So now we knew roughly what land size we were looking for, I started refocusing on developments. I wasn’t keen on picking a development where there were just rows and rows of streets that all looked the same. I wanted somewhere that had some green space and a community facilities.
This really limited our options to large, corporate run developments. The area we wanted is a big government driven growth area, so there are lots of smaller developers who have snapped up rezoned larger rural properties and farms, but then subdivided to the absolute maximum. These usually results in a space big enough for 3-5 streets worth of homes, but absolutely nothing left for public space. There were several larger sized developements too where bigger companies had acquired larger areas. These generally had at least one park and some thought to the streets not being in a generic mindnumbing grid pattern.
We started with the one with the shortest commute to work – on paper it looked quite good, there were a few parks, it was next to larger public parks and it was within 1km of a train station so definitely walkable (although Alex argued that). But when we went to see it, we discovered the land currently available was pushing our budget limit, at the far end of the development and was also within 300-500m of a major highway. It was out.
The rest of that suburb was all small developments and most were further from the station because the immediate area has been reserved for future retail and denser residential. So next weekend we moved our search out further towards the next suburb/station. Again it looked good on paper but I hadn’t been able to find any mention of recent land prices so I was more reserved after the price shock last time.
This development had already been underway for about 1.5 years, so there were some streets we could take a drive through and there was masses of land being cleared – it was obviously moving fast. The winner for us though was how much green space was being reserved – large parks were set aside to run the length and width of the development, centred around canals and streams. Sports fields, a large dog park and a retail centre were all in there too. There are even plans with the council for a school. Forecast to finish up at over 3,000 homes we were looking at almost a masterplanned suburb. The only negative – 3km to the nearest station, we were going to need a 2nd car most likely but as all other developments were even further out than this, it was something we had to adjust to.
We were won over – except they had no land available. Land sold out consistently every release. Over 50% was already sold. From talking to both the development and display home sales people, we had established we could afford land here which was a great relief. Knowing we would need to wait roughly a year for land to be registered and settled, we put our names on the list ready for the next release and waited. Our hearts were set.