Valley Homes Acreage Louth park exterior rural

Reflecting the best in custom home design


There’s a lot of freedom to enjoy when building an acreage home. The wide open space offers flexibility to incorporate the best views and make the most of the natural environment as well as include all the specific features for a house design to suit your lifestyle. Our latest feature home, Reflection Drive, Louth Park is the perfect example of this. Working with Valley Homes to create the ideal custom home design for their family, we spoke to James and Corrine about why their new contemporary country style home is everything they had wished for and more…

On first impression, your home speaks ‘country homestead meets cool, coastal Hamptons’. Was this your vision from the outset or was it a style that evolved as you planned your dream home?

That perfectly sums up what the vision was for the house from the start, so we’re glad it shows. We really love the cool, coastal look of an all-white home but also wanted to still create something that suited and tied in with our semi-rural setting.

Valley Homes Acreage Louth park exterior rural front facade

Would it be correct to say that you like entertaining? Your home is perfect for it with wide spaces and a large kitchen with butler’s pantry and plenty of storage. How have you been socialising in your new home?

We sure do! We knew especially given our surroundings that the back of the house was going to be the perfect spot for entertaining and wanted to ensure the layout of the house complimented that. The bi-fold window out from the kitchen was a must for this and is a great spot for serving and plating food inside and out. The extra bench and storage space in the butler’s pantry is perfect for keeping the main section of the kitchen clutter free.

You obviously had a vision for making the most of the natural scenery with your outdoor entertainment living area. Transitioning effortlessly from inside to out, this is a great extension of the indoor living zone. It has it all: places to relax, eat, cook and the bar at the bi-fold kitchen windows is another way of bridging the indoors and outdoors. How have you been enjoying this area and are you utilising it as you imagined?

We wanted our alfresco area to be a comfortable place to entertain and relax while also acting as another space to eat and enjoy a meal. We have been spending a lot of time out there enjoying the outdoors, playing with the kids and watching the bird life on the water. When the stacker doors are pushed right open it creates a seamless flow moving from inside and out of the home and is really nice to do when hosting parties.

Valley Homes Acreage Louth park exterior rural alfresco

The cabinetry and finishes are classic, clean and streamlined. Tell us about your experience working with the Valley Homes team on achieving the look and finishes you were after.

We had a pretty clear vision of what we wanted our home to look like and what feel we wanted to create. The Valley Homes team were really helpful in bringing it to life and were happy to accommodate all the changes and additions we made throughout the design process. 

The fireplace is a seamless feature, recessed into the wall it effectively delivers heat to two areas. Can you tell us about the design idea behind it?

A double sided fireplace was a ‘dream home’ inclusion for us and it formed a fairly central role in the design of the floorplan. We wanted to ensure that it was heating spaces that we were always using and also be in a spot which creates that focal point and fits in with the flow of the house. We weren’t a fan of mounting TV’s above the fireplace and wanted it to be its own feature on its own wall. The end result is great and it’s something that we can look forward to using in the cooler months.

Valley Homes Acreage Louth park mudroom

We love the practicality of the mud room with hooks and clever storage, to keep everything from work boots to sports kit and wet weather gear. Was this a specific part of the interior design brief and how has your family been using it?

The mud room was one of the specific items we wanted incorporated into the house design and it is the perfect place to ‘unload’ when coming out of the car before entering the house. It’s one of those spaces which is used multiple times each day and has been a great inclusion.

The Fire pit with sandstone block seating must be great for night-sky gazing, as an outdoors retreat or an extra party zone. How have you been spending time in this space?

Given the amount of outdoor space we have, a fire pit area was a perfect addition to create another place to sit and enjoy the outdoors. The completed fire pit is only a fairly new inclusion so we didn’t get to spend too much time there during the past winter, but we are looking forward to use it more during the cooler months. For now, the kids have loved playing out there and climbing up and down the sandstone blocks!

Valley Homes Acreage Louth park exterior rural

Ready to build your dream home?

Renowned Maitland builder, Valley Homes, has proven, time and again, to have the experience and expertise to accommodate the specifics of their customers’ designs to create unique and beautiful homes. If you’re looking for a Hunter Valley builder to design and/or construct your custom home design give Valley Homes a call. We’re ready to build your dream home

Valley Homes Acreage Louth park exterior rural alfresco

New year, new trends: ideas & inspiration for your next build


If we could choose one word to encapsulate current interior design trends it would have to be comfort. It’s the big theme for this year with home as the haven from all the drama being played out on the world stage in addition to the financial and social pressures being felt across Australia. 

If one of your financial goals is to build a new home or investment we’ve got plenty of design inspiration to show you how to transfer the latest trends into your home design.

Getting cosy with curves

Repeatedly the message from interior designers is soft and rounded curves. These can be found in curved soft furnishings, plump settees, round cushions, arches, organic-shaped tiles and round edges on benches. Incorporating a variety of textures from natural stone to natural fibres, including throws and plush rugs.

Colours to reflect the theme

For further inspiration to build upon the notion of a safe and cosy home, the Taubmans Colour Forecast has pitched four palettes to provide a backdrop of comfort while still offering a splash of colour. Each palette encourages different styles and unexpected colour combinations allowing your individuality to shine through.

Composure is all about rest and relaxation. Perfectly described as “soft yet fun, sophisticated without being clinical.” Think light earthy tones paired with natural stone and timbers of different shades.

