New estate debate

The popularity of knockdown-rebuilds are on the rise. (iStock)

You’ve outgrown the family home and you need extra bedrooms, bathrooms or living areas. Or, perhaps you’re an empty nester, looking to downsize.

The debate for the homeowner is more often between the merits – and costs – of renovating versus knocking down and rebuilding from scratch.

But, what about the debate between a knockdown-rebuild (KDR), and buying a brand new, turnkey home in a greenfields development?

A spokesman for the Housing Industry Association of Australia says the popularity of KDR has been rising since the early 2000s, when land prices began to soar in a market of scarce urban land supply.

The greatest benefit of a KDR, he says, is that it allows the owner to stay in the same location, particularly if workplace, schools and your current routines and amenities are important considerations.

Over the longer term, a new home in an established suburb should, in principle, have a higher rate of appreciation – something to consider for resale or renting the property out, according to the HIA spokesman.

Architect and managing director of Archicentre Peter Georgiev recommends a KDR every time – predictably with the caveat of using an experienced design architect, allowing you to specifically tailor a design to the site, its aspect and your needs.

But, a KDR client may be subject to more issues with council approvals, especially if there are design or heritage considerations. In a neighbourhood of mostly single-storey houses, for example, a double-storey house may present issues when it comes to approval.

By contrast, buying new in a residential subdivision is a more seamless process.

“A package is easier for you to manage and reduces paperwork [and possibly fees] when it comes to your solicitor and bank,” the HIA spokesman says.

“Much of the decision making, which can potentially equate to stress, is also removed for the buyer.”

The other key consideration is infrastructure, with many estates located in emerging areas that don’t have the same infrastructure and amenities as an established suburb.

“A potential buyer should think hard about this when buying their new home, especially if there are children involved,” the HIA cautions.

“This can make the difference between enjoying your new home or not.”

This is an edited version of a Mike Bruce article on