Rivergum weathers coronavirus storm

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Rivergum Homes says a strategic move into infill housing projects and a refreshed portfolio of display homes are helping it weather the coronavirus storm.

A year after pulling out of the Queensland market, the home builder says it is currently working on $150 million worth of housing projects in SA and an additional $62 million in Victoria.

The company has more than 200 affordable town homes either underway or shovel ready across Adelaide, including at Port Adelaide, Morphettville, Findon and Mount Barker.

The projects are either owned by Rivergum, being undertaken in joint venture with a developer or being completed as a contract builder.

Rivergum managing director Victor Said said new project home ranges and an improved “on the ground presence”, including a new display village at Parafield and other display homes under construction, were delivering results.

He said sales had remained steady throughout the coronavirus crisis, and with inspection restrictions easing earlier this month, he expects sales to rise in the coming months.

“The great strength of our business is the broad demographic and geographic reach we have across three ranges of retail home designs, our projects and development activities, and expertise in delivering quality homes beneath Adelaide’s median house price,” he said.

Rivergum currently employs 100 direct staff. Last year it pulled out of the Queensland market and parted ways with former chief executive Marc Taintey. However, the company continues to operate in Victoria’s investment market.

In Melbourne’s north, it recently started work on the company’s biggest ever building contract – a 147-dwelling independent living project at Lendlease’s Aurora development.

By limiting its exposure to speculative construction, Mr Said said Rivergum was able to secure revenue at a time when many builders had seen a fall in sales of project homes.

“This solid construction pipeline is in addition to consistent sales and construction activity in Rivergum’s project homes business, which itself has been boosted by a significant investment in revamping its Coast and Country home design ranges,” he said.

“With strong construction activity in Melbourne, a full pipeline of projects in Adelaide and renewed momentum in our volume home business, we expect to grow our market share and lift turnover despite the impact of COVID.”

Rivergum’s early successes in the 1990s were underpinned by its range of lightweight construction homes for regional markets on the coast and in rural areas. However, more than 70 per cent of its homes are now sold into the metropolitan and urban infill market.

“Interestingly, we applied a whole lot of learnings from operating in the regions to underpin the success of our urban offerings – and now we’re taking the best of our urban design offerings and wrapping them in modern interpretations of coastal and country designs, with significant commercial success,” Mr Said said.

Article written by: Giuseppe Tauriello, The Advertiser

Original article available here: https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/sa-business-journal/rivergum-zones-in-on-sa-victorian-housing-projects/news-story/a60c7436a53172aa06b06ba5d2f12828

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