Which property developments are standing out from the crowd? - Laver

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Which property developments are standing out from the crowd?

Mon Nov 1

COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our lives — including the way we live.

After selling $550m of new apartments during the pandemic, we spoke to the experts from Laver Residential Projects to find out how buyer preferences have changed and what makes a new development stand out.

The game is changing

Shifting buyer demands are likely to impact the residential development industry for years to come. At the top of the list is space, explains Dennis Vertzayias, Partner at Laver Residential Projects.

“If people are going to have flexibility around working from home, the demand for really small studio apartments or small one-and-two-bedroom floorplans may not be as strong as it once was,” Vertzayias says.

▲ During the pandemic, Laver has sold out seven residential projects — in Bondi Beach, Thornleigh, Campsie, Baulkham Hills, Miranda, Strathfield and Heathcote.


Vertzayias suggests that developers may need to consider increasing unit sizes and improve floorplans to capture buyers’ interest in the current market.

“One such new development Is Assana Broadbeach, which we are bringing to market soon,” he says.

“There has been a strong emphasis on internal sizes and layouts here, which maximise views — most apartments resemble mini-penthouses. This is what the market values in this location.

“We started seeing the shift from mainly local owner-occupiers toward larger, better quality apartments around 2018/2019 when the Chinese market exited. The pandemic has further emphasised this demand for larger homes and apartments.”

While space is at a premium, lifestyle and quality are also top of mind for buyers, adds James Lampropoulos, Partner at Laver.

“Developers also need to think about design and amenity,” Lampropoulos says. “What we are seeing in the post-COVID environment is that buyers will pay a premium for the right product.”

The projects that get ahead of post-COVID living trends are the ones that will thrive, he says.

“It would be sensible for developers to follow buyer demands — they’re ultimately the ones who will be living in the property.

“The first place to start is: what does the market want? What type of design, spaces and living do buyers want in this particular location?”

Experience matters

While some properties languished on the market unnecessarily during the pandemic, new and innovative sales and marketing tactics helped others stand out from the crowd, Vertzayias says.

▲ Vertzayias (second from right), the former head of Colliers NSW Residential, joined forces with former Meriton project director James Lampropoulos (second from left) to create Laver Residential Projects.


“We established Laver to provide developers with highly customised sales strategies which are more considered and more aligned with the current market,” Vertzayias says.

“We wanted to provide developers far better value. From the outset, all our strategies have the end game in mind. We plan and execute strategies that effectively sell-out entire developments, while fully protecting the development’s value along the way and, in most cases, improving it.”

Vertzayias says expert ‘hands on’ personalised service from a team of highly experienced, off-the-plan specialists allows buyers to make more informed decisions — especially when buying off-the-plan.

“At Laver, the majority of agents we have on the ground are highly experienced, director-level, off-the-plan specialists,” he says. “It is not uncommon to see the owners of the business at the frontline of sales. This Is the level of sales expertise the market demands, and without this level of expertise on the ground, developers are leaving a lot of value on the table.”

▲ Laver recently brought to market Piety Group’s ONE the Waterfront in Sydney's Wentworth Point —  a resort-style development primarily for first home buyers and young families.


It’s a business model that’s paying off. Laver have delivered an impressive $550 million in apartment sales for their clients since the beginning of the pandemic — mostly off-the-plan.

Recent senior additions to their team include Sam Elbanna, former founder of CPM Realty; John Faulkner, a former executive at Meriton and now the company’s CEO; Clayton Ross, formerly at CBRE; and Rodney Blackman, formerly of Colliers.

Di Henneberry, a property management director with 20 years’ experience has also partnered with the team to create Henneberry Laver, which services clients’ leasing and property management needs.

Laver recently acquired 320sqm of prime commercial space in the heart of Surry Hills to create Sydney’s first custom-built specialist project marketing centre. The new headquarters will house a development sites team, project marketing team and property management team, as well as space to showcase some of its new developments.

What’s next?

With restrictions in NSW easing, Sydney’s property market is set to enter a new phase.

While there has been substantial property price growth over the past year, there’s more to come, says John Faulkner, CEO at Laver.

“We believe Sydney will experience continued growth in the property sector over the next three to five years and like our clients we are heavily invested in that growth and success,” Faulkner says.

Data shows the development market is on a serious upswing. Enquiries to developers on realestate.com.au jumped by 15% in September to reach a new record high.

Leading this charge was NSW, where enquiries increased 28% in September — despite Sydney still being in lockdown, said Faulkner.

Laver is now bringing multiple new standout projects to market in Sydney. These include a high-end luxury absolute waterfront development in Cronulla in Sydney’s south; a beachside project in Little Bay in Sydney’s south-east; 170 apartments at Wentworth Point — one of Sydney’s top growth corridors; 150 apartments in North Strathfield; and a  boutique first home buyer development in the St George region of South Hurstville.

▲ Laver recently sold out this development of 55 homes and apartments in Heathcote for developer Pariter, a subsidiary of Plenary Group.


Of course, it’s not just NSW where interest is booming. Demand for Queensland property has also been on the rise, with enquiries for new apartments in the state are up 108% year-on-year.

Laver is expanding its business into Queensland, with a new 150-luxury apartment project, Assana, in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast.

“At 50 storeys, this will be Broadbeach’s tallest residential tower with really high-end, sub-penthouse-style apartments,” Vertzayias says. “SJB is the architect — it’s a beautiful $200 million development that’s designed for living.”

When it comes to advice for developers hoping to flourish in the post-pandemic environment, the key is bringing your project to an experienced project marketer straight away, Vertzayias explains.

“Before a developer buys a piece of land, they should know who the target market is, what they need to deliver and what the best strategy for pre-sales is,” he says. “This is where Laver’s experience adds value. This early advice is invaluable intel to a developer. It ensures a viable development and ultimately our purchaser customer gets the product they most value  — it’s a win-win formula.”

As seen in Real Estate Australia.

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