Buying Off-Plan Property in Perth: By Amanda Gauci (interview)

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Perth is the capital and the biggest city of the Australian state of Western Australia. Being the 4th most populous city, Perth offers a great quality of life with white beaches and property prices that are not as propped up compared to Melbourne and Sydney.

Interestingly, the distance to Jakarta is shorter than if you would travel from Perth to Sydney or Melbourne, giving you more proximity to the rest of Asia.

Off-plan property is a preferred choice when foreigners invest in Perth and Australia, a reason why I decided to invite Amanda Gauci, the founder and managing director of Pulse Property Solutions, a boutique property development company located in Perth.

Today she will explain about:

  • Perth’s property market
  • The process when buying off-plan property
  • Benefits of buying in Perth
  • Interesting projects built by Pulse Property Solutions, including illustrations

Welcome Amanda, first, can you please tell us a little bit more about yourself, your history and how Pulse Property Solutions helps foreign buyers to buy off-plan in Perth?

I founded Pulse Property Solutions ten years ago with my family with the aim to create unique boutique developments that people love living in. I come from a business and marketing background which provides a unique approach to development and design.

I’m passionate about the development industry and am part of the HIA Environment, Planning & Development Committee and a board member of Entrepreneurs Organisation Perth.

Pulse is a West Australian boutique property development company. We specialise in boutique residential complexes of townhouses, terrace homes and apartments. As mentioned, we are a family owned company and highly experienced in delivering high quality, innovative and quality turnkey developments for discerning investors.

As property developers and investors ourselves, we understand the importance of creating quality products to suit the markets’ needs. We also realise the significance of delivering projects on time and to budget.

Pulse are also proud winners of the 2016 HIA Perth and WA Apartment Complex of the Year Award and continue to deliver more stunning developments.

To help our buyers we ensure that from acceptance of the offer through to settlement and handover that the buyers are well informed about the whole process and communicated to regularly. This includes providing them with regular project updates, including photos, and reminders on important timeframes. A comprehensive Lifestyle Handover Guide is also provided upon settlement.

For our investment buyers we provide a Tax Depreciation Estimate prepared by a local qualified firm. This provides a guide on the potential depreciation and building allowances available from the purchase of the property, facilitating the estimates of the after-tax return on the investment over the first full 10 years of owners.

Rent appraisals and property management contacts can also be provided, if required.

Earlier this month we handed over the keys to two foreign buyers, one couple from the UK and the other buyer from China. Both buyers bought off the plan and were subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval to secure the property.

What are the benefits of buying a property in Perth compared to other major cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane for example?

Over the past few years Perth has seen property values fall following a downturn in mining and investment in WA. However this is starting to change with investment starting to increase again and many analysts are predicting this is the bottom of the cycle with prices stabilising and predicted to recover over the coming years.

Perth has develop as a city over the past decade with new and emerging accommodation options available in the market. Perth offers a wonderful lifestyle with an array of natural amenity including some of the most beautiful beaches and tourist destinations and benefits from its close proximity to Asia.

The Aussie Home Loans and Core Logic Report released in June 2018 revealed that Perth property prices could reach extremely high levels by the middle of the century if they keep growing at the same pace of the past 25 years. The analysts predicted Perth property prices would grow an average of 6.7 per cent a year, the average increase since 1993.

Projections show the median house price would be $2.48 million by 2043, up from the current $488,000.

A typical unit would cost $1.7 million, up from $400,000.

Adding to that there is new confidence in employment, increased WA mining industry activity and new construction and infrastructure planned.

Infrastructure Australia which provides advice to the Federal and State governments projected that Perth’s population is forecast to reach 4.4 million by 2046 from 2 million now and that there will be a need to invest in public transport which will create exciting opportunities in housing.

What are the requirements if a non-resident foreigner wish to buy property in Perth?

We understand that if you are a foreign resident you cannot buy an established residential property in Australia, either directly in their name or through a trust or company structure. However, you can buy other types of property such as new dwellings, vacant land and property that is to be redeveloped, but you must first get approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) which is a reasonably simple process.

