New land developments are increasing in popularity as many homebuyers look for large blocks and bigger properties post-pandemic, as well as the comforts that come with a brand new home.
Filtered search data highlighted in the REA Insights Monthly Market Indicators Report for June 2021 shows an increasing share of buyers are looking for larger homes in capital cities. Regional trends show larger homes are still very much in demand.
In May 2021, 66.9% of these searches in capital cities were for at least three-bedroom (incorporating three, four and five-bedroom searches) up from 64.0% a year ago. Meanwhile in regional markets 72.5% of searches in May 2021 were for at least three bedrooms, which decreased slightly from 74.1% a year earlier.
New estates and land developments offer a different lifestyle compared to established suburbs, such as large tracts of open space, multiple sports fields and close and convenient shopping plazas. There’s also the resultant infrastructure that comes with new developments, including new train stations, increased public transport and road upgrades.
It is important when buying in a new area to take the time to thoroughly research the proposed development and its surrounding environment. Here are a few tips to help you make an informed decision.
Investigate the developer
Check out the developer’s website and scrutinise the ‘About’ section. Some key questions to ask are:
- How long have they been in operation?
- What other developments have they completed, and how have they worked out?
- What’s the company ethos?
- Do they offer incentives for sustainable homes?
- What do they do to help build community?
Pay particular attention to the developer’s design guidelines as they’ll shape your new environment.
Study the master plan
In order to get a good idea of what the future environment will be like, and whether it will suit your needs, it’s important to study the master plan. Here are some important considerations:
- What sort of lifestyle is on offer?
- Will the estate offer high, low or medium density housing, or a mix?
- How much medium density housing is planned and where is it situated?
- How much land is set aside for parks, walking and cycling tracks, sports fields, waterways, wildlife corridors?
- Will there be community facilities such as a leisure centre or BBQ area?
- Has any provision been made for teenagers?
- Is there sufficient parking in high-density areas?
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Visit development sites
Pick up the glossy brochures at the sales centre and visit the display homes, but then strike out on your own to really give the place the once-over.
Talk to people who’ve already moved in. Developments happen in stages and it usually takes years for a new estate to be completed, so some homes will be occupied while other blocks are just being released. Consider the standard of existing housing and street-scapes. Ask if residents are generally happy with their living experience so far, and what problems they’ve encountered.
Talk to people who’ve already moved in to get an honest opinion of the area.
Contact the local Council
Request information on everything from rates, family services and long-term planning information for the locality. Find out how many new estates are being developed, and what the future population is expected to be.
Read the local papers
This is a great way to find out what’s occupying, delighting and outraging people living in the wider area.
Visit the nearest library
Libraries are a storehouse of information and resources. The modern library is also a technology-rich facility for learners and a meeting place for an array of activities for all ages and ethnicities. If there’s no library handy, enquire about whether the community has access to a mobile library facility.
Research future transport and infrastructure plans
Convenience is an important consideration when you are considering buying a home in a new area. You might find yourself surrounded with wonderful amenities to keep the family entertained, but if you can’t commute to work easily, it could be a deal breaker. It’s important to get a good idea of transport infrastructure in the area, and if it’s lacking, what plans are in place to improve it in the future.
- How well-connected will your new home be?
- If it’s is 30 or 40km from a city centre what are the transport options available now, and planned for the future?
- How easy is it to access train stations and bus stops?
- Is there sufficient car parking at the local train station?
- What is the frequency of public transport services in the area?
- How long will the commute to work be?
- What is the proximity to major roads and highways?
State authorities have long-term plans to address urban renewal and growth, and examining them will give you an idea of the key issues of concern, and what’s likely to happen.
The following state-based department websites offer a good overview:
Where’s the work?
What’s the potential for employment within easy distance? Are there commercial or industrial zones, or major employers such as a large shopping centre or university nearby? If not, commuting is likely to be your only option so assess if the development is ideally situated for you to get to and from work.
Think a decade ahead
Imagine how the place will evolve with hundreds of new homes and a much-increased population. Do you share the developer’s vision for the community and planned spaces and is this the place you want to be?
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