“Trying to pick an off-plan development which is likely to appreciate upon completion, is extremely difficult and a high-risk strategy for investors. The main reason is that, often, new builds command a significant premium compared with surrounding existing property prices, so you are buying in the hope that the development will significantly outperform local property prices. You can increase your chances by buying into a low density (fewer than 100 units) development where, if the development proves popular, there is a demand vs. supply imbalance which would lead to an increase in prices. The development also has to tick many other boxes such as location, proximity to transport links, and shops.
Questions to ask
1. How many units are there?
2. What is the break up between one, two, and three bedroom units?
3. Which direction does your unit face? South facing is always going to be the best in terms of light.
4. Are there other developments planned in the area? This will hugely affect the investment potential – if there are thousands of units planned in the immediate area it could significantly reduce the investment potential.
5. Will your view be affected by future development?
6. Are you able to assign your contract? This is crucial if you plan to sell the property before completion as some developers prevent this in the sales contract meaning you have to wait until all units are sold before you can sell yours.
7. What is the anticipated service charge? Again, this is key as a high service charge will eat into your rental yield if you plan to let the property.
8. What are the staged payment plans?
9. How many units have already sold and what is the buyer profile?
10. What other schemes has the developer built? If possible, it’s a good idea to go and visit a previous development to get an idea of the quality you can expect from the developer.”
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