McGrath's New Focus On Project Marketing Post COVID-19

McGrath's New Focus On Project Marketing Post COVID-19

Terri Sissian
Terri Sissian
26/05/2020 | 6 MIN READ

Colin Griffin and Murray Wood to join McGrath as they gear up for growth in the Sydney sector.


McGrath Limited (ASX:MEA) today announced that it would substantially bolster its project marketing division, McGrath Projects, securing two highly respected industry specialists Colin Griffin and Murray Wood, who will join as Associate Directors.


In announcing the appointments, McGrath CEO Geoff Lucas, said he believed the time was right to focus on the  re-emergence of the off-plan development sector post COVID-19 and saw excellent opportunities for growth in this area for the company.   


“We are making a strategic move to proactively invest in our business now by re-energising our Projects Division.  I am particularly pleased that McGrath has been successful in attracting such outstanding project marketers as Colin and Murray, who will work with our existing team to expand our capability and grow our market share across the CBD and metropolitan precincts of Sydney. Both will report to Adam Sparkes, GM of our Projects Division.


“We see great opportunity in the future of the development sector, notwithstanding the current environment.  Australia has been in the world spotlight for the exemplary way it has navigated its way through the pandemic and will again be considered as the land of opportunity and a safe haven for many.  The Government has made swift decisions based on medical advice, and not political posturing and this positions Australia very well for the future.   We believe that this will have a positive impact on confidence levels and our younger population seeking homeownership in the longer term as well as the broader market.


Mr. Lucas added, “We also believe now more than ever there will be a flight to quality in off-plan developments and buyers will seek projects of substance and high quality.   As a company, we believe the time is right to position ourselves with the very best team in project marketing as we emerge from COVID-19,” Mr Lucas concludes.


With a combined 40 years experience at the forefront of project marketing, both Mr Griffin and Mr Wood have an impressive track record and extensive tenure in senior positions within institutional specialist residential project marketing firms including CBRE, Colliers International, Knight Frank and JLL.  


With important insights into the sector, Mr. Griffin has highlighted the previously excruciatingly long process for development approvals.  


“Post COVID, the NSW Government is now focusing on approvals for ‘shovel-ready’ projects.  In line with UDIA’s recommendations, we anticipate this will have a positive impact on employment and construction.  We also anticipate that this will have a flow-on effect and will see commencement of larger residential projects adjacent to new infrastructure. Larger quality institutional developers that have the capacity to commence projects quickly without relying on pre-sales will look to start their builds.  This will instil a confidence in the residential market that has been lacking.”


Mr. Wood adds, “As anticipated, over the last two months we have seen new project releases take a pause in the    current COVID-19 environment. A number of developers who had new projects slated for the first half of 2020 are now looking for economic conditions to show signs of real improvement and a return in confidence before launching.  However, for developers with a longer timeline in mind, we are seeing many focussed to be in a position to be ‘marketing ready’ in order to strike without delay; from what we are seeing that could be as soon as Spring 2020.”

 

Mr Wood is in agreement with his new CEO regarding Australia’s handling of the pandemic.  “On a world stage,  Australia will come out of the current COVID-19 Pandemic being recognised for its efficient response with our people, economy and banking system retaining its strength and enviable reputation as being stable and secure.” He adds, “‘We expect to see an increase in confidence from off-shore markets by the last quarter of 2020 with an invigorated appetite for off-the-plan sales into 2021 and beyond. Our connections into Asia and other regions can be reopened when the time is right.  Careful planning needs to be put in place now so we can capture emerging markets likely to see Australia as the safe haven it is.”

Further Market Commentary and Insights:

Colin Griffin shares market insights on developer activity

A shortage of supply in the general residential agency market 

Lack of choice in this market can result in off-the-plan projects being a genuine option, providing the criteria of being close to transport and within easy reach of shopping and schools is met, along with the need for developers to provide a quality end product, suiting buyers’ lifestyle needs and budgets. Moving forward, the onus will be on the developer to stand by their product: it’s no longer about cost-cutting at the expense of the buyer’s expectations.  Developer quality and track record will be big drivers for buyers to have confidence to switch from the general agency market to off-plan.
 

Developers must drive their product to ensure customer satisfaction, not just satisfying revenue targets

Quality of build and delivery is paramount.  Buyers deserve the right to expect that what is delivered meets their initial expectations and strong, conscientious developers are more than willing to provide this. Now, the power and immediacy of social media is a real-time indicator of how developers’ products and services are being perceived. 
 

Downsizers to play their role in the recovery

A renewed appetite for quality off-plan projects particularly from the local market is anticipated.  Downsizers particularly, as there is always movement in this sector however, now they have more expectations and demands to meet their requirements. This could possibly be through direct meetings with the developer, their architects and interior designers with personalised input to layouts and finishes.
 

Buyers have the power 

Buyers have access to so much more information now which can help them seek out an off-plan professional with proven experience in this field who understands and can communicate the entire process confidently in order to achieve the best end result for them. Communication throughout the entire process between the developer and the buyer via the agent and conveyancer is integral, not just at the time of initial purchase and when it's time to settle.

About Colin Griffin:

Colin has listed and managed approximately $4 billion in residential projects spanning over 3000 apartments.  This includes a diverse range of developments of varying sizes and areas across the CBD and metropolitan Sydney.  Luxury developments in Sydney’s CBD include the Stamford Residences, Stamford Marque and The Hyde.  Off-plan launch sales include landmarks Barangaroo Stage 1, Loftus Lane CBD, Darling Square, Pacific Bondi, to name a few.

About Murray Wood:

With over 25 years experience in Global Residential Sales and Marketing, Murray has managed some of Sydney’s most celebrated iconic and mixed use urban development projects.  They include Opera Residences (including off-the-plan penthouse record sales of $26 million and $27 million in one week); Darling Square, Barangaroo Stage 1, to name a few.