Developer says time to rehash GASH concept

Developers who want a significant share of the new home market going forward are going to have to return to the fundamentals of the good-address-small-home (GASH) concept.

So says Jo Pelser, MD of leading residential developer Sable Homes, who notes that, quite apart from rising home prices, the spiralling costs of home ownership are pushing buyers into a rethink on what constitutes good value.

"As property rates, service charges and maintenance costs rise, buyer demand is shifting to smaller, easy-care properties. However, they also want high standards of design and finish and would generally prefer to live in long-established, central suburbs.

"To meet these demands, developers will increasingly have to find sites in sought-after areas that offer homebuyers good potential for capital growth, and deliver homes that are no less desirable, or well-built, because they are compact.

"This - and not bargain-basement pricing - is the essence of the original GASH concept. And it happens to dovetail nicely with the current attempts of many local authorities to encourage the densification of older suburbs and better use of their existing infrastructure and other resources."

In fact, says Pelser, homebuyers need to be aware that cheap could turn out to be exceedingly nasty in the current market.

"Much has already been said about developers being caught in a squeeze between long project approval times and rapidly rising building input costs.But not enough has been said about the possible effects of this situation on consumers.

"Homebuyers are the real losers when a project is cancelled because a developer cannot build the promised homes for the advertised price, or worse, when a developer starts cutting corners on the building work or finishes to keep a project within budget.

"Consequently, they should be very wary of purchasing in developments where low pricing is the main marketing pitch. This is a tactic often used by inexperienced developers - who are also those most likely to underestimate the time it takes to get a development off the ground, to under-cost their projects, and to put buyers' funds at risk."

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