NSW to launch a ‘pattern book’ to fast-track home building

In response to revelations that it’s completing fewer new builds on a per capita basis than Victoria or Qld, the NSW state government is looking to announce the development of a “pattern book”  – a pre-approved list of designs – with which to fast-track the building process.

It’s understood the state’s architect Abbie Galvin has been charged with working alongside private-sector architects and engaging in community consultation, to produce a building guide comprising key designs for both low-rise and mid-rise buildings, up to six stories.

While the proposed pattern book will not be compulsory or given preference, developers who endorse pattern book designs can expect a faster approval process.

“I’ve heard builders and other stakeholders explain some of the long approval times they encounter. What I’ve announced today is the start of addressing those delays,” Premier Chris Minns said.

With NSW recording fewer overall completions than Victoria last year – despite NSW’s higher population – the state’s minister for planning and public spaces, Paul Scully also conceded that Sydney needed to speed up its building time, while also increasing density.

“We want to ensure density is done well, and this package will ensure that happens,” Scully said.

Image: NSW Premier Chris Minns: Wikipedia

Softest capital city preliminary clearance rate since mid-March: CoreLogic

Capital city auction activity held relatively steady last week, with 2,972 homes auctioned across the capitals, easing slightly from the 2,990 held the week prior.

The third busiest auction week of the year-to-date (behind the week ending 29 October and the week ending 19 November), last week’s auction numbers were 23.9% higher than the numbers seen this time last year (2,414).

Across the largest auction markets, Melbourne recorded a mild easing in weekly auction activity, down -7.0% to 1,311, while Sydney hosted its busiest auction week of the year-to-date with 1,154 homes auctioned, up 8.6% week-on-week.

Resurgence of co-working space

In response to a CBRE report that forecasts a 10% uptick in flex exposures over the next three years, the Great Room by Industrious plans to open its doors in January 2024 at Level 29, 85 Castlereagh Street in Sydney’s CBD.

To cater to the city’s ongoing demand for flexible workspace, US-based Great Room by Industrious – which has over 160 coworking venues in 65 cities – will deliver a full floor of premium coworking facilities over 1,200 square metres.

It’s understood that Great Room by Industrious has already achieved pre-commitment on more than half of its [Castlereagh Street] space, securing memberships from companies within the technology, property, financial services, and legal services sectors.

Beyond Castlereagh Street, recently appointed Josh Alfafara head of Australian operations at The Great Room by Industrious said the company is set to expand in Australia and is looking to open locations within several key cities by Q4 2024.

“Our office locations are strategically placed and surrounded by transport, retail, hospitality, and wellness facilities. Our membership benefits include… centrally located and well-designed coworking spaces, and these are highly desirable points of difference for many,” said Alfafara.

Image: The Great Room by Industrious Australian coworking space

Queenstown’s new multi-billion dollar lakeside suburb

Melbourne-based property developer Ninety Four Feet, in collaboration with ASX-listed Centuria Capital Group, has unveiled plans to develop Lakeview Te Taumata, a groundbreaking 10-hectare lakeside suburb in the heart of Queenstown, NZ.

Encompassing diverse offerings, the multi-billion-dollar precinct is expected to include residential apartments, a co-living building, three hotels, A co-working centre, health and wellness facilities, curated retail spaces, an art gallery and a significant food and beverage offering.

With subdivision and civil works having commenced in 2020, the project is expected to officially launch early 2024.

It’s understood NZ Sotheby’s International Realty has invited high net-worth clients from their database to register their interest.

NZ Sotheby’s International managing director Mark Harris described Lakeview Te Taumata as Queenstown’s first truly world-class master-planned community in the CBD.

A$ to rise in 2024: Shane Oliver

The fall of the A$ from a February 2021 high of nearly $US0.80 to a low of around $US0.63 in October 2023 has made Australian property increasingly more attractive to overseas buyers.

However, Shane Oliver chief economist, AMP believes there are five good reasons to expect the $A to rise into next year, they include:

  • From a long-term perspective, the $A is somewhat cheap.
  • Relative interest rates are starting to swing in Australia’s favour with increasing signs that the Fed is at the top whereas there is still a high risk that the RBA will hike rates further.
  • Global sentiment towards the $A is somewhat negative and this is reflected in short or underweight positions.
  • Commodity prices look to be embarking on a new super cycle.
  • The swing into a current account surplus means Australia is a capital exporter and that there is more natural transactional demand for the $A than supply.

“The decline in the $A over the last few years has enhanced the returns from global shares in Australian dollar terms… so, when investing in international assets, an Australian investor has the choice of being hedged (which removes this currency impact) or unhedged (which leaves the investor exposed to $A changes),” said Oliver.

“Given our expectation for the $A to rise further into next year, there is a case for investors to tilt towards a more hedged exposure of their international investments.”

The best in building and construction celebrated

A JV between Obayashi (BOJV) & Walker Corporation, took out the top spot winning the National Construction Master Builder of the Year Award for their work on 6 & 8 Parramatta Square.

The 30,000 sqm Parramatta Square precinct comprises 4 commercial towers, plus a new civic library, council chambers and community facilities.

“The Joint venture with Obayashi and the Walker Corporation developed smart solutions to the complex problems of building this mega structure while still maintaining the desired function and appearance,” said Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn.

Meanwhile, National Residential Master Builder of the Year V-Build Construction Services won the award for their Mountain View home project in Queensland.

Reflecting a NZ mountain home combined with a US Ranch style, Wawn recognised that Build Construction Services’ Mountain View home project was a difficult build from the very start.

“The entire footprint of the house was excavated to rock, roads were built to access the estate, new electrical mains and fibre optical cabling was installed in addition to sewer treatment plants and half a million litres of water storage,” Wawn said.

Image: 6&8 Paramatta Square