The Question of ‘Building Out’

Written by Julian Conte in Developing on February 11, 2013

A major focus in recent debates about property development has been on the “building out” concept. In fact, towards the end of last year, the Victorian government unveiled plans to build the new “super suburb” of Werribee East in Melbourne’s west. That’s not to mention the six new suburbs planned for development on Melbourne’s fringe under the government’s Growth Corridor Plans announced in early 2012. With more houses planned for the fringe, people are increasingly beginning to consider outer suburban living. So what are the pros and cons of “building out”?


Affordability and space a key factor

Top of the pros list is affordability. With property prices gradually increasing, houses in our capital cities are often out of reach for first home buyers. In fact, a recent BankWest survey found that first home buyers across the nation have to save for almost four years before they can put a deposit down on their very own home. By developing the outer suburbs which is typically home to more affordable properties, we allow first home buyers a foothold into the property market.

For second home buyers or families, “building out” and the related fringe lifestyle has the big benefit of space. Traditionally built on larger blocks of land, the backyard is an attractive feature for young families. And the property options are plentiful if space is the desire – for some buyers, an established home could be a winner, for others, a brand new property might be what they’re after.  Another option is a property within a housing estate. In fact we’re seeing more and more housing estates pop up on the fringe. The estates of today are miles ahead with developers building parklands and facilities for the family including libraries, recreation centres and cafes in the one space.

Finally, developing this land will help to house and service our growing population.  And rapid growth is expected with forecasts showing that by 2050, Melbourne’s population will reach a massive 6.4 million. With more people residing in Melbourne, not only do we need to provide more housing but amenities are needed to meet their needs.  For example, the outer Melbourne suburb of Melton’s major shopping centre is currently undergoing an expansion to meet the ever increasing number of people moving out to the area.


Infrastructure still a cause for concern

Building out helps to spur on the local community, however a key consideration with this type of development is its underlying infrastructure. Infrastructure is the backbone to a well run community so when developing the fringe, the government also plans for the area’s supporting roads and public transport facilities. How quickly these plans are rolled out depend on the individual areas. For example, in 2009, the Victorian government released proposals for the construction of six new train stations in Melbourne’s outer west. Four years later, work has begun on two of the six with no further news of the remaining four.


So what does all this mean?

It’s key that buyers who want to take advantage of the outer suburban lifestyle choose areas where construction on infrastructure has already begun. How can you do this? Research, research, research. Contact the area’s local council to keep across progress made and check out the area to see it first hand. Next on your research list is to consider the area’s existing amenities. What are its shopping facilities? Are there schools close by? If there’s anything missing it’s worth digging up any proposed plans for future development of the area to gauge its potential. Last but not least, remember to visit the area a few times to get a feel for its community. After all, you’re not only buying a home but you’re buying into the area.