An Eventful Year: 2018 in Review for the Property Developer Market


The end of a calendar year is always a time of reflection and taking stock.

For the property market, 2018 may have seen some ups and downs, but there have also been more than a few silver linings – particularly for new developments.

More first homebuyers

As the market has cooled, opportunities for first homebuyers have grown, giving them the best chance in years of becoming property owners.

Nicola Powell, senior research analyst at Domain, has noticed this shift.

“I think particularly for first homebuyers in NSW and Victoria, we have seen an increase in buyer participation,” Powell says.

“They’ve got fewer investors to compete against, they’ve got fewer foreign buyers to compete against, and they’ve got first homebuyer incentives from each state government that is abolishing stamp duty below a certain price point.”

Powell notes that in Sydney and Melbourne, apartments are outperforming houses and aren’t as impacted by price deterioration.

“The desirability of units is certainly growing. We’re seeing buyers drawn to the apartment space due to affordability and being connected,” she explains.

“Units are particularly popular among first homebuyers because you tend to find they’re better connected, they’re better placed in terms of location, closer to the CBD and with a lower price point.”

Changing buyer profiles

Running parallel to the surge in first homebuyers, buyer profiles and their property demands are changing, too.

“There’s certainly a shift in active buyer segments in the market,” Powell agrees.

“We’re seeing it become more of an owner-occupier led market.”

Whereas investors purchase properties based on potential capital growth, owner-occupiers prioritise liveability and a high-quality product.

As such, they look at balcony spaces, number of bedrooms, an apartment’s orientation, and a development’s layout and location. Outdoor and green spaces are also highly sought after.

Increasingly, stock is changing to align with these owner-occupier needs.

Powell says in 2018, the average floor space of new apartments in Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and the ACT increased compared to the previous year. Additionally, more new developments are including features such as shared gardens, childcare facilities and supermarkets.

“All of those things that help to create an easier lifestyle for a family,” says Powell.

“Which I think is attractive to that buyer segment.”


The Block and hope in the high end

Popular television program The Block had the most-watched reality finale in Australia this year, and its five apartments were just as successful: they had a 100 per cent clearance rate, with all selling well over reserve.

Emily Murren, national brand marketing manager at Domain, says The Block demonstrates that despite lower clearance rates in the market more broadly, there’s still strong demand for luxury residences, especially for developers who know their market well.

“The key to their success was the contestants renovating with their buyer in mind, and ensuring their apartment appealed to the profile they identified,” she explains.

Domain’s highlights

The year provided major highlights for Domain Group, too.

According to data from Nielsen Digital Content Ratings, Domain was accessed by 5.87 million Australians in October, the peak of the spring property season.

Murren says Domain’s property news, market insights and high-quality journalism are key to its popularity with readers.

“Additionally, the launch of the Domain Research House and expanded team of research analysts, this year will enable us to further leverage the wealth of data Domain is sitting on to track and explain Australia's property markets.”

And Fairfax Media’s merger with Nine Entertainment Company will create even more opportunities for Domain, she adds.

“It will help us expand our reach nationally and build our highly engaged, quality audience of property seekers.”

For more information on how Domain can assist with your 2019 financial year project marketing campaign contact or visit

Main image: The Lennox at Parramatta by EQ projects

The Urban Developer is proud to partner with Domain Media to deliver this article to you. In doing so, we can continue to publish our free daily news, information, insights and opinion to you, our valued readers.

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