As featured via The Urban Developer, 4 November 2019.
In life, common sense helps us make decisions and gives us the signposts to navigate the everyday.
However, in the property industry, using “uncommon sense” can be the tool to help developers create and implement strategies that can lead to success in all market conditions.
DMA Partners, a Brisbane-based property and development advisory firm, take this to the heart of their operation by using “uncommon sense” as the framework for their insightful development advice.
This results in a process of applying their multi-disciplinary experience and return-driven approach to individual circumstances.
DMA Partners have provided development strategies to clients since 2008, a service that has grown from understanding and accounting for market factors and influences from the outset. This approach challenges the conventional way of thinking and instead looks at each strategy as a unique opportunity to provide optimal results.
Based on thinking outside of the box, and approaching development strategies from different perspectives, the outcome has been a more efficient process delivering shorter timeframes and higher returns that means less risk and less stress to key people involved.
This uncommon approach has become even more valuable as market conditions shift. After a long period of pessimism in the Australian property market, developers and buyers can finally sense opportunity, as regulatory intervention in financial markets lessens and demand strengthens.
Optimism has risen for both the commercial and residential property markets as macroeconomic factors – such as cash rate cuts and revised APRA guidance – have continued to influence confidence.
Property development ultimately delivers and responds to the changing needs of a community, which can be lucrative if executed properly and risky if not.
DMA Partners has seen demand for their services grow significantly over the past couple of years. The combination of difficult funding conditions, a complex sales and leasing market, and an overall market slowdown in various regions, has put pressure on development returns.
“One of the biggest mistakes that we see made in property investment and development is the lack of a brief or strategy when projects are first conceived,” DMA Partners managing director Ryan Andersen said.
“Often the consultant team is engaged, and the design commences without a clear development strategy.
“[This] delays commencement of the project, while the consultant team looks for solutions without being provided with a brief that includes key market research or considers elements such as valuation funding constraints and the overall feasibility.”
Is a design team that has the desired experience and skills but lacks a clear direction going to be effective enough? DMA Partners’ answer to this question is no, as they still need a brief and strategy that outlines the project’s required parameters to make it commercially viable, something that should be done as early as possible in the project to help guide it to fruition.
DMA Partner’s development advisory service has grown more complex and valuable over the past decade and created new approaches that effectively deal with complex issues arising for developers.
“We have included economic research and a retail leasing team into the mix, as well as increasing our sector diversity from retail to include mixed-use, commercial, residential, retirement or aged care, sporting facilities and clubs, hotels, and industrial,” Andersen said.
From years of experience in conducting and interpreting market and economic research, their fully integrated development team has created a development advisory service that incorporates strategy into the very first consultant design brief.
Their strategy responds to the real risks and capital constraints of Australia’s finance market by tailoring a development plan to a client’s resources in order to maximise their value.
The development advisory process effectively turns a project conceptualisation from what you “could” do to what you “should” do, and captures valuable opportunities that are missed in traditional design-led approaches to development.
For example, in the complex realm of rental revenue, stabilising and securing tenant income streams in a low growth economy is key to creating sustainable revenue for a landlord. DMA Partners has already experienced an increase in enquiries from fund managers and investors with potentially vulnerable assets.
Their approach to this is a multi-faceted one, which involves re-positioning an asset by improving its convenience, experience and amenity.
Using uncommon sense, the team works to look at development opportunities but also customer experience and convenience, major tenant leasing and negotiation, and operational efficiency.
Eleven years on from its first conception, DMA Partners’ development advisory service still provides this level of service to clients of all scales, from fund managers and REITs to small developers, clubs and high net worth investors. Whether large or small, a development strategy is essential to every project, and an uncommon sense approach is what will set the strategy apart.
As an independent property consulting firm, DMA Partners seeks projects that are challenging and can benefit from the value of their knowledge and experience, and a detailed commercial approach. Every project is first planned, checked and then delivered to achieve a client’s unique objectives.