Off-the-plan developers have started offering "made-to-order" apartments to buyers as concerns about building issues continue to hamper sales.

New and off-the-plan apartment buildings appear to have been tainted by concerns of structural integrity, and fire and water issues, said Metropole Property Strategists CEO Michael Yardney.

"Tailoring an apartment to a client's specific needs is a great step towards improving confidence," he told Your Investment Property.

Off-the-plan jitters?

Yardney said the "made-to-order" trend could be crucial in helping revive the confidence of potential buyers given the current market conditions.

Concerns about the quality of new building construction continued to weigh on sales and prices of apartments. In fact, three in five of off-the-plan apartments in Sydney and more than half in Melbourne were worth less at settlement, according to CoreLogic.

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As developers find the current off-the-plan market conditions challenging to navigate through, they need to set their eyes to new markets, Yardney said.

"They need to look for new markets, and the large group of owner-occupiers who would like to buy family-friendly apartments — not the Legoland dog boxes that have previously been built for investors — is an obvious market for developers today," he said.

Given the issues surrounding the off-the-plan market, Yardney believes this trend of giving buyers the power and the flexibility to customise their homes is a good sign.

"With more Australians trading backyards for balconies, this new trend will be welcomed by the many homebuyers who are planning to purchase an apartment," Yardney said.

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While the made-to-order trend is typically seen in luxury apartments, more developers now allow their buyers to customise their units, including changing the floor plans and adding extra rooms for free, said Hyecorp managing director Stephen Abolakian.

"We're calling it 'live your way', which is essentially giving buyers full control on how they want to design their homes," he said in a report in The Australian Financial Review.