From the Editor’s Desk – Commentary

Our last Village Collective newsletter was published in May on the eve of the Stage 4 sales ballot, which seems like a lifetime ago now. Despite what you might think, the WEV team has not gone to Exmouth on holiday like most Margaret River residents, nor have we been hibernating through winter. We have instead been forging ahead through rain, bureaucracy and Covid. It’s been an intense couple of months!

Since the fantastic outcome of the Stage 4 sales ballot (25 out of 46 lots in 4A and 4B are reserved or under contract already), we have been busily walking our future Ecovillagers through sales contracts. Happily, they’re just as excited and inspired to live in the Ecovillage community as our current residents, despite the jitters caused by the dynamic flux of the housing and financial markets.

There’s no doubt that inflation, rising interest rates and extended building timeframes are giving many buyers pause right now, an issue we addressed in the May edition of Village Collective. However, by extending the Stage 4-5 building timeframe to four years, we are doing what we can to take the pressure off our buyers, as there’s no doubt it will all settle down in due course. We think our buyers recognise the fact that this is a once in a lifetime project. Once Stage 4-5 is sold out, that’s it. We’re anticipating considerable increase in land value due to the Ecovillage’s incredible amount of amenities, infrastructure and community land. There’s just nothing else like it.

In an effort to inject more competition, choice and, ideally, lower prices into our micro-housing market, the Ecovillage team has also recently engaged in talks with a large project home builder that works in the South West. Like all builders working in the Ecovillage, they will need to work within the parameters of our Building Design Guidelines, which set a high standard for sustainability, thermal efficiency, and quality.

While there is recognition of the growing demand for sustainability and appreciation for the value of our approach, the bigger building companies have established supply chains, contracts and methodologies that tend to be less flexible than smaller builders.

However, I’m very pleased to report that they’re as excited as we are about supplying an affordable range of sustainable homes in the Ecovillage, and we’re very impressed with the level of professionalism, interest and effort this company is making to work with us.

They certainly won’t be replacing our existing builders, who have been doing a wonderful job in very trying times, supplying more bespoke designs and materials, including one-off architectural homes.

While we’re not in the business of providing financial advice, the major market indicators (copper, oil and shipping costs) are all pointing towards a downturn in inflation, and there’s increasing speculation about recessions in the US, Europe and China at present. Many economists are now anticipating interest rates to start falling again, in the second half of next year.

We fully understand how disappointing the building cost increases are to all of our future residents that haven’t started building yet, which is why we’ve been working hard to bring a more affordable range of homes to the project. We also appreciate that we are all at different points on our life journeys and have different capacities to wear these additional costs.

We want to extend our hand to say that if you’re facing some delays due to the current circumstances and your commencement date is approaching, please get in touch. We’re open to granting reasonable building timeframe extensions if needed.