The Grounded palette includes warm olive greens and dusty blues. This scheme invites you to imagine ‘an escape at home’ and sits well with the biophilic trends of recent years, to “bring a sense of nature into your space” further enhancing indoor-outdoor living

The third palette, Centred, is all about ensuring a state of calm with soothing variations of white and cream. It offers the perfect antidote to our busy lifestyles allowing you to create a haven of tranquillity.

Euphoric is the fourth palette and encourages the big bold statement while still contributing to the cosiness of your home. Inspired by the maximalism trend, the Euphoric range is about boldness in colours, patterns and textures.

Natural flow

It could seem that this year’s interior design trends are a variation on last year’s themes with ‘bringing nature indoors’ still one of the favourite trends amongst designers.

The ongoing yearning to connect with nature can be achieved by ensuring your house design includes flow from indoors to outdoors.

Nicholas Kaiko of Kaiko Design believes that great contemporary designs that feature open, airy spaces pay homage to Australia’s love for the outdoors, while interiors, thoughtfully curated with both modern and traditional elements, can create spaces that are timeless yet trendy.

Large windows also help create links with nature to feel more relaxed and grounded at home.

Taking advantage of the best aspect of your block of land will allow you to incorporate a grand vista into your home design. Even if you’re not fortunate enough to overlook a sweeping valley, a clever design can frame an old gum tree or garden feature within any window’s outlook.

Valley Homes Acreage Louth park open plan living
Valley Homes Newcastle Acreage builder laundry

Cost effective measures

High on the list of 2024 building trends comes functionality and sustainability. There’s great desire to incorporate cost effective measures into house designs to reduce initial outlay as well as ongoing maintenance of the home. 

One of the easiest ways this can be achieved is by designing rooms to serve more than one purpose. Keeping the heart of the home centred around the open planned kitchen-living room areas, the island bench can be extended to serve, excuse the pun, as a dining table with the lounge area sitting just beyond this space. This design eliminates the need for separate dining and lounge rooms.

A lot of people are also choosing to take full advantage of their outdoor entertainment area, fitting it out with screens, fans and heaters to maximise indoor outdoor living all year round. 

Combining the boot room or mudroom and laundry space is also an effective interior design trend. Streamlining the space with well crafted cabinetry and handy baskets can make it look attractive as well as highly functional.

Built in cabinetry is also trending. We’re seeing this in custom home design that’s done away with an office space altogether by incorporating an office alcove within the living room.

Sustainable greens

Another area in which functionality and sustainability can flourish is landscape and garden design. 

The big trends  here are edible gardens – from large herb pots to vertical gardens for growing salads and micro herbs.

Drought proof plants, hardy natives and pollinators to encourage native bees are also popular garden approaches for the year ahead.

back garden with fire pit

A home builder to support your vision

Ultimately, whatever inspires your new building design, you want it to reflect your own personal taste so that you can truly feel at home. Which is precisely why it’s important to select a builder capable of offering custom home design to suit your specific needs and desires. Hunter Valley builder, Valley Homes, has been designing and constructing homes from Port Stephens to Newcastle with their expertise and craftsmanship achieved from over 50 years in the industry. If you can dream it, Valley Homes can build it – call us today find out how.

Shoreline Villas Tea Gardens multi unit builder Port Stephens

Incentives for change and investment


This year we have explored many ‘possibilities’ from the idea of the tree change, building on acreage in the Hunter Valley, or dreams of coastal living in Tea Gardens and Port Stephens, to investment property options. We’re recapping our most popular articles of the year so there’s no need to fear missing out on our best home builder info of the year. Starting at number five, let the countdown begin!

More than a sea change

Maybe it’s the thought of having easy access to all the beautiful bays of Port Stephens that makes this article a favourite. We encouraged readers to imagine Port Stephens as more than a holiday spot or day trip destination and consider property development in the area. The article also explores the possibilities for investment property further afield in Tea Gardens and Myall Lakes.

With Port Stephens and the Mid North Coast councils preparing for population growth they’re encouraging diverse and affordable housing. This is especially exciting for those considering a multi-unit investment property

So if you’re contemplating combining a sea change with a property investment plan Valley Homes is one of the top local construction companies already building in this region with the knowledge and expertise to help you achieve your goal.

Read the full article

Big sky dreaming: the beauty of building on acreage

At number four, this article’s popularity confirmed people’s desire to reconnect with nature. We headed inland to the Hunter Valley, in beautiful Regional New South Wales, looking at townships from Singleton to Maitland. We explored the many reasons to build an acreage home in this area and why it could suit anyone from the early retiree seeking a tree-change to the growing family looking for the benefits of a rural lifestyle. 

As a Hunter Valley builder,Valley Homes is a respected acreage builder. Not only has our design team created a great range of acreage house plans but we’ve had many satisfying collaborations with customers creating the dream home that they’ve longed for. Whether it’s country style or contemporary the Valley Homes team can customise our acreage house plans so that your new home construction is uniquely yours.

Over the holiday break, take a drive through the Hunter Valley, enjoy the serenity — and keep an eye out for that ideal block of land.

Read the full article
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Acreage home design hunter valley builder

Investor Incentive: What the 2023 Federal Budget means for property

The need for more information on the pros and cons of the Federal Budget 2023 had people clicking on article number three. With a focus on addressing the rental crisis and the provision of affordable housing there was good news for investors and incentives for multi-unit investment property.

The increasing demand for build-to-rent houses, alongside various incentives and tax breaks for property investors, plus changes to stamp duty provided by the NSW government, the 2023 Federal Budget provided good reasons to invest and be a part of the solution to the housing shortage Australia faces. 

If your plan is to build an investment property in 2024, call on the expertise and experience of Valley Homes.

