Technology benefitting lawyers and developers alike

Left: Emile McPhee, Special Counsel at McCullough Robertson Right: Nicole Senese, Lawyer at MBA Lawyers

PEXA Projects, which first launched in 2017, streamlines the processes involved in the coordination and execution of settlements for multi-lot developments (off-the-plan sales and sales of vacant land post subdivision).

Today, settling digital is firmly ingrained in Queensland – and Emile McPhee, Special Counsel at McCullough Robertson provided some insight into why PEXA Projects has been a game-changer for his firm and the industry.

“PEXA Projects is now an integral part of our processes,” explains McPhee. 

“In particular, the ability to upload information, prepare documents and sign in bulk has introduced a number of real efficiencies, both in the time spent on those tasks themselves as well as the time needed to cross check data and documents, particularly at a senior level.”

McPhee goes on to describe that aside from the ‘bulk’ benefits, PEXA Projects is also great in being able to manage large developments in real time, with open visibility for all parties involved (including mortgagees and buyers), which reduces the extra time taken to provide updates across the course of the sales.

“For our clients, the largely instantaneous receipt of funds is also obviously a key benefit, and the ability to provide quick real time updates on the status of settlements, particularly where there might be a hundred or more in a day, is fantastic.”

McPhee also noted that the renowned STAR development, a large residential precinct on the Gold Coast, was seamlessly managed through PEXA Projects.

“We were able to easily allocate (and reallocate) work between staff as needed in order to meet the demands, and staff were able to work on these remotely – gone are the days of a settlement room with hundreds of boxes, thousands of pages and millions of dollars in cheques all being passed around. 

“This could all then be coordinated simply by one or two key team members, who had real time access to everything they needed.

“Products like PEXA Projects are integral in being able to achieve the large daily settlement rates that we saw on STAR (and for previous projects we have been involved with, such as ARIA’s The Standard).”

Nicole Senese, a lawyer with MBA Lawyers has had a similar experience in her work with a number of prominent property developers.

“The project overview dashboard, and the ability to complete bulk actions across the workspaces, helps streamline our operations and gives us assurance that all tasks are up-to-date. 

“The new integration with the ATO has also been very beneficial – it’s allowed a streamlined experience for all parties with generation of GST Forms 1 and 2 and auto-population of the payment to ATO including the relevant payment references.”

The ability to settle easily in bulk has been useful as Australia’s east-coast property market powered through back-to-back record-breaking financial years, with more than 628,000 residential property sale settlements – worth an aggregate $554 billion – being completed in FY22, per PEXA Insights.

Notably, Queensland led the way nationally with 220,692 residential settlements, up almost 12% from FY21 – with the prevalence of multi-lot developments contributing significantly to the momentum.

The Sunshine State has however experienced a noticeable decline in sale settlements from the first half to the second half of the financial year, coinciding with the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision to lift the official cash rate.

And McPhee offered his own thoughts on what his FY23 outlook on Queensland developments, volume and his general industry insights.

“We are still seeing high volumes from developments commenced in 2021 and earlier, which are looking to complete in the next 12 months.

“Despite the much-publicised interest rate rises and continuing difficulties facing the construction sector, we’re still seeing interest in both mixed use and flat land developments, looking to capitalise on the strong performance of the housing market in Queensland over the last 18 months (and, in more recent months, the strength of units and townhouses). 

“While we could expect a slow down into FY24, the outlook still looks good, particularly for larger or more established developers who are able to ride out the market cycles and spread risk more effectively, but we also expect to see smaller developers come back online once the cautionary period eases.

“Housing affordability, as well as affordable and community housing, continues to be a concern for Queensland (and the broader Australian market), so we’re hopeful that these will continue to be considered and supported in order to meet the rising demand in Queensland – particularly as we head towards the 2032 Olympics.”

This sponsored content article represents the views of the sponsor and does not necessarily reflect the views of Queensland Law Society

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