Design for yield – property investors should focus on more than design in new developments, says leading architect

14 March 2023

Every property developer and their architect want a building that is going to win an award. But, that is not the most important thing to design for. 

‘Designing for yield’ is the most important element of design and development, believes James Alexander-Hatziplis, co-founder and managing director of PLACE Studio. 

Mr Alexander-Hatziplis says, “Designing for yield, or increased income, should be the focus for owners and investors in every new property development, not just how it looks.  

“Design and yield are very much interdependent,” he says.  Accordingly, when investors are looking at a property to invest in, they should ask more than just what the expected yield will be. There are a few others points that should be assessed.  

Mr Alexander-Hatziplis says, “Questions such as whether the building was designed with yield in mind are critical. What attributes does it have that will add additional yield? How will those elements protect the income if another property is developed next door?” 

“Tenants of all types want more than four walls and a roof over their head,” he says. “You have to understand what motivates demand for premises in each area.” 

Mr Alexander-Hatziplis suggests, “Elements that can increase yield include good lighting, with natural light where possible. 

“Good internet and mobile phone reception in all parts of the building are also essential.” 

“Other key design for yield elements include space to bring people together, to network, create and these spaces can also be used for socialising. This might be a dedicated space, such as a café, or areas for each prospective tenant.” 

“Then there are the environmental and associated ESG considerations. Solar panels are must for most developments these days, along with battery storage. Can the roof of the development account for these? Will there be enough to power the project?” 

Mr Alexander-Hatziplis notes, “by contrast, elements that can reduce yield can include poor security,  unconsidered arrangement of apartments, excessive hallways and lack of solar access.” 

PLACE Studio are the only architects in Australia who design with yield first and foremost in mind.  Mr Alexander-Hatziplis adds, “Of course it is great to win awards as well, but you have to cover off the fundamentals first, if our clients are creating more value with us then other architects then we will be considered for the next project.” 

PLACE Studio partners in a range of projects from commercial and offices to multi-residential dwellings and build-to rent through to industrial and properties for ASX-listed and private property developers.  

Co-founder, Marie-Claire Alexander-Hatziplis, adds, “Another key design aspect for increasing yield is curb appeal; is the building attractive from the street, the entrance – for visitors as well as employees working there? Or will the next one down the road be better?  

“Another key design for yield enhancer is ease of maintaining the property – is it easy or hard to maintain? This is a key feature of design and should be addressed from the initial stages of planning. 

“There is much more to designing a building than simply looking good,” she said.