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Brisbane’s high-end property developers are not just constructing giant apartment blocks and moving on – they are staying put, managing everything from lawn mowing to lock-outs.
As the property market in Brisbane slows from the early 2000s investor boom, the city’s apartment developments are moving away from mass construction in a bid to lure back an increasingly selective purchaser.
Several of Brisbane’s biggest high-end developers have stopped handing away the management rights on their completed buildings, instead choosing to keep full control, despite the cost.
The Brisbane market’s shift away from cookie-cutter development to a more boutique offering was discussed at a residential property summit hosted by The Urban Developer, held at the Calile Hotel in Fortitude Valley on Friday.
“There was a period where a lot of junk (was) getting built, and I think consumers have woken up to that,” he said.
Mr Hurley said for a long time there had been a disparity between a planned development’s rendered images and its ultimate reality, making consumers question the quality of apartments and units.
“There’s a flight to quality now,” he said.
Mosaic chief operations officer Marina Vit said the company had worked to stay ahead of customer demand and to identify trends in what customers wanted, which was increasingly boutique and high end.
But the demands of the market are placing greater responsibility on the shoulders of developers who do not want their brand’s name to diminish if they sell the property on to a separate manager.
Aria Property now retains more control over its buildings, from managing the properties to including retail and restaurants.
Mr Hurley said there was a “massive disconnect” associated with selling management rights for a building to a company that had totally different priorities.
“Now we’ve done it we’re trying to disrupt and redefine property management, such that in our buildings it’s like you’re living in a five-star hotel,” he said.
Azure Development director Trent Kiernan said his business had changed over time in response to the market and in a bid to protect its brand.
“In 2014 we made the decision to retain the management rights of everything we developed as well,” he said.
“It was not a decision because we were looking for an accentuating profit centre. It was a decision based around, if you’re really committed to the consumer, you have to do those things.”
Mr Kiernan said one of Azure’s highest priorities was nurturing its brand, as consumers aligned themselves with brand names that could deliver on their promise.
That meant “micromanaging” every aspect of a property built in Brisbane, no longer simply buying, building, selling and moving on.
Mr Kiernan said the company managed everything right down to caretaking and letting of units as it worked to leave a lasting legacy.
“We have our own horticultural team, our own vans – that’s a huge capital commitment, a huge resource commitment, but it’s kind of what … we feel we have to do in this market,” he said.
Ms Vit agreed that it was “essential” to large property developers to protect their brand by staying ahead of the curve and offering high-level perks for customers.
“We’re also focused on the communities in which we develop within,” she said.
“We have a community engagement team within Mosaic as well, who make sure they’re in touch with neighbours, stakeholders etc … so people understand what we’re trying to do.
“It’s been a great thing for us to have that because it allows us to have good relationships with the people within the neighbours we develop in.”
Source: Brisbane Times