A flight to quality and a parade of new programs and activities that would have been pipe dreams not too long ago are becoming the new norm in childcare.
As commercial property agents at childcare specialist Burgess Rawson, every week we see both new and established childcare centres hit the market, giving us regular snapshots of exactly what’s happening industry-wide.
Increasingly what we’re witnessing – as both investor and parent expectations continue to grow – is a truly remarkable change in what’s being offered as part of the childcare experience.
Many brand new or revamped centres now have a staggering array of activities available to pre-schoolers – more akin to a holiday resort than what we’d traditionally associate with childcare.
Cooking classes, swimming lessons and even baristas are all additions we’ve seen in centres across the country recently, while the fitouts in some centres are as high-end as they come in the commercial property industry.
While to some operators (and certainly some parents) these features, programs and additions might seem like overkill, from a future investment perspective it’s about exactly that: shoring up both the business and the property asset for the future.
With the childcare property boom tapering off somewhat in the second half of 2018, there’s an understandable level of anxiety among some operators and investors that the industry may now be oversupplied. However, the reality is that our population continues to grow each and every day, and as a result there will always be demand for more early childhood education.
That said, savvy operators are leaping ahead of the game by offering those extra-curricular activities as their own point of difference to give themselves an edge in this highly competitive marketplace.
Couple that with the ongoing and increasing funding available to support early education, including Labor’s $1.75 billion election pledge to fully fund three-year-old kindergarten programme, and there’s no question there will be more and more families seeking to access childcare centres and continuing to underpin this vibrant industry for the years to come.