According to the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA), cities need to be liveable, affordable and connected, with successful residential projects implementing these three ideals.
This connectivity, which is fostered by providing ample green spaces as well as amenities and infrastructure to turn an area into a community, can play a huge part in choosing a home for now and the future.
Sydney-based buyers’ agent, Amanda Segers, says most of her clients tend to have 10-year plan.
“There’s a different property for every different life stage,” says Segers, who assists buyers in finding, negotiating and purchasing a property.
“You might start with a unit in one area then move to a semi. If kids come along, you might want a bit more of a yard, and once they’ve left home you might want to downsize.”
Segers says clients desiring a home for both now and the future tend to be younger parents who want to be near schools and amenities throughout their children’s school years.
She has noticed, though, that all types of buyers tend to look for an abundance of green spaces, shops and amenities within walking distance.
“No matter what stage of life, people want a sense of community,” says Amanda.
“For example, younger people without kids [and] older people are looking for green spaces often because there are pets involved, plus these days we’re a real cafe society; we want to be able to walk to the shops, restaurants and cafes.”
UDIA has conducted research in this area, using machine-learning technology to analyse “big data”, such as NSW’ Opal Card system for public transport fares. They also surveyed Sydney commuters to determine what they’re looking for in their lives and communities, and found that people desired close proximity to public transport and diversity of amenity such as shops, parks, hospitals and schools.
Ample green space that connects the community is integral in the master-planning of Ecco Ripley in Brisbane. Photo: Graham Jepson
Steve Mann, chief executive officer of UDIA NSW, says that these days, most people do not have a choice when it comes to their future plans.
“For example, a retiring couple looking to downsize from a five-bedroom family home into a terrace that’s close to family is unlikely to find any terraces for sale. This is a phenomena known as the ‘missing middle’, where there is a shortage of medium-density building types that bridge the gap between detached houses and apartment blocks,” Mann says.
Mann says that this gap is being bridged, with many master-planned developments moving towards a greater diversity in housing.
“More of the missing middle, such as townhouses, terraces and duplexes, is being constructed, providing greater proximity to employment, which is highly valued,” he says.
Recently, UDIA developed software called Urban Pinboard where anyone can check a visual representation of what their community will look like in a few years’ time. It works by placing 3D models of development proposals on a map similar to Google Maps and allows users to see proposals and give immediate feedback.
“This will allow home buyers to plan for the future in a way they never have before,” says Mann.
Ecco Ripley, a new development in the Ripley Valley 39 minutes from Brisbane, is one such master-planned project that is looking to the future. Scott Blaney, the Queensland state sales manager for Sekisui House, says the project has been designed with a wide variety of residents in mind.
“Sekisui House has a long-term vision to develop a community that will improve with age as it becomes more established and blends into the environment,” Blaney says. “The Ecco Ripley development caters for all lifestyles and life stages, and its broad appeal will help to create a rich, multifaceted community that will last for years to come.”
Ecco Ripley provides for the “missing middle” with a diverse product mix, including traditional homes as well as townhouses, terraces and duplexes. Photo: Graham Jepson
Sekisui House is also developing the nearby $1.5 billion Ripley Town Centre. The centre is slated to be the regional hub for the entire Ripley Valley community, and is forecast to house a population of 120,000 residents.
Stage one of the Ripley Town Centre is earmarked to open in March 2018, and will include a 3800-square-metre supermarket, medical centre, pharmacy, veterinary clinic, and 20 specialty stores.
Blaney explains that area one of the Ecco Ripley community has been designed to ensure that each house is no more than 400 metres away from parkland or green space. In the soon-to-be-launched area two, homes will sit within 200 metres of more than 10 hectares of extensive parklands, and will also be just a short walk from the Sekisui House Ripley Town Centre.
And, importantly, Ecco Ripley will be providing for the “missing middle”.
“Whilst we continue to build traditional three- to four-bedroom single- and double-storey homes, we’ve also introduced a range of duplexes, terraces and townhouses that have been designed to deliver affordable, low-maintenance new homes for buyers,” says Blaney.
“It’s another way for the community to grow with the area and the area to grow with the community.”
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