Apartment living is increasing in popularity in our capital cities and some of the large regional centres. With demand showing no sign of slowing in the short term and with stocks of new and older apartments in short supply in some areas, home buyers and investors are turning towards buying off-the-plan.
Pay a Deposit, Sign a Contract and Wait
For those unfamiliar with this method of buying real estate, the prospective buyer selects the apartment they want from plans and artist impressions of the completed product. They pay a deposit and sign a contract to buy an apartment that will be built in the future or is in the process of being built. At this point there is no completed physical property to be inspected.
Fixed Price Protects Buyers from Price Rises
There are upsides to this way of buying but there are also downsides. Starting on a positive note, when buyers sign the contract the price is fixed, protecting them from price increases that could occur in a rising market by the time the building is completed. Also, buyers pay a reduced deposit, and as they do not settle the transaction until construction is completed, they have extra time to sort out their financials.
Stamp Duty Concessions and Rebates
There are also savings on stamp duty, as in most states, if the buyer signs the contract before construction starts, stamp duty is only levied on the value of the land, not the entire contract price. In Western Australia, the Off-the-Plan Duty Rebate Scheme offers a rebate of 75% on the duty paid on residential multi-tiered apartments, subject to certain conditions.
What Goes Up Could Come Down
On a negative note, one of the downsides to buying off-the-plan is the possibility that after buyers have signed the contract, the market could fall substantially, and unless it recovers before the building is finished, those buyers could be forced to settle on an apartment that has fallen in value.
What If the Developer Can’t Finish the Project?
Another downside is the possibility that the developer may go into liquidation before the project is finished. Like any major purchase, buyers should exercise due diligence over the financial stability of the developer. This is one of the biggest risks in buying off-the-plan. If this happens, buyers may lose their deposits, so it is worthwhile to investigate the reputation of the developers.
Our staff at Bunbury Real Estate are experienced in sales and property management, and coupled with comprehensive local knowledge they are well positioned to find the right property for every client. They have many apartment options to offer clients looking to buy, as well as providing advice to existing apartment owners who want to rent out their apartments and need up-to-date appraisal information.