Read the full article

Custom home design at its best

We love collaborating with happy clients to showcase the best of custom home design. It’s a great way to inspire new customers to consider the ways in which Valley Homes successfully creates the dream home build that people envision. Whether you choose to bring plans from your own architect or you take advantage of the Valley Homes designs, we have the right team for your new home construction.

In February we featured a dream home build, 44 Vista Parade. Veering away from a classic heritage home build, the owners followed their passion for recycled timbers and heritage pieces to create a unique industrial style home.

“Building a custom design home with Valley Homes allowed us to tailor design our dreams. Valley Homes’ willingness to incorporate five different exterior materials was perfect for making our home stand out – giving it ‘wow’ factor.”

We’re incredibly proud that Valley Homes was the Maitland builder they trusted to bring these ideas to fruition.

Read the full article
hamptons style kitchen

And our #1 story of the year is…

Shoreline Villas: Where Lifestyle Meets Demand

Appealing to those keen to build an investment property or make a lifestyle change our number one article celebrates the Tea Gardens community and beautiful environment confirming it’s a great place to live as well as an area of growth. 

Valley Homes was the chosen Port Stephens builder of property developer, Sheargold for their multi unit development, Shoreline Villas and they’ve proven to be a winning team with  

Shoreline Villas set to be entered into the next HIA Awards – under the Multiple Dwelling Category. 

Sales uptake on these homes confirmed that there’s a demand for more Port Stephens  developments and Valley Homes is ready to collaborate with like minded property developers.

Read the full article

Holiday dreaming

Take time out to imagine the possibilities – whether it’s a new home build or investment property plan for 2024 – get in touch, we’d love to help build those dreams into a reality.

As we wind down to Christmas we want to say a huge thank you for reading and building with us this year, wishing you a happy and peaceful festive season and beyond!

Valley Homes Merry Christmas

Space to build in today’s property market


With all the talk about interest rates, a housing shortage and the cost of building in today’s residential property market, it can be difficult to know which locations and what type of build you might be able to afford. Fortunately, there’s a wealth of great ideas for the residential builder looking for options on where and how to build a new home around the Hunter Valley, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. Read on to find out more…

Affordable location options

There are always opportunities if you look in the right places and consider all of your options with regard to both location and house design.

The Lake Macquarie area has great appeal with its suburbs nestled around the largest coastal saltwater lake in the southern hemisphere. There’s an abundance of outdoor activities from boating and fishing at various locations across the lake to cycling along the Fernleigh bike track or walking along the foreshore at Warners Bay. At its northern end, Speers Point is where you’ll find the best and biggest playground between the Central Coast and Newcastle.

For those with a passion for creative pursuits the Lake Macquarie Museum of Art and Culture is a unique arts and cultural destination hosting exhibitions and events. Affordable housing is a real possibility particularly when you start exploring the western side of Lake Macquarie where it’s possible to snatch up blocks of land for a great price in suburbs like Teralba, Cameron Park and further south to Cooranbong. These provide opportunities for development for investors or the residential builder making first steps into the property market.

For those more inclined to a rural setting, the Hunter Valley offers economical blocks of land in areas such as Lochinvar, Paterson, Vacy, Gillieston Heights, Farley and Chisolm, all within easy reach of Maitland, where there’s a continued demand for affordable housing

So too, the City of Newcastle Council’s housing strategy has a focus on infill housing in corridors stretching out to Mayfield, Broadmeadow and Adamstown and it’s a great opportunity for investors to meet the need for affordable housing in this ever growing metropolis.

When less is more

Smaller blocks of land are obviously more affordable and there are plenty of benefits to starting small especially when you’re new to the property market. Long term maintenance is reduced and so too heating and cooling costs.

Smaller blocks of land benefit from clever design to make the most of the space but that doesn’t have to come at a huge cost. In line with our belief that great design should be affordable for everyone, Valley Homes came up with the Urban Series. Whether you’re a first-time builder or an investor, off the plan can reduce the stress of design by offering a complete package. What’s more, the Urban Series maximises space and creates a relaxed flow throughout each design while providing an abundance of choices.  

Striving for originality

Certainly the residential builder can opt for custom home design to create the unique dream home however this does require architecturally drawn plans and the skills of an experienced builder. Most construction companies will warn of the increased cost of building due to current shortages in the labour market as well as delays caused by supply of materials whether it’s a standard or off the plan design. However, house designs and costs related to the creation of ‘one of a kind’ homes will be considerably more. This raises the question — is it possible to create affordable housing without compromising on style?  

Finding a happy medium with flexible home design

What if you could have ‘off the plan with a twist’? Valley Homes created the Valley Series with this in mind. While offering a range of practical floor plans that answer to the needs of every household, you then have the pleasure of matching your chosen floor plan with a front and rear facade from the extensive range on offer. The beauty of the Valley Series is that you can have an architecturally inspired home at an affordable price which satisfies the needs of both the residential builder and the investor.

The Valley Series offers six different four bedroom, two bathroom floor plans each with alfresco entertainment areas and ample living space. This Series employs passive design principles to make best use of heating, cooling, ventilation and light. All of these designs allow the home to be light-filled with a natural flow throughout. Having the choice of a facade and rear, from a classic Hamptons with gabled roofline to a sleek lined contemporary design with skillion roof, allows you to make your own particular stylistic statement.

When it comes to affordable housing, great design also reduces the cost of heating and cooling a home and that’s where the Valley Series offers further appeal. By including passive design principles in each of these house designs, the Valley Series ensures ongoing affordability. 

