This is especially important when undertaking renovations. It’s probably smarter to pay more now than to be forced into a hasty and overly expensive upgrade when it becomes clear that expectations have shifted since your last release.

Sustainability

The outcome of the recent federal election shows that climate change and sustainability are key issues for mainstream Australia.

The push to develop the green tech sector and encourage its use is expected to grow under the new Labor government, bolstered by the strong parliamentary presence of the Greens and Teal Independents.

According to the non-profit group Architecture 2030, the built environment generates nearly 50% of annual global CO2 emissions. Locally, the Green Building Council of Australia has estimated that residential buildings generate 57% of our total emissions in the built environment.

As political and industrial momentum builds, the sustainable technologies used to build and power homes are likely to become more efficient and cost-effective – and a growing expectation from climate-conscious buyers and renters.

This includes an energy-efficient design, with features such as solar panels, passive heating and cooling, recycled and sustainable building materials, wastewater treatment and reuse, and smart lighting.

Conversely, less sustainable technologies could quickly become more expensive and much less socially acceptable.

Property investors shouldn’t feel rushed to redevelop properties with the latest sustainable measures, but it should be a factor when it comes time to replace, alter or add properties. This should also be taken into account in future purchase decisions.

Technology

Smart home technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, with innovations in artificial intelligence, robotics and sensors set to reshape the nature of the typical home.

Automated heating and air conditioning, security, lighting, blinds and entertainment equipment are just the start. As technology becomes more ubiquitous and familiar, tenant and buyer expectations will follow.

That said, smart home technology, like all technology, can be trendy and sometimes quickly become obsolete. Not so long ago, early adopters spent large sums rewiring their properties to incorporate smart home technologies – but the later advent of wireless Bluetooth technology has made the investment obsolete and unnecessary.

Make sure you’re wise before jumping into the latest smart home technologies. Seek to understand the technology’s past evolution, where it fits into the larger ecosystem, and its potential trajectory. Is it destined to become a permanent fixture or a whimsical throwback?

Habitability preferences

Home preferences are constantly changing. Early Australian homes typically featured pocketed floor plans, with separate living areas. Over the past few decades, open space living has become the predominant preference.

However, COVID-19 has seen another change – with separate and flexible living/working spaces favored to accommodate the new trend of working from home.

Maximizing and making smart use of space should be a key consideration. For apartments, this may mean providing wall-mounted drop-down desks in bedrooms or making the most of alcoves.

For homes, that could mean turning underused sheds into usable home offices, freeing up internal living spaces and bedrooms.

It is important to remember that despite future real estate trends, from a real estate investment perspective, asset selection remains paramount.

However, ensuring your investment is updated to match changing market expectations will certainly help maximize long-term returns.