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The pros and cons of living in a housing estate
July 21, 2017
New estates are cropping up everywhere you look these days, particularly on the suburban fringes of our major cities. Estate living offers brand-new, affordable homes and the promise of a close-knit community akin to your childhood memories, but drawbacks can include far-flung locations and a lack of infrastructure.
Would living in a housing estate suit you and your family? Check out the list of the pros and cons to find out!
A fresh start:
A new estate means a brand-new home, designed to your specifications and featuring the fixtures and fittings you love, not those you’ve inherited from previous owners. You may also be eligible for a First Home Owners Grant (FHOG), stamp duty discounts and other government concessions, which could save you a considerable pile of cash.
House and land packages in new estates tend to be significantly cheaper than established homes in suburbs closer to town, enabling first homebuyers grappling with unaffordability the opportunity to enter the market sooner. Many developers also offer low-deposit options, where buyers with minimal savings may be able to use the FHOG to form the bulk of their deposit.
Most large estates are designed with families in mind, so they include ample parklands and playgrounds for kids, along with walking tracks and barbeque areas. Estate living is great for young families – your children will have loads of friends to play with, and you’ll be surrounded by couples at a similar stage in life to yours.
You may run into problems when it comes to your home’s façade, your choice of fencing, and other cosmetic elements under the design guidelines of the estate. While developers say these guidelines are in place to ensure consistency and enhance the local surrounds, many homeowners find them quite restrictive. They can cover everything from the orientation and architectural style of the home, to the way in which corner blocks are developed. Many new estates also have sustainability and conservation guidelines, including protection of certain trees.
New suburbs are an unknown quantity: with limited market history it’s impossible to know whether your home is going to grow in value, or what the rental market will be like should you choose to turn it into an investment down the track.
Off the beaten track:
If you choose a home at the heart of a large estate, you could find yourself a considerable distance from amenities such as supermarkets, chemists and the post office, which may become an annoying inconvenience.
A major pitfall in brand-new suburbs can be a lack of public transport, as the infrastructure is playing catch-up to the population boom. In some new estates, the locals face a long hike to the nearest bus stop, where services can be few and far between. Others may have no bus service at all, and be forced to drive to the nearest railway station to commute.
Location, location, location:
Possibly the biggest drawback to estate living for city slickers is that new estates can only be built in areas where large swathes of vacant land still exist – and this is unlikely to be close to the CBD.
For some workers, the commute may simply be unfeasible, and for families, the distance from schools and attractions can be a major detractor. But if you are seeking a quieter life a little further out from the rat race, a new estate could be perfect for you!
Read more: The realities of home ownership in Australia