Partner with the right builder 

Whether you’re looking for a Lake Macquarie builder or you’re investigating construction companies in  Newcastle, Port Stephens and the Hunter Valley, the company with over 50 years experience in the building industry is Valley Homes. From off the plan to custom home design Valley Homes offers house designs and costs to meet the budgets of both investors and residential builders

Contact us to find out more today.

Best Home Builders Hunter Valley

Knockdown rebuild: the benefits of clearing the canvas


People often think of a knockdown as only a drastic but necessary response to major structural issues with a home: subsidence, termites, fire or storm damage, however there are many reasons why you might decide to knock down and rebuild home or a  KDRB as it is also called in the construction industry.

Knockdown vs renovate

Renovating can have great appeal however attempts to retain the old world charm and unique features of your home can make the process complicated and lengthy. Major renovations usually entail replacing bathrooms and kitchens which is costly enough but it’s often during a renovation that a house’s worst structural secrets are revealed leading to further delays and budget blowouts. With the price of building at a premium, time and resources need to be used effectively. 

If your knockdown rebuild is being done by an experienced builder you’ll know exactly what the final cost will be from the outset. The beauty of a knockdown is that you start your rebuild on a blank canvas giving you the freedom to design your ideal home on your block of land without the need to compromise.

Why move away from the suburb you love for more space?

You originally bought your home because you liked the area, perhaps because it was centrally located or close to great schools. These days the little weatherboard house feels too cramped now that the kids and all their friends are bigger. Or perhaps you’ve always wanted a studio space for that creative project or an office space for the new business. The bottom line is: you need extra space. Buying a bigger block of land means a move to a different suburb which also means paying stamp duty, real estate fees and potentially still needing to do some basic renovation to make the new place home. Could a knockdown rebuild be the answer? Stay in the neighbourhood you love and make the most of your block of land. By doing a KDRB you’re not restricted by the original floor plan and an effective design can make better use of your space.

Adamstown multi unit development Valley Homes

Knockdown Rebuild: the surprising solution to increasing energy efficiency

Novocastrians often delude themselves that winters are brief, and yet every year, when the temperature dramatically drops in June, there’s a collective moan about how cold it is! The simple fact is that so many Newcastle homes are not properly heated or insulated. Retrofitting insulation in the walls is costly and increased charges for power bills mean long term solutions are being sought.

A knockdown rebuild is a great opportunity to reposition your house on your block of land to take advantage of the northern light for greater sunlight on solar panels and to incorporate a solar passive design. Draughts sneaking in through your weatherboards and floorboards will be a thing of the past with improved building materials. Windows with efficient seals will also ensure your home’s temperature remains stable.

A knockdown rebuild is a great opportunity to reposition your house on your block of land to take advantage of the northern light for greater sunlight on solar panels and to incorporate a solar passive design.

Knockdown rebuild for investment

The knockdown rebuild is also a great idea when your home has outgrown you! It’s served the family well over the years but you’re wondering if it’s time to downsize. Once again, moving house involves dealing with estate agents, paying stamp duty and, worst of all, leaving the neighbourhood you’ve grown to love. Why not capitalise on your block of land and consider a knockdown rebuild for investment? A duplex build can provide a smaller more practical home with less maintenance for yourself and the second property can be sold or rented out so you can enjoy the income.

You may even consider a duplex or dual occupancy to allow for another member of the family to live in close proximity — intergenerational living at its best with plenty of ‘space in your togetherness’! Whatever you choose, a knockdown rebuild for investment enables you to unlock the potential of your existing block and increase the value of your land. 

Of course, you don’t have to be a retiree to consider this option. If a block of land is large enough to accommodate more than one property and the council regulations and zoning allow, a multi-unit build is a great way to meet the call for affordable infill housing. Savvy developers see the knockdown rebuild as a great opportunity for long term investment.

Best Home Builders Hunter Valley
Valley Homes townhouse development Wallsend
Digger demolishing a house knockdown rebuild Valley Homes

Where to start?

When considering a KDRB it’s important to factor in the costs for everything from the demolition of your existing property to the design and build. Don’t get overwhelmed! Valley Homes is the Hunter Valley and Newcastle construction company that can help you understand all the ins and outs of a knockdown rebuild. We’ll provide the complete picture including knowledge of council regulations and zoning, as well as full transparency on the cost to knockdown and rebuild with no hidden extras.

Contact us to find out more – with over 50 years of experience in the construction industry Valley Homes provides the best service when it comes to a knockdown rebuild.

Acreage home design hunter valley builder

Big sky dreaming: the beauty of building on acreage


When a weekend escape to the country doesn’t feel long enough you know it’s time to consider building your dream acreage home on your own block of land. Where better to look than the Hunter Valley in beautiful Regional New South Wales. From the early retiree, eager to enjoy a tree-change to the growing family looking for the benefits of a rural lifestyle without the responsibility of a farm, there are plenty of great reasons to build an acreage home in this area.

Explore the Hunter Valley

Singleton acts as the gateway between the Lower and Upper Hunter Valley and offers country life with big city convenience. The Singleton area is a great place to explore for a lifestyle change or a home-based business venture both possible if you were to build an acreage home

An easy 2.5 hours’ drive from Sydney and only an hour’s drive to Newcastle, Singleton sits at the end of the Hunter Expressway and the junction of the Golden and New England highways. Agriculture, mining and the Defence Force provide the majority of employment but growing niche markets include award-winning wineries, cuisine and thoroughbred horse breeding. With thriving retail and tourism sectors Singleton offers the best of both worlds. 