It’s therefore very important that the Sales Contract any investor signs includes a clause which is subject to FIRB Approval and the number of days allowed to obtain the decision. However, a FIRB Application is simple and will usually be taken care of by the buyer’s conveyancer/settlement agent.

More details can be found on the Australian Tax Office Website which outlines the full process on owning real property in Australia.

How is the real estate market at the moment? Do you see a big influx of Chinese investors, the same as it goes in Sydney and Melbourne?

perth-property

The real estate market has been slow in Perth over the last few years but data is showing that prices are stabilising which many experienced investors say is the perfect time to buy.

There is greater confidence to buy property in Perth due to the timing of the property cycle. New construction activity, along with declining levels of stock on the market, provide strong evidence that we are headed into a market of recovery.

We know there has been a lot of buyers and investors waiting for prices to drop further but we suggest they wait no longer as stock levels diminish there will be shortage which means increased competition between buyers.

Over the past few years there has been reasonable levels of Chinese investment in Perth but most have invested in Sydney & Melbourne. The investment in the East coast has now dropped significantly as those markets have peaked and now starting to experience declining prices.

On June 18 this year The Herald Sun Newspaper stated that the two key house markets of Sydney and Melbourne continue to cool with the latest auction sales slump pushing the number of successful actions around the country to six year low.

What I heard, Perth is fairly expensive, but maybe not as expensive as Sydney and Melbourne? Is now the right time to buy?

Perth has lower property prices than Sydney and Melbourne and we are seeing buyers and investors starting to shift from the East coast to the West coast to take advantage of the lower prices. Many buyers seem to be selling homes over East and purchasing in Perth to free up money to retire on as overall properties are nearly half the price of those in Sydney.

Median house prices differ with Sydney being $885,000, Perth is $520,000 and Melbourne being $720,500 as per statistic issued in CoreLogic Property Market Indicator 17 June 2018.

How’s the buying process when purchasing an off-plan property from a developer or agent in Perth, or should I say in Australia in general?

Buying a new overseas property either off the plan or completed doesn’t need to be hard. Pulse Property Solutions are always willing to assist buyers along the way. The big advantage of buying off the plan is that you lock in today’s price even though the property will not be completed until possibly later in the year etc.

When looking for an investment property, investors should look at the important factors such as capital growth potential, rental yields, vacancy rates and location.

Upon selection of the preferred property, the investor (or their agent) should contact the developer direct to arrange an inspection, if feasible or request additional details.

The developer would then provide marketing material which includes a brochure, marketing plans including dimensions, strata budget (if relevant), finishes and a pricelist for consideration. If the investor wishes to proceed a Sales Contract would be sent through for review.

If an offer is agreed upon the Contract would be fully executed by both parties signing which then forms the legal binding agreement on the sale.

Often a 10% deposit is required by developers however our company typically reduces this to 5% for our buyers, then the remaining balance it paid upon completion of the property at settlement.

If purchasing “off the plan” investors will have more ability to customise some of the final finishes such as flooring, tiles etc.

During the construction phase, we would provide regular updates on the project to the buyer. Once the project has achieved Practical Completion by the Builder, the developer would then apply for new titles from Landgate. This process usually takes approximately 6 weeks. Then settlement can occur.

Which areas should be of interest when buying property in Perth?

Perth is a vibrant, modern city with beautiful natural amenity. Most people in Perth want to live near shops/cafes, a close drive to beaches and easy access into the city.

Tenants usually want a property that is well located, low maintenance, quality finishes and attractive street appeal. They also look for close proximity to public transport, shops, open spaces (parks & beaches) and our developments always meet these requirements.

Are there any upcoming areas that are less expensive? Areas differ I guess depending on if a person buys a villa or an apartment?

Cheapest isn’t necessarily the best as people will pay more as they want to be close to shops, transport links and lifestyle options such as restaurants and parks. We have found Duncraig to be highly popular amongst locals given it’s green leafy surrounds, safe family vibe and proximity to the train station and shopping precinct.

