The month in review: Wollongong
By Herron Todd White
New land releases are currently in abundance in the Illawarra region thanks to a strong residential property market bolstered by the spill over effect of Sydney buyers seeking affordable housing options with lifestyle quality. Major development precincts in the region include Shell Cove, Seacrest Estate Flinders, Brooks Reach Horsley, Haywards Bay, Redgum Ridge, Figtree and Kanahooka.
Basic house construction in new land release areas consist of single storey and two storey brick veneer or concrete tile or Colorbond roofed 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom homes with 2-car garages. Typically these dwellings comprise 200 to 240 square metres of living area at a construction cost of between $1,300 and 1,400 per square metre.
In Seacrest Estate Flinders and Shell Cove two storey brick veneer or clad and Colorbond roofed 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom townhouse style homes with 2-car garages are popular. Dwelling sizes range from 125 to 160 square metres of living area and average construction costs range from $1,500 to $1,700 per square metre.
The standard of finishes for project homes predominantly differ based on the quality of Prime Cost (PC) items together with site costs associated with the topography of the block. Kitchen and bathrooms commonly include Caesar stone bench top finishes. Big ticket cost increases come with the inclusion of air conditioning, standard of floor coverings and grade of PC items (i.e. Miele, Westinghouse, etc).
Mid range (executive style) dwelling construction costs range from $1,600 to $2,000 per square metre, with the upper range exceeding $2,000 per square metre based on inclusions and site constraints. By way of example, a recent to be erected (TBE) pole frame home situated on a steep block analysed at a construction cost in excess of $2,800 per square metre.
Overall construction costs have steadily increased since May 2009, with an increasing level of competition between project home builders for business. The end result is the client getting bang for their buck with additional inclusions being offered in the standard contract price by the likes of McDonald Jones Homes, Allworth and Clarendon Homes. The competition is fierce amongst project home builders with good deals and packages being offered including ducted air conditioning, 40 millimetre stone bench tops and some ancillary items included.
The building industry is benefiting from the current boom being experienced in the Illawarra region. Low interest rates, well priced vacant land blocks and government incentives and rebates should see the building industry continue at a busy pace.