On the outskirts of Singleton there are parcels of land with big views just waiting for your acreage house plans to be transformed into a new home construction. Browsing the real estate pages it’s possible to find a cleared block of land with town water, phone, NBN and power available, ready for you to build your dream home.

Hunter Valley NSW Australia wine region property investment build own live
Acreage hunter valley builder land property
Acreage home design hunter valley builder

Small villages with big vistas

Under the wide Hunter Valley skies it’s possible to find the perfect location to build an acreage home in the rolling hills between Singleton and Maitland. The villages of Paterson and Vacy, Branxton and Greta are also essential hubs for the local communities. These are all worth exploring to find a vacant block of land to build your dream home in a picturesque setting with all the benefits of small town community to enjoy.

As you drive closer to Maitland you’ll find outer areas like Lochinvar & Louth Park provide a rural acreage feel with the ease and convenience of close proximity to a big town. 

Wine country dreaming

For those with big dreams to build an acreage home with views of the Broken Back mountain range they need to get out and explore the areas of Broke, Pokolbin and Rothbury. While there is the attraction of a quiet country life there’s also the lifestyle benefits of world-class wineries, hatted restaurants, golf resorts, concerts in the vineyards. So many additional reasons to host friends and family! Located in the heart of the Hunter Valley, wine country land is at a premium but a large block of land to suit your budget can still be found for keen and persistent buyers.

winery hunter valley
Valley Homes Acreage scene country hunter valley

Looking further afield

If you’re prepared to travel further there are more affordable options and more diverse views to be found in the Hunter Valley. Your rural escape could be hidden away in Congewai or Millfield on the way to the historic town of Wollombi.

With so much National Parkland in the Hunter Valley nature enthusiasts and bushwalkers are spoilt for choice. It’s here they can imagine their dream home built on a block of land within easy access of beautiful bushland. An outdoor entertainment area with a fire pit would make the perfect addition to their acreage house plans.

Build an acreage home to meet your needs

Taking the time to imagine your rural lifestyle is important when considering acreage house plans. For some people it’s all about the view, making the most of the best aspect with big windows to let in sunlight and beautiful vistas. For others, a priority is the double or triple garage and space for ‘big toy’ storage or to house a workshop.

You’ll want to enjoy having plenty of room to host friends and family and have the option of both indoor and outdoor entertaining spaces. You need to envisage the aesthetics as well. Do you imagine yourself living in a contemporary or country style home? 

With all these questions to answer you’ll be researching house builders in the Hunter Valley who know how to listen to your ideas and make the most of your particular block of land and the surrounding landscape.

Acreage home design hunter valley builder
Acreage hunter valley builder land property

The experienced and recommended acreage builder

Whatever you envision for your rural dream home, Hunter Valley builder, Valley Homes, can help you build an acreage home that meets your every requirement. The positive reviews from satisfied customers say it all. Call us today to speak with the team about our acreage house plans.

Home investment property development goals

Investor incentive: what the 2023 Budget means for property


Housing affordability and the rental crisis has long been a concern in Australia so the government’s response in the 2023 Federal Budget was much anticipated with measures included to create more affordable housing and help more Australians into home ownership.

Dual Occupancy Newcastle

Facing the challenges

There’s no denying that the building industry still faces continued high construction expenses and this is a reality we will have to factor into projects for some time yet. The need to reduce costs and make construction more economical is yet to be addressed by the government. However, increased levels of migration and investment in TAFE to grow our national skills base were positive factors of the 2023 Federal Budget and will contribute to helping address labour shortages in the construction industry. There were also a number of key measures that will particularly interest those keen to build an investment property.

Incentives to help address the rental crisis

In response to the current pressures felt by those renters struggling with housing affordability, the budget brought relief with a 15% increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance. Support for renters also serves to raise investor’s confidence in the build-to-rent sector.

Compared to other countries, the build-to-rent market in Australia is relatively small and new. Overall, the current size of the sector is estimated to be just 0.2% of the total value of the residential housing sector. To stimulate growth in this area, one of the tax breaks for property investors included in the Budget was the increase to the capital works tax deduction or depreciation rate from 2.5 per cent to 4 per cent per year. There was also an increase in the after-tax returns for newly constructed build‑to‑rent developments. 

As reported in the Property Tribune, Mike Zorbas, Chief Executive, Property Council of Australia, feels that the budget has provided a powerful win for good public policy.

“Levelling the tax playing field for build-to-rent projects is a significant one and will allow a welcome new asset class to grow into its full potential across Australia, unlocking up to 150,000 new homes and relieving pressure in the rental market over the next decade.”

Multiple dwelling project builder
Valley Homes townhouse development Wallsend

More good news for property developers

The 2023 Federal Budget halved Managed Investment Trust (MIT) Withholding Tax from 30% to 15% on newly constructed, conditional build‑to‑rent developments.

This was one of the key recommendations outlined in a study commissioned by the Property Council of Australia. 

The study revealed cutting the tax would see the number of new apartments developed triple from the projected 50,000 to 150,000 in the next 10 years.* This measure is sure to attract and retain foreign investment in Australia to benefit the build-to-rent sector.

Creating more opportunities to step onto the property ladder

The First Home Guarantee Scheme which previously was only available to married or de facto couples is now open to any two borrowers such as siblings or friends and non‑first home buyers who have not owned a property in Australia in the preceding 10 years. It’s perfect for those who like the idea of shared ownership and paying off their own mortgage rather than being stuck in the rental market. What’s more, if they reside in NSW, they can take advantage of the recent amendments to stamp duty

The NSW Government has introduced changes to the First Home Buyers Assistance scheme with the threshold for stamp duty exemptions for first home buyers being lifted from $650,000 to $800,000 and stamp duty concessions from $800,000 to $1 million. This will commence from July 1st but to be eligible for this offer it’s a requirement to live in the home for at least one year. This is great opportunity for those wanting to own their own home or considering long term property investment for the rental market.

