A Tax Depreciation blog by Paul Bennion.

Buying apartments off the plan has become very popular with property investors throughout Australia over recent years.

For a relatively small deposit, they can secure an apartment and then look forward to future capital growth as the apartment development is constructed.

In particular, property investors have been very active in the off the plan apartment markets in Sydney and Melbourne over the past three years because property prices in these two capital cities have been on an upward trajectory.

More recently, DEPPRO has recorded greater activity by property investors in the off the plan markets in Brisbane and the Gold Coast because they believe property values in these areas may increase over the next two years.

If you are considering ‘buying off the plan,’ then you should consider a number of key issues related to this type of property purchase.

  • Buying ‘off the plan’ is very different from buying an established property because you cannot physically see the exact property you are buying. The physical size of the property is important because homes which are more spacious are quite often more easier to resell than homes with more limited space.
  • If the developer has recently constructed a similar type of property, then ask for a viewing so you can see their work, and get an idea of what a similar type of purchase may look like. In particular, check the size of the bedrooms because more people are looking for larger bedroom space.
  • It is important to ensure that the product you are proposing to purchase is reflective of what is built. For example, when the development is completed, the colour scheme and finishings of the property may not match the images presented on brochures during the marketing programme. A good tip is to check with previous clients of the developer to find out if they were happy with the finished product. For extra peace of mind, ask as many questions of the developer as you feel you need prior to actually making the purchase.
  • Take the plans of the development and go ‘on site’ if possible to determine the potential views of your property. If you are buying an inner city property, river views, for example, can add thousands of dollars to the value of the property. However, if the apartment is facing other buildings, then the resale value of the property may not be as great.
  • When reviewing plans for the property, you should make yourself fully aware of the layout. Look for issues such as the size and location of windows and the entrance to the property, as all of these items can have an impact on attracting potential tenants and future buyers.
  • Compare the price of the off the plan apartment you plan to buy with similar established apartments in the local area. This will give you a good idea of its current market value.