It’s that time of the year again when the building industry will analyse its performance till date, and evaluate new strategies for the year ahead to keep up with the changing demands of the home buyer market and also remain competitive in a challenging landscape.

Allworth Homes managing director Stephen Thompson predicts significant changes to the building industry in 2015. He explains that land is in high demand, and competition amongst land developers should drive prices down for consumers, particularly first home buyers who are struggling to enter the property market.

New trends in the home building segment include designs incorporating smarter storage and efficient use of spaces as well as homes catering to the multigenerational household with the extended family concept gaining ground. Energy efficiency, open plan living/kitchen/dining area with a seamless flow into the outdoor living or alfresco area, and more edgy and affordable kitchen spaces are also trending in this segment.

Allworth Homes’ Top 6 trends and predictions for 2015

1. Competition amongst land developers will drive prices down

Increasing competition among land developers combined with smaller lot sizes should bring down the prices and introduce new buyers to the market who would previously not even have considered building.

2. Home designs will be small to suit a new market

A major trend in home design will be clever layouts incorporating computer nooks and great storage. Separate zones for family living and open plan designs with seamless indoor-outdoor living/kitchen/dining transition will be preferred.

3. House and land packages Vs split contracts

While many buyers will choose to pay a premium for a house and land package in a hot market as they’re being sold the repayments as much as the house, there will be plenty who will still source their own land and select a contract builder to save tens of thousands upfront, not to mention long term interest repayments. When the market inevitably cools, some of the newer exclusive package builders will withdraw. Contract builders will be preferred as they can meet the expectations of demanding clients.

4. Land availability will be strong in 2015

Higher land availability in the market in late 2014 and into 2015 will correspondingly increase the affordability, particularly in the Hunter and Illawarra regions. Pent-up demand for affordable housing should see contract building companies such as Allworth Homes well placed for the next 3-4 years. Lot sizes in Sydney will be markedly smaller with minimum sizes going down to 450 square metres from 600 square metres.

5. Volume home builders will be assessing some alternative materials to bricks

With the shortage of bricklayers, building companies are exploring alternatives to bricks. Stephen Thompson says people are warming to the idea of alternatives to brick, as long as the new material maintains all the benefits of traditional brick veneer.

6. Multigenerational living is on the rise

An interesting trend is the move towards the extended family concept with several new home buyers ‘future-proofing’ their home design by having layouts that can, for instance, help create a new sleeping accommodation with bathroom access with minimal renovation work. Homes with versatile spaces that can be used in different ways and accommodate multigenerational living will continue to be in high demand in the coming years.