Developer divulges development success

12 December 2022

Harmony by AVID Property Group on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is one of the fastest growing residential communities in Australia and its project director has unveiled the secrets to its success for the first time.

In the heat of the property market, blocks at Harmony have sold up to nine months before being registered, and at that rate homesites are expected to sell out a whopping five years ahead of original forecasts.

AVID Property Group Queensland Project Director Anthony Demiris said Harmony’s flexible masterplan was impressive from the outset. He said he was happy to speak about the design intent behind Harmony as it could help urban planners and developers.

“Harmony is the largest development in the growing Sunshine Coast suburb of Palmview and our vision for it only emerged after a lengthy and detailed urban design process,” Mr Demiris said.

“We laboured over every detail before we put pen to paper because we wanted to create something special that delivered above expectations and set new standards in community design and amenity.

“It was important residents could feel connected to their environment, homes, and neighbours. We invested in a full-time community manager before the first residents started moving in.”

“Our masterplan included delivering significantly wider than usual neighbourhood streets with deep planting, incorporating clever housing designs with rear garages to declutter the streetscapes, and using bioretention devices to treat stormwater onsite for improved sustainability and landscape amenity.

“Every stage of life needed to be catered for, which meant a diverse housing mix and accessibility to key services such as childcare, schools, the University of the Sunshine Coast, medical facilities and lifestyle amenities.”

Harmony is half complete, and upon completion it will eventually comprise 4,800 homes, a town centre with approximately 25,000 sqm of retail and commercial space, over 130 hectares of open space comprising seven major parklands including a central Grand Linear Park the length of 10 football fields, and 60km of pedestrian path and cycleways.

Mr Demiris recently accepted two trophies on AVID’s behalf at the highly coveted 2022 Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) Queensland Awards for Excellence. This included the overall trophy for Project of the Year.

While naming Harmony’s biggest asset was subjective, Mr Demiris said Harmony’s connected grid layout focusing on walkability design features were a huge point of difference.

“Since 2020 a key urban design mandate for Queensland master-planned communities is to locate every residence within a five-minute walk to a park, however, Harmony well exceeded that before that code was introduced, with a 2.5-minute walkability index,” he said.

“Some 40 per cent of the development was purposely reserved as greenspace by AVID before construction began and 90 per cent of residents are within 250 metres walk from a park.”

“Among the many landmark features of the community is a 5ha Grand Linear Park – an innovation that gives Harmony a unique identity, while also creating a major point of difference for homebuyers.”

“There are ample places for people to get outdoors and connect, without taking the car out. Combine this with Harmony’s location close to world-famous beaches and within easy reach of the major highway connecting the coast with Brisbane, it is a community that is so desirable to live in.”

Harmony’s urban planning consultant was Peter Egerton, Service Line Leader of Urban Design at RPS Australia Asia Pacific.

Mr Egerton, who has been a planning and design professional for more than 30 years, said about 90 per cent of Harmony residents were owner occupiers – something that was relatively unheard of in master planned communities.

“There is a point of difference customers feel when they visit Harmony but can’t put their finger on, but it all comes down to AVID’s attention-to-detail and the sum of many refinements that make it an appealing place to live,” Mr Egerton said.

Mr Demiris said Harmony had a proven track record of sales success achieving about 2,500 sales since its launch in 2017, and last year was one of, if not the largest and fastest growing master- planned community in Australia.

Gross sales of 1,000 lots recorded in the 20-21 financial year, as a residential development Harmony was in rare company nationally, and tracked similarly for the 21-22 financial year.

“Interestingly, current enquires from those who already own a home at Harmony number 20 a month and we also receive 70 to 100 enquiries a week from repeat customers, which is testament to how much people enjoy living there,” he said.

AVID also funds an annual Community Sponsorship and Grants Program which has invested almost $600,000 in 11 community projects.

Since implementation, Harmony’s sales hub has also been religiously studied and replicated by other developers. The hub breaks away from the stereotypical hard-sell approach, recognising educated buyers need confirmation and soft touch points. It features a café, putt-putt, project office and immersive sales centre where customers experience living at Harmony via a curved sensorial touch screen.