Designs to future-proof your property investment

Not all design trends stand the test of time. What features should you look for in your property investment?

While some design trends come and go, others have long-term appeal to homebuyers. What should you look out for to future-proof your property investment?

Property sales tend to be based on a blend of emotion and logic. Homebuyers like to purchase a property that they can visualise themselves living in, with only a minimal makeover required to secure a solid resale price a decade or so down the track.

However, not all design trends stand the test of time, so what features should you look for to future-proof your property investment?

Social trends driving design

Residential designs tend to mirror the era in which they were created. The radicalism of the 1970s, for example, was expressed indoors through bold patterns and textures, while the 1990s minimalist aesthetic may be regarded as a reaction to the excesses of the 1980s. 

The current shift to higher-density living in Australia is being driven by factors including proximity to employment, changing lifestyle preferences and housing affordability. The latest Australian Census data shows that the number of occupied apartments has increased by 78 per cent over the past 25 years. 

“Wealthy, older retirees want to live somewhere that will enhance their retirement lifestyle.” Peter Kudelka, Kay & Burton

Australia’s older, affluent population and its desire to live in close proximity to the CBD and amenities such as restaurants, transport, entertainment and health care, is also fuelling the emergence of a “luxury downsize” market in major cities across the country. 

“Wealthy, older retirees want to live somewhere that will enhance their retirement lifestyle,” says Peter Kudelka, a director at real estate agency Kay & Burton. “Apartments were also once seen as a more affordable entry point for first-home buyers, but now we’re seeing more people choose an apartment over a house because of the appeal of luxury developments with shared facilities, where owners split the cost.”

Enduring design trends

While some designs may be based on passing fads, those that stand the test of time tend to be simple and functional, with classic colour schemes and high-quality fixtures and fittings.

Michele Pasca di Magliano, associate director at Zaha Hadid Architects, designer of Melbourne’s new luxury apartment development, Mayfair, says design trends today aim to enhance experiences that prospective home owners will value now and into the future. 

“People want privacy, especially in urban environments, so designs now aim to maximise this experience,” he says. “They also value access to facilities and being surrounded by high-quality materials,” he adds.

Pasca di Magliano says a sense of privacy can be achieved through design features such as private lift lobbies that open directly into apartments. Access to amenities can also be enhanced through indoor swimming pools and cinemas. He adds that high-quality features and fittings include classic, hard-wearing materials, such as marble, that stand the test of time both in their durability and aesthetic appeal.

“Entertaining is another experience that people will always enjoy, so residential designs reflect this with kitchen, living and dining areas that are subtly divided by an island bench,” says Pasca di Magliano. “This kind of design also maximises space.”

Homebuyers also value services such as 24-hour concierge and private garages with car valets, says Kudelka. “These kinds of services are especially popular with older homebuyers as they provide greater convenience,” he says.

Maximising smaller spaces

Kudelka says homes are getting smaller, which reflects the growing trend of apartment living. As a result, the enduring designs are those that make the most of their small footprint.

“Open-plan living and built-in storage are things that people value in smaller spaces,” he says. “Also, look for elements that have a sense of luxury,” he adds. “Walk-in wardrobes, for example, are a good use of space in terms of resale. They will be popular with homebuyers now and in the future.”

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Visit to see how the Zaha Hadid-designed Mayfair incorporates these future-proof design elements.

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September 2018
September 2018

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