Landmark Properties announced that it was in the process of rolling out a range of 'calculator' tools in order to help prospective clients determine the affordability of potential purchases.
The group has installed a mortgage calculator
on its site, allowing users to estimate monthly repayments on a specific mortgage, and a reverse version whereby users can input their monthly budget in order to judge what properties are in their price range.
This is in line with a number of initiatives also rolled out by competitor companies such as Better Homes, and marks what analysts describe as a new sense of realism in the market.
'As with the type of investor that we are now seeing, the market is also changing,' said Asad Sawani, a financial analyst with Landmark Advisory. 'You need more tools now, in order to make these decisions, especially because of all the current uncertainty.'
The group has also introduced a rent-to-buy calculator, allowing users to input a range of factors to judge whether it makes more financial sense to continue to rent or whether they should invest in a unit.
A secondary calculator allows buyers to forecast their return on investment and potential yields if the property is for revenue generation. Although they are free of charge, these last will only be available through consultants.
'We haven't seen these tools in the market yet,' Charles Neil, Landmark Properties' Chief Financial Officer, told AME Info. 'Others will follow and in time we might simplify them and put them on the site. Our fear is that if people use it freely they may input the wrong figures and get the wrong information out of it so it's best to make use of these with a qualified person.'
Landmark has diversified its business model in order to realign itself to the new real estate market. The company last year received a property management licence in preparation for the anticipated Strata law regulations, and has pushed development on its advisory services.
'We started to plan for this last year. We saw the market couldn't go on rising - although we never expected it to come down the way that it did either – so we started to diversify,' said Neil.
New financial sectors
'We acquired a property management licence last year, and that's going to be a big activity and connects well with our leasing sector. There's a lot of opportunity out there for professional property managers and we're seeing a lot of business coming in from that side.
'We've also been awarded a valuation licence, so we're now recruiting for that and that's going to fit in very well with our advisory service. We'll see buyers using those services a lot more from now on, like in a more mature market such as the UK where it is commonplace.'
Leasing has also become more important as sales volumes decline. The reduction in rental costs has also prompted activity as current tenants look to upgrade their accommodation.
'Leasing volumes have gone up, but obviously at the same time sales volumes have come down. But you are seeing a lot of people moving, upgrading. They were perhaps happy with the level of rent but they could get a better value property. A lot of leases are coming up in the end of June, and the next round will be in September, so we're seeing a lot of volume in that market.'