Buying off the plan isn’t a new concept. It’s been occurring for decades. But what has changed in the market is the type of residence now available for those looking to scale down from family homes. Damon Krongold has sold a number of top-end apartments, including The Botanic Collection on Domain Road, South Yarra, and Gratham, on Toorak Road, a stone’s throw from the Village. Unfortunately, the number of suitable apartments, many of which are house size, aren’t readily available in these highly coveted areas. “These apartments are appealing to highly discerning empty nesters, selling their homes nearby, for anywhere between $3 and $20 million. They’re used to a superior locale and they’re not prepared to compromise,” says Krongold, Director of Projects at Kay & Burton.

Remaining in a familiar area is integral to Kay & Burton’s market, particularly when it comes to apartments. “People have become integrated into their community, and they are surrounded by like-minded people,” says Krongold, who also cites security and privacy as forming as important elements in the decision to buy these premium apartments.

Krongold has recently sold a number of these apartments to those looking to scale down, wanting the type of living spaces they’ve been accustomed to in their family homes for sometimes, up to 30 years. These off-the-plan abodes come with high ceilings, parquetry floors, generous kitchen and living areas and lavish bathrooms. There’s also a large dedicated room for the home office, with many clients wanting to scale down from business, but still be actively involved. Those quick enough will be able to secure a penthouse or an apartment with a city view. “We simply don’t have enough penthouses for everyone looking, so these typically are the first to be purchased.” Those who purchase in the early phases of a development also have the ability to customise finishes and fittings and in some cases, even reconfigure a room or two. “The developers and top-end architects we work with not only select premium locations, but fully understand our demographic,” says Krongold. The Botanic Collection in South Yarra is indicative of this trend.

Buying off the plan means that it can take up to two-and-a-half years to move into an apartment. While it’s exciting to see something ‘emerge’ from the foundations, it also allows purchases to take their time in selling their own properties. They don’t need to rush, find bridging finance (if needed) or rent something during the build. And rather than tie up their money, they need only put down a 10 per cent deposit for their apartment, with the balance due only upon completion. “This is quite unique. In most other countries, one needs to pay regular installments over the course of a building’s construction, obviously reducing one’s liquidity.”

One of the other benefits in buying off the plan is that people can be the first to live in these spaces, complete with all the building warrantees that come with a new apartment. Likewise, warrantees for appliances ensure that any maintenance is covered.

“I certainly see growth in buying off the plan, particularly in the top-end market where supply is limited. More people are scaling down from family homes and the words often used ‘lock up and leave’ are often spoken,” says Krongold. “People are traveling more, both to their weekenders and overseas, and they want something that excites them as much as travelling,” he adds.

Text by Stephen Crafti

Market Insights

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