REAL ESTATE: Granny flats, dual key and rebuilds on rise

REAL ESTATE: Granny flats, dual key and rebuilds on rise

9 Apr

By Rebecca Riddle March 26, 2022

Aged care concerns, a lingering rental crisis and dire housing affordability are all forcing Hunter residents to seek out alternative future living arrangements.

Emerging from a two-year COVID-19 lockdown, many of us are redefining the term ‘home’ , says Lake Macquarie-based business owner Kerri-Ann Hooper, leading to the rejigging of plans.

As building broker and director of Carnelian Projects for the past ten years, Ms Hooper says 2022 is welcoming a new set of housing trends, thanks to soaring land prices and local land shortages.

“We’re seeing a shift to more clients considering rebuilds in key Newcastle and Hunter Region suburbs,” the former real estate agent says.

“There’s a movement by parents considering granny flats to assist their adult children who are out-priced from the local property market.

“And there’s also been a rise in the popularity of dual key homes in the region.”

Looking ahead at ways to keep a roof over our heads is fast-becoming a feature of 2022.

Government grants led to a surge in the demand for available land in 2021,” Ms Hooper says.

“So many people were building that trades and materials could barely keep up, and of course many couldn’t find land to build on.”

Rebuilds

“Now we’re seeing knockdowns in central suburbs like Newcastle, New Lambton, Cooks Hill and Adamstown Heights,” Ms Hooper told Newcastle Weekly.

“People love where they live but because land prices have soared recently, they can no longer afford to buy new land so they’re rebuilding on their current site.

“Even outer suburbs like Cessnock and Bellbird have seen increases in land prices.

“In Edgeworth’s Brush Creek Estate for example, a 450 sq/m block is selling for $455,000.

“In Cameron Park a block that was $190,000 just a few years ago, is now up to $400,000 or even $500,000.”

These prices, Ms Hooper says, mean homeowners are reluctant to part with their dirt.

“The land crisis of 2021 saw government grants push the demand for land up so high, many hoping to build couldn’t even find the land to build on.

“People are now rethinking ways to use the land they have.”

Rebuilding does however come with its own set of risks, she warns.

“There can be hidden surprises and costs that owners need to consider,” she says. 

“Just like when renovating.

“There could be 100 year-old pipes or electricity poles that can’t support a new home, there could be asbestos under the driveway for example – 50 to 60 years ago it was normal to bury things like that on your land.”

Granny Flats

Fast becoming another alternative to building in the Hunter region is the humble granny flat, says Ms Hooper.

Designed to accommodate one or two persons, a granny flat is a self-contained living area, detached or free-standing, usually located on the grounds of a family home. 

Its name stems from its traditional role of housing ageing parents, yet in 2022 it is welcoming a new purpose.

“Granny flats are becoming an option for homeowners to help their adult children enter the real estate market,” Ms Hooper says.

“Adding a self-contained unit on their block not only gives their kids a home for now, but it also offers parents a place to move into later.”

And, with limited aged care available across the region, a granny flat also offers a cost-effective way of utilising excess land well into the future.

“Granny flats cost around $160,000 to $200,000 depending on the block,” she says.

“For an established block, like a subdivided block in Cardiff currently on the market for $500,000 to $550,000, the build price would be around $380,000. 

“This can be an affordable option for young adults now priced out of the Newcastle market.”

Dual Key Homes

Dual Key Home

Sharing a house but not a living space is another option gaining ground.

Despite looking like a standard home from the street, dual key homes offer two separate entrances and are generally used by two separate families living side by side.

“They can’t be separated or subdivided,” Ms Hooper explains.

“They are sold as one home on the one block.

“Some estates don’t allow them because of the extra cars they attract, but councils usually love them because they look like a normal home.”

Many investors, Ms Hooper says, are currently living in one and renting the other.

“Some are using the two bedroom side of the home, and renting the three bedroom side. Then in the future they might swap as their circumstances change.”

For now it is all about planning for the future.

“I think people are concerned about aged care, we’re all aware of the current rental crisis and the stresses of housing affordability, and that’s all at the front of people’s minds at the moment. 

“It’s great that people are planning ahead.”

“There’s a movement by parents considering granny flats to assist their adult children who are out-priced from the local property market.

“And there’s also been a rise in the popularity of dual key homes in the region.”

Looking ahead at ways to keep a roof over our heads is fast-becoming a feature of 2022.

Government grants led to a surge in the demand for available land in 2021,” Ms Hooper says.

“So many people were building that trades and materials could barely keep up, and of course many couldn’t find land to build on.”

Rebuilds

“Now we’re seeing knockdowns in central suburbs like Newcastle, New Lambton, Cooks Hill and Adamstown Heights,” Ms Hooper told Newcastle Weekly.

“People love where they live but because land prices have soared recently, they can no longer afford to buy new land so they’re rebuilding on their current site.

“Even outer suburbs like Cessnock and Bellbird have seen increases in land prices.

“In Edgeworth’s Brush Creek Estate for example, a 450 sq/m block is selling for $455,000.

“In Cameron Park a block that was $190,000 just a few years ago, is now up to $400,000 or even $500,000.”

These prices, Ms Hooper says, mean homeowners are reluctant to part with their dirt.

“The land crisis of 2021 saw government grants push the demand for land up so high, many hoping to build couldn’t even find the land to build on.

“People are now rethinking ways to use the land they have.”

Rebuilding does however come with its own set of risks, she warns.

“There can be hidden surprises and costs that owners need to consider,” she says. 

“Just like when renovating.

“There could be 100 year-old pipes or electricity poles that can’t support a new home, there could be asbestos under the driveway for example – 50 to 60 years ago it was normal to bury things like that on your land.”

Granny Flats

Fast becoming another alternative to building in the Hunter region is the humble granny flat, says Ms Hooper.

Designed to accommodate one or two persons, a granny flat is a self-contained living area, detached or free-standing, usually located on the grounds of a family home. 

Its name stems from its traditional role of housing ageing parents, yet in 2022 it is welcoming a new purpose.

“Granny flats are becoming an option for homeowners to help their adult children enter the real estate market,” Ms Hooper says.

“Adding a self-contained unit on their block not only gives their kids a home for now, but it also offers parents a place to move into later.”

And, with limited aged care available across the region, a granny flat also offers a cost-effective way of utilising excess land well into the future.

“Granny flats cost around $160,000 to $200,000 depending on the block,” she says.

“For an established block, like a subdivided block in Cardiff currently on the market for $500,000 to $550,000, the build price would be around $380,000. 

“This can be an affordable option for young adults now priced out of the Newcastle market.”

Dual Key Homes

Dual Key Home

Sharing a house but not a living space is another option gaining ground.

Despite looking like a standard home from the street, dual key homes offer two separate entrances and are generally used by two separate families living side by side.

“They can’t be separated or subdivided,” Ms Hooper explains.

“They are sold as one home on the one block.

“Some estates don’t allow them because of the extra cars they attract, but councils usually love them because they look like a normal home.”

Many investors, Ms Hooper says, are currently living in one and renting the other.

“Some are using the two bedroom side of the home, and renting the three bedroom side. Then in the future they might swap as their circumstances change.”

For now it is all about planning for the future.

“I think people are concerned about aged care, we’re all aware of the current rental crisis and the stresses of housing affordability, and that’s all at the front of people’s minds at the moment. 

“It’s great that people are planning ahead.”


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