I know that developers tie up with banks to secure financing to buyers. Is this something you assist with and is it possible for foreigners to obtain financing to buy any of your properties?

Specialist mortgage brokers can be sourced to obtain finance for investors that can guide them through the application process. This is not a process that we normally get involved with but were happy to provide a local contacts for further investigation. Investors will also need to also secure a settlement agent and property manager for rental purposes.

What are the key items to confirm the seriousness of a developer, to minimize risks and to assure that the project will be finalized?

We suggest any buyer should look at a developer’s experience, history and past projects. We also recommend a careful review of the proposed Sales Contract to ensure both parties are protected in the event that a project is not completed.

Our company only commences marketing once construction is underway which gives the buyer confidence that the project has started and is underway and will not be stalled by a requirement for pre-sales.

Do you have any properties for display that you’ve developed?

We have different types of properties on display in different suburbs. We also have new developments currently under construction and about to commence. Below is a snapshot.

COMPLETED DEVELOPMENTS

The Mount, 27 Jugan Street, Mount Hawthorn – Apartment 1

jugan-streetPicture: Burgess Rawson

Perfectly located in the trendy inner-city suburb of Mount Hawthorn, this stylish development raises the bar with its stunning street appeal. The individual flair and design will appeal to those seeking distinctive quality and an eclectic mix of lifestyle choices.

Ø Stylish 2017 built ‘The Mount’ ground floor & front position home in a boutique group of 8 secure apartments
Ø HUGE 20 sqm entertainer’s courtyard with separate gate entry!
Ø BRAND NEW – Move in with vacant possession today
Ø Timber style flooring, recessed lighting, gas cooktop, stone benches, dishwasher, intercom & security alarm
Ø Large feature windows throughout & fitted with window treatments
Ø Reverse cycle air conditioning in living area & master bedroom
Ø 4sqm external store room and off-street visitor parking
Ø Internal: 58sqm, Courtyard: 20sqm, Car: 13sqm, Storage: 4sqm, Total: 95sqm

Lifestyle, 37 Methuen Way, South Duncraig – Townhouse D

37 Methuen Way, South Duncraig – Townhouse D

Relaxed Living in the highly desirable South Duncraig community, within walking distance to retail outlets, parks, dining options and a short drive to the coast and beautiful Waterman’s Bay. This wonderful stylish development has been created to maximise its location in one of Perth most coveted postcodes.

Ø These contemporary 3-bedroom homes are uniquely designed to maximise ground floor living with only minor bedrooms upstairs.
Ø Residential complex in a boutique group of 4 townhouses
Ø Custom-made cabinets in engineered stone kitchen benchtops
Ø Stainless steel Bosch appliances
Ø Quality bathroom fixtures and fittings
Ø Ducted reverse cycle air-conditioning
Ø LED downlights & security alarms
Ø NBN compliant/ready
Ø Landscaping & reticulation

Lifestyle on Strathyre & Ellon, 17A Strathyre Drive, South Duncraig – Townhouse A & 1 Ellon Place, South Duncraig – Townhouse

MG9929

These homes have been designed in that distinct Pulse boutique style and have been built to an exceptional standard with quality finishes inside and out. Perfectly positioned in a premier pocket in South Duncraig within walking distance to cafés, restaurants and train station.

Ø 3 bedroomed, 2 car garage townhouses built to a high standard
Ø The residential complex of 4 townhouse with mixture of owner occupiers and overseas investors
Ø Stone benchtops
Ø Timber floors to living areas and quality carpets to bedrooms
Ø LED lighting and alarm system
Ø Contemporary tile and plumbing selections along with stainless steel kitchen appliance
Ø Reverse cycle ducted air conditioning
Ø Roller binds window treatments
Ø Landscaping and reticulation

Thanks Amanda! Finally, is there anything you want to say before we finish and how can our readers reach you?

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this interview, we are always willing to speak to those wanting to know more about investing in the Perth property market.

For any enquiries, you can reach me on the following contact information:

Mobile: +43 (0) 417 991 654
Email: amanda@pulseps.com.au

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