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MORE Australians are achieving the dream of home ownership – one brick at a time.

Building approvals for detached houses climbed almost 20 per cent in the 12 months to August, with plans for 22,916 new homes given the green light, according to Housing Institute of Australia figures. This compares to 19,127 approvals for the same time the previous year.

The HIA’s survey of the country’s largest volume builders also showed sales of new detached houses rose ???????-26.3 per cent in Victoria to 16,108 in the year to August.

HIA economist Diwa Hopkins said the detached house segment of the residential building sector had improved markedly.

‘Broader conditions around new home building remain favourable,’ Ms Hopkins said.

‘Victoria’s population has been growing strongly for a sustained period, lending rates are low and new housing is becoming an increasingly attractive option for home buyers, given the strong growth in established house prices.’

The City of Casey, in Melbourne’s southeast, is the state’s home building hot spot. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, supplied by the Master Builders Association of Victoria, shows 2772 new houses were built in Casey in the 2013-14 financial year, the most of any municipality.

It was followed by Wyndham with 2472 new houses, Whittlesea with 2158 and Hume with 1511.

Latest data from Oliver Hume shows the median lot size in all growth areas has shrunk to 444sq m, a far cry from the quarter-acre block which was once the great Australian dream. While most new housing estates are found on the Melbourne fringe or in regional areas, there are a smaller number of ‘infill’ developments in established suburbs.

Oliver Hume’s project director Gerrard Ellis said the company, which marketed over 25 per cent of Melbourne’s land, had seen most of the activity in the west and north of Melbourne.

‘Traditionally most projects are selling on average 10 to 12 sales per month,’ he said. ‘But over the last six months of this calendar year, sales have accelerated in these corridors from 20 to 25 per month.’

Intrapac senior development manager Max Shifman said a new home had the benefits of up-to-date designs and was equipped with environmentally sustainable materials and features.

However, he said buyers should ensure a particular housing estate suited their lifestyle before signing up.

‘You need to be close to things that actually matter to you – like schools, cinemas, parks, childcare,’ Mr Shifman said. ‘In some estates those things will be created over time, in other new developments, they are already in established areas.’

Mr Ellis said 54 per cent of buyers of new homes were first-home buyers.

First time buyers who opt for new homes over established are still eligible for the $10,000 first- home grant. They can also pocket a 50 per cent saving on stamp duty which is open to all first-home buyers.

Investa Land Victorian general manager Paul O’Brien said first-home buyers were generally looking for a house-and-land package priced between $300,000 and $385,000.

‘They are looking for a minimum 160sq m, three-bedroom house, ideally with a double garage and good quality finishes,’ Mr O’Brien said.

RESEARCH THE KEY TO BUILDING

ROLANDO and Karen Navis liked the idea of building their own home so much they are doing it again.

The couple are hoping to move into their new four-bedroom house in Intrapac’s Somerfield estate in Keysborough by Christmas.

Mr Navis said building their own house also offered a saving on stamp duty but that was not the main incentive.

‘The major advantage of building your own house is that basically you can design it to your own tastes and requirements and lifestyle needs,’ the father-of-two said.

‘And you’ve have got less maintenance issues as it is new.’

The family has been living in its current house for three years and wanted to stay in Keysborough.

‘The good thing with Somerfield is that it is not as far as other new estates,’ Mr Navis said.

‘It is still a reasonable distance from the city.’

Mr Navis said he would recommend building but prospective homeowners should do their research including finding out what infrastructure was available.

‘People should look at other properties that are in the area they are looking to build in to see how much their land and property value has gone up,’ he suggested.

‘Also find out what infrastructure like schools, transport is around and if it fits in your lifestyle.’


Posted by Neelima Choahan – Herald Sun on 11th October, 2014