Custom Designed duplex newcastle Valley Homes builder
Dual Occupancy Home Designs Newcastle

Reasons to be optimistic

It’s hard not to agree with the positive sentiment expressed in API magazine by Bobby Haeri, Co-Director of The Investors Agency.

“All these announcements are pro-property investing and it’s promising to see that the government has acknowledged the importance of property investors in this country. I believe with over 350,000 people entering the country annually over the next couple of years and interest rates at or near their peak, we will see a promising few years in the property sector within Australia.”

With the demand for build-to-rent houses, alongside various incentives and tax breaks for property investors, plus changes to stamp duty provided by the NSW government, the opportunity is there to invest and be a part of the solution to the housing shortage Australia faces. 

Wondering where to start? Valley Homes can provide the experience and expertise to help you build an investment property whether you’re planning a single dwelling or a multi unit development. We’ll make your investment property dream a reality which in turn will become somebody’s home.

* New tax cuts could deliver 150,000 new build-to-rent apartments, by Rowan Crosby, The Property Tribune, 2/5/2023

There are plenty of construction companies and house builders that can offer new home construction but if you’re looking for something more, whether it’s  a heritage home build, an industrial style home or a custom home design, it’s best to find a home builder in Maitland that can offer years of experience and a diverse portfolio.

Whatever your vision, Maitland home builder, Valley Homes, has a team of designers and builders with the expertise and vision to transform your plans and ideas into reality. We work with local retailers to provide the perfect products for your custom home design and to ensure your dream home build is everything you envisaged and more. Contact us today.

New home build, rustic industrial facade with large 3 car garage

Feature build: Custom home design at it’s finest


Successful custom home design is about combining a client’s vision with practical expertise, and our feature build demonstrates this beautifully. The owners of 44 Vista Parade, East Maitland have garnered their love of urban-industrial style with their passion for recycled timbers and heritage pieces to create a stylish and unique haven of comfort. Read on to find out their secret to achieving the desired ‘wow’ factor of this industrial style home overlooking Rathluba lagoon.

large sunken kitchen sink stainless steel

Your home makes a very distinctive first impression and you’ve clearly veered away from the classic heritage home build found in the area. What was the inspiration behind combining traditional with industrial elements? 

We envisioned an industrial style home. Prior to designing our home, we had stayed in some stunning places, which contained the architecture and colour that we liked, in Melbourne and Sydney and it was then that we gathered some ideas. We had fun putting together different materials to enhance the look we were after. The love of recycled timber gave us inspiration to include bridge beams from the 1800’s. Our son Zachary used his industrial skills to cut the heavy industrial brackets for these timber bridge beams.

Rustic style front door home facade

This style flows through into the house and you’ve managed to blend contemporary and country with the large homestead kitchen table, a variety of warm-toned timbers, leather lounges chairs and ottomans in complementary colours into the heart of the home. This open-planned living area looks like a welcoming space to relax. It must make for great family gatherings! In what ways has your vision become a reality?

We chose Taubmans Roman Rule for our exterior, and carried this from the outside in. We used this colour to complement our timber furniture. Our antique table was discovered in Orange and restored by David and his father. This table allows our family to gather in this perfect cosy space.

close up of bar with bar stools and liquor cabinet

The bar is a real standout feature, tell us more about the story behind this space.

David is a passionate collector of fine single malt whiskys. We wanted a space for these whiskys to be appreciated, not only visually but ‘tastefully’. Industrial brass taps and clever lighting were installed to highlight the amber tones of the whisky. A fun space to share a dram or two with family and friends!

You’ve made your alfresco area all the more enjoyable by installing an Escea outdoor fireplace. Can you describe the ways in which you use the outdoor entertaining space and how you make the most of the view?

The alfresco area is boarded by our bar and woodfire barbeque/fireplace. The barbeque/fireplace was David’s 50th birthday gift as he has an interest in cooking over wood. The old timber railway sleeper mantelpiece and fireplace surround add to our country themed style. We absolutely love entertaining in this space with family and friends. We adore our property’s view – the sunsets, the farmyards and wildlife are stunning! This view can be seen from many of our home’s spaces including our front door.

outdoor area with oven
bedroom with black framed windows and rustic double bed

The bedrooms evoke country comfort with the iron bed frames, rustic pieces such as the rocking chair and repurposed sewing machine. Are these heirlooms or are you enthusiastic seekers of antiques and second-hand treasures?

Many of our key pieces of furniture are family heirlooms. All pieces have been restored with love by David’s father, Richard. We feel that our industrial style and colours chosen compliment our most loved treasures and bring that country warmth to life.

The Bathrooms and laundry have contemporary clean lines – how did you select your tiles and cabinetry?

We wanted to cleverly design our home’s spaces to allow consistent colour and texture to flow as well as keeping to our industrial clean design. The recommended tile supplier, Amber Tiles and kitchen supplier, Valley Kitchens had the perfect products for our home and vision.

Tell us about your experience working with Maitland builder, Valley Homes in custom designing and building your own home.

Building a custom design home with Valley Homes allowed us to tailor design our dreams. Valley Homes’ willingness to incorporate five different exterior materials was perfect for making our home stand out-giving it ‘wow’ factor. The design team took on our plans and ideas and made them achievable. Our supervisor Brad’s attention to detail was noteworthy. We love our beautiful home and hope to make many memories with our family and friends. Thanks to the Valley Homes team!

