Thanks to Privium Homes, home ownership is becoming a reality for more Australians than ever before.
Two sets of brothers and their chum once shared a common dream: to be the country’s leading home builder. Over two decades later, not only is their dream coming true, but so are the dreams of thousands of Aussies who thought home ownership was out of reach.
Robert Harder, James Harder, Andrew Clement, Don Wormwell, and Neil Wormwell founded Privium (formerly Impact Group AUS) in 1996, and have since built over 6,500 homes across Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales. Today, Privium is the largest builder of townhomes in the nation. For the past three years the Housing Industry Association has ranked them as the No. 1 home builder in Queensland and the eighth largest home builder overall. In the last year alone, Privium built 1,525 homes, or about 29 homes each week.
“We are all heavily involved day to day, and we try to run the company with a family culture, ethics, and values as we’ve worked to become a prominent builder and developer throughout the East Coast just by trying to deliver impeccable service and quality of house construction,” revealed co-founder and director Neil Wormwell.
From a first home to a forever home
The built experience that Privium delivers is remarkably different than what many young home seekers might imagine. Many builders present starry-eyed hopefuls with design choices that look great in a model home but cause dizzying sticker shock when the actual costs are added up.
Privium’s home packages leave no detail unmentioned, and there are no surprises in terms of inclusions or the final home price.
Typically, first-time homebuyers face at least one moment in their journey where expectations don’t meet up with reality. Privium endeavours to ease those pain points with straightforward programs, clear communication, and the ability to calm frayed nerves with expertise and understanding.
“We provide a fully complete home so that when people go into contracts they know exactly what the cost is,” Wormwell explained. “The price does not change; they know exactly what the levels and inclusions are in their home, and it's not something that they can change until after the contract is finished. Therefore, they know what they're getting and they don't get caught halfway through the process trying to build too much only to find that they can't pay for it.”
Privium offers a range of detached single, double, and split storey turnkey home designs in a variety of sizes, each with a garage. Pricing includes landscaping, driveways, and Privium’s industry-leading inclusions.
“We have varying degrees of house designs because we build so many homes,” Wormwell said, adding that by limiting customisation, buyers get the benefit of what amounts to a volume buyer discount. “Most people want the houses we build, so they might only have to make a few up alterations and it keeps the price right for them.”
Privium’s buyers get great value for their investment, particularly when it comes to finishings. “We provide a very high level of finishings relative to the market, and it's important that when people go to resell, customers see that the house has been built with quality. Or, if they're living there, they appreciate the quality for years to come rather than saying, ‘saved $50 on this thing, but I've replaced it three times.’ Most people genuinely appreciate how extra quality up front pays for itself over time.”
In terms of land development, 50 per cent of Privium’s builds are built on land they procure, and 50 per cent are built on land supplied by other developers. “We package up the house on the land we commit to,” Wormwell explained. “We’ll take 10 lots off somebody, and when Bill and Mary Taylor come to buy a house we say, ‘Here are 10 options in that state. Which one would you like?’ If they come to our state, on our land we will build what they say. It's still the same thing.”
Privium do all of their own construction, including the necessary civil infrastructure work — even in areas without access to city or town essential services. “We do our own civil construction of roads, we put in the telecommunications tower, water, sewer, and we also build the houses ourselves. We do the whole lot, from buying it as a farm to having someone living in it and mowing the grass — and everything in between.”
Payment options that work for the hard-working
The biggest challenge for first-timers is financial, from coming up with the downpayment to securing and paying the loan. “In the last few years there’s been an escalation in land pricing and it's made it harder for people to save deposits. In the past there were options with low deposits, but they're harder to get with the banks now,” Wormwell said.
“We choose the banks that will support first-time homebuyers because all banks have different lending criteria, and those criteria continuously change,” he continued. “We put forward an argument saying that we have had virtually no defaults on first time home buyers. We've been able to demonstrate over a period of time that people retain their houses, and by talking to the financiers and understanding the situation at each instance of a buyer so they can get on board.”
A buyer’s capacity to borrow and the choice of location determine the eventual spend on a Privium home. Qualified buyers can put as little as $5,000 down on the home of their dreams. There are no hidden fees or qualifying costs, and there’s even a no deposit option for consideration. The company does not act as a financial representative but refers clients to a network of seasoned financial brokers and real estate advisors.
“The selection of our trading partners is based on integrity, honesty, respect, and ability. We pick people who are operating well within our areas, that are operating ethically, and that have the capacity to make sales happen,” he stressed. “We try to make sure we have genuine, honest sales associates who are ready to make sales happen in an ethical manner.”
Privium’s growth plans are as clean and straightforward as the modern, lovely homes they build. “We've been Queensland's largest builder for the past three years, and we're looking to have much more of a presence in the housing and townhouse markets as well as in the land development space.
“We just want to keep doing more of what we do. We don't have to be the biggest; we just want to grow gradually and strategically.” So far, so good.