Shifts in the land development sector will always be market-led, and if our experience with COVID-19 means improving the amenity in our suburban areas due to buyer demand, it will represent a very rare and positive outcome for the pandemic experience in WA.
Monument land estates have had a massive 5-fold increase in sales as a result of the Government’s response to COVID-19. We are seeing many in the industry fast-track the creation of new lots to keep up with demand – sometimes to an enormous capacity.
An important message for buyers is to make sure that these new lots carry the same integrity as those previously on offer, and that the release of new land will not negatively impact the purchase.
There are a range of long-term benefits to buying land in boutique developments, and the influx of new land due to COVID-19 may highlight the importance of this much sooner than expected.
Obviously COVID-19 has affected practically every aspect of life, how do you think this impact will be reflected in new land developments over the next few years? Do you see more emphasis being placed on open spaces and connection to nature?
As a boutique land developer, location, an abundance of open space and integrating the land’s natural features and typography into the estate design has always been an integral part of our development program. However, COVID-19 has most certainly shone a spotlight on just how incredibly important this is.
The impact of what has occurred around the world as a result of COVID-19 has made people reassess their lifestyle choices. They are looking at their own community and its access to nature, exercise options and reflective spaces through a different lens.
As a result, I believe land developers will lean even more towards providing improved facilities and outlooks, and buyers will always consider what the estate might look like should we go back into lockdown.
Are there any ways COVID-19 has already affected land developments?
It is too early to see any impact that COVID-19 might have on the design aspect of a land development, although the heightened sales activity off the back of generous Government stimulus grants and incentives has offered some insights into what buyers will be looking for into the future.
The most successful land estates during this period have been those with larger family sized lots and direct access to nature.
The heightened importance of our Hamelin Park beachside location at Secret Harbour, the proximity to the nature reserve at The Wedge in Wellard North, and the stunning hill-top coastal outlook whilst surrounded by majestic Tuart trees at Atop in Beeliar have been extraordinarily evident.
Do you feel buyers will be looking for certain boxes to tick in light of COVID?
The onset of lockdown effectively stress-tested our homelives and communities. It would be impossible, if not improbable, for buyers to avoid carrying these experiences into a new house and land purchase.
New home design is likely to be most impacted, with more space and breakout rooms, such as a study or second living area, on the ‘must have’ tick list. In turn, this will influence lot sizes as homesites will need to increase to accommodate the new requirements.
Other factors that I believe will now weigh heavily on a buying decision include easy access to public open space and amenities, a friendly, supportive and established community, and the ability to access the natural environment for some reflective and recreational time.
Where do you see the future of land development and are there any certain ‘trends’ that might appear?
Prior to COVID-19, there was definitely a trend that saw people move closer to the city and established areas. I believe this will continue as a result of lockdown, as people realised the issues relating to isolation and the importance of being near infrastructure and family.
The demand to be part of an infill land estate will continue to increase and land developers will take larger leaps towards providing an entire lifestyle package. Homesites will no longer be about the sheer size of the lot, there will now be much broader considerations at hand.
However, on the other end of the spectrum larger more rural lifestyle options will also become sought-after by some.
Comments by John Wroth, Director of Land.