There are plenty of construction companies and house builders that can offer new home construction but if you’re looking for something more, whether it’s  a heritage home build, an industrial style home or a custom home design, it’s best to find a home builder in Maitland that can offer years of experience and a diverse portfolio.

Whatever your vision, Maitland home builder, Valley Homes, has a team of designers and builders with the expertise and vision to transform your plans and ideas into reality. We work with local retailers to provide the perfect products for your custom home design and to ensure your dream home build is everything you envisaged and more. Contact us today.

Valley Homes series residential facade design

The ideal modular home design: affordable, adaptable and sustainable


When it comes to great house design ask any architect or savvy house builder in the Hunter Valley for the three words most often spoken on the topic and they’ll tell you: affordable, adaptable and sustainable. With interest rates on the rise and the continued demand for eco-wise approaches to design and building practices, home builders are seeking out affordable architecture to deliver both practical and creative design solutions. 

Design suited to the Australian Climate

The sustainable home builder is aware that effective architectural design must harness the best of the Australian climate as well as the specific challenges it presents. In a region that experiences an average of eight hours of sunlight a day, the Hunter Valley builder can take full advantage of that solar energy with the use of passive design principles. Effective design that incorporates sunlight in the winter months can contribute to reduction in heating costs.

Passive design principles factor in the orientation of the house on the block of land, making best use of the northern aspect. This can be particularly advantageous in winter months. Wherever the sun falls on a thermal mass, be it concrete or tiled flooring, the heat will be absorbed during the day and radiate that warmth long after the sun has disappeared. 

Likewise, reducing the impact of the sun in the summer months through adequate shading with the use of deep eaves or verandah, will lessen the reliance on air-conditioning and its expense.

Quality insulation and glazing are also core to passive design principles in order to keep in the warmth in winter and cool in summer. To maintain a comfortable living environment, adequate airflow is also an important aspect of effective design. 

Modular home design that has it all!

Offering architecturally inspired designs at an affordable price, The Valley Series allows homeowners to tailor the best aspects of modular home design to suit their needs. These Hunter Valley house designs are perfect for both the first time buyer or the investor, whether you’re looking for a modern or heritage styled home that includes favourite contemporary features. The secret of the Valley Series is the flexible home design with a range of modern and heritage front and rear façades.

Valley Homes series residential rear facade design

Heritage appeal

For some home owners the heritage style perfectly fits their vision of a classic Hunter Valley house design. The Valley Series has five pitched roof front and rear façades that would blend with the character of an older suburb or simply satisfy the desire for the Hamptons look.

A popular destination for wealthy New Yorkers, The Hamptons district of Long Island in the USA, is the source of inspiration for this ever-popular style. Hamptons is all about indoor/outdoor living and features large windows that fill the home with light. With the Valley Series it’s possible to capture the classic Hamptons style by choosing a front and rear façade with a pitched roof veranda and weatherboard effect. Painting the fascia and timber posts white will finesse the look. It’s a timeless style that comes across as effortless and charming. 

Modern lines

The Valley Series also offers contemporary designs with modern front and rear façades that include the skillion roof and covered outdoor area. These stylish designs provide a real contrast to the traditional pitched or gabled roofline. Some homeowners keen to install solar panels also have a preference for this style.

With all of the Valley Series floor plans you will find the best in modular home design including an open plan kitchen with generous living area utilising passive design principles.

There are a variety of layouts to satisfy every homeowner from ‘The Compact’, to fit the smaller block and budget to ‘The Connoisseur’ with its generous sized kitchen and servery while ‘The Executive’ is perfect for those looking to work from home.

The biophilic design principles of bringing the outside in and incorporating nature inspired elements  to contribute to health and well being have been applied to the Valley Series not only with use of natural light but also the inclusion of an alfresco area in each design. ‘The Sanctuary’ has the added bonus of private courtyard off the master bedroom, in which an abundance of plants could be cultivated to create a personal oasis of tranquility.

‘The Entertainer’ also has a private courtyard as well as a media room while ‘The Classic’ simply provides all you could want in a four bedroom home.

Valley Homes series residential rear facade design

The house builder in the Hunter Valley to offer the complete service 

Investors and buyers seeking  affordable architecture that allow use of passive design principles suited to the Australian climate need look no further than the Valley Series. And who better to build it than Valley Homes, the Hunter Valley builder with over 50 years experience in the construction industry. We keep the business of homebuilding simple and guide you all the way from design to build.

Port Stephens: more than a sea change


When you think of Port Stephens it’s likely you’ll picture its pristine waters, national parks, dolphins, water sports and whale watching cruises. It’s the perfect spot to holiday, retire or enjoy a day trip. Why stop there? The Port Stephens Council has prioritised adequate supply of new housing for its anticipated growth which also makes it a great place for property development. 

With land prices at a premium in Newcastle, Port Stephens is less than an hour up the road and has some great locations for multi unit investment property. But the exciting news is that the options for property development extend well beyond Nelson Bay!

A Vision for the Region

Councils from Newcastle and Port Stephens all the way up to the Midcoast are preparing for population growth. The Hunter Regional Plan 2041 focuses on ‘making great places with more everyday uses close to home, supported by the right sequencing of development and infrastructure to ensure sustainable growth.’ All of NSW local government councils were required to develop a local strategic planning statement (LSPS) setting out the 20-year vision for land use in their local area, including the special character and values that are to be preserved, and how change will be managed into the future.

Valley Homes townhouse development Wallsend

Of particular interest to investors and construction companies are these two key points of the plan:

  1. A focus on 15-minute mixed-use neighbourhoods.
  2. A preference for infill development rather than greenfield development, where we plan for housing densities that align with how a neighbourhood functions and the type of public transport available, and establish flexible land uses to allow communities to evolve. 

The 15-minute mixed use neighbourhoods are designed to be convenient locations for living and investing where a mix of things can happen closer to your home so that everyday needs like schools, shops, cafes and businesses could be only 15 minutes away with a walk or bike ride, or by car in more rural areas. The Port Stephens Council recognises that infill housing creates more compact neighbourhoods and supports local businesses. It also contributes to the sustainability of the area by helping reduce the urban sprawl. Reassuringly for investors, construction companies and home builders, Port Stephens Council has made amendments to developing controls and monitoring of supply to increase the proportion of infill housing.

Port Stephens attracts not only those seeking a sea or tree-change but also ‘regional returners’, those that grew up in the area. Knowing that it’s also perfect for future residents looking for more affordable housing suited to their needs and their budget, the savvy builder would be wise to keep an eye open for property development opportunities in the Port Stephens area, including smaller places like Tea Gardens. Port Stephens Council infill housing study identified the areas offering the most infill housing opportunities were: Raymond Terrace, Nelson Bay, Shoal Bay and Corlette. Other possibilities for selected types of infill housing were Anna Bay, the Tilligerry Peninsula, Karuah and Medowie.

Also of interest to home builders, Port Stephens Council have identified many blocks of land in Raymond Terrace that have potential to provide additional small-scale housing development such as duplex, triplex and dual occupancy. Construction companies will be happy to hear that the Council has been reaching out to landowners in Raymond Terrace to promote the potential for additional residential development.

More opportunities even further afield

Offering the best of both the beach and the bush Myall Lakes is great in any season – milder in Spring, long beach days in Summer and winter means less tourists and more wildlife, with 40 kilometers of unspoilt beaches along the coastline.

The Myall Lakes Waterway is the largest freshwater lake system on the eastern seaboard of Australia, perfect for canoeing and kayaking, boating and fishing. It’s also home to the tallest tree in NSW, a flooded gum known as ‘the Grandis’ (after its botanical name, Eucalyptus grandis).

But don’t be fooled into thinking this area is exclusively for the tourists! There are plenty of vibrant towns and villages within this Midcoast area that are benefitting from the emerging job opportunities in the health, agriculture, tourism, defence, energy and transport sectors. As a result, there’s a growing need for housing and great opportunities for property development.

A commutable 96 kilometers north-east of Newcastle, the inland township Bulahdelah is the western access to the Myall Lakes. This bypassed highway service town has had to search for a new identity and another potential location for property development.

For those ready to take advantage of land releases and property development opportunities in Port Stephens and the Myall Lakes area, you’ll be pleased to know that Valley Homes is already building in these areas and familiar with all the local council regulations.

Whether you have a duplex or multi unit development in mind, Valley Homes is the home builder to help you make your investment property dream a reality. So start exploring!

You bring the vision and we’ll build it

So on this note of optimism, we hope our ideas bring you the inspiration to make 2023 the year to fulfill your property dreams. Whether it’s to build a new home or an investment development, call the team at Valley Homes – we’re here to help make it happen.

Inspiring building trends heading into 2023


To activate your new year plans whether it’s to build an investment property, new home or simply add a spark of inspiration to your current home we’ve pooled together all the best 2023 trends. There’s a lot to get excited about!

PROPERTY INVESTORS: Put your focus where it matters

If your aim is to build an investment property as part of your 2023 financial goals, we’ve got two really crucial pieces of property investment information to share that will give you cause to be optimistic.

1. Look locally

Terry Ryder, specialist researcher/writer on residential property for over 35 years, is the creator of annual property report, Hotspotting. He observed that the tendency for property commentators and economists to generalise real estate markets – by discussing Australia as a single market – is impacting consumer’s knowledge of what is actually happening on the ground. His report revealed “countless examples of the reality that real estate is essentially a local affair, with markets within markets.”

This is a heartening reminder of what we already know to be true within Newcastle, Maitland, the Hunter Valley and Port Stephens.

2. Invest to meet the demand

In terms of property investment, the demand for affordable rentals continues to increase. In fact, ‘Units popular in good locations’ was one of The Property Tribune’s Top 5 Australian Property Market Trends for 2023. Weighing in on the discussion, Terry Ryder agrees. Buyers are seeking out affordable units in city areas. Ryder adds, “with borders open and overseas migrants and students returning, demand from renters and buyers of units has risen – and vacancies have dropped markedly.”

Newcastle and Hunter Valley councils have zoned areas for multi-unit investment development so the time and demand is right for this type of property investment.

Aerial view of historic Morpeth and Hunter River in New South Wales
BulBul duplex design Hunter Valley

HOME BUILDERS: Get smart on size, style, nature & colour

1. Smaller Homes

Another one of the very practical 2023 trends is the focus on smaller homes. “Due to current supply chain issues, the costs of building and renovating are rising so steeply, we expect to see a lean towards smaller homes with less of an environmental footprint,” says Emma Mahlook, creative director of Mim Design.

If your dream is to build a new home and economy of size matters, Valley Homes’ Urban Home Series is the perfect solution. If you’re tempted to go a step further and build an investment property then a Valley Homes duplex design could also be the answer. More than just a builder, Valley Homes’ in-house designers can customise all plans to suit your needs. 

2. Sustainable inspiration

So many 2023 trends continue on the theme of sustainability. Beyond the obvious eