one – all those stockbroker types backed against a window in Canary Wharf, arms folded, being told they were being laid off en masse.

The property magazine I worked for promptly folded and I landed a job working in Vancouver – the only place in GFC times that was booming thanks to the then-upcoming Winter Olympics.

Today, things have slowed again, but it’s certainly no GFC. The myriad of ambitious apartment projects have gone, but hope hasn’t. Where headlines are talking of projects dumped, prices falling and a credit crunch, we’re seeing a resurgence in the greenfield development space.

The number of new entrants here is reminiscent of the apartment market five years ago – new brands, with new outlooks, some that will still be here in 10 years, others that we’ll never hear from again.

If we look back at the past five years to consider what we’ve learned and how clients can stand out, we’d say:

  • Build your brand: Know who you are, why you do what you do and what you have to offer a customer that is better than your competitor. Mirvac, Neometro and Piccolo have done this so well, with strong brands, clearly defined positioning and a well-articulated customer value proposition
  • Be available: Even if you’re international, having a local face is important when establishing a track record and local trust. Before we launched his brand to market, Golden Age’s Jeff Xu was known only as a “Shanghai young gun” – regular sit downs with the Australian Financial Review helped deepen the understanding of Jeff and his vision for Golden Age, launching the company strongly in market
  • Be smart: Capital Alliance’s Mohan Du is outspoken, but not for the sake of headlines. He knows what he stands for and gets vocal on the things he’s passionate about – media appreciate a clear point of view and will seek-out talent they know can speak with conviction
  • Provide added value: The race is on in the greenfield space and value is no longer just measured with a dollar sign.The stand-out developers are building and delivering a sense of community, not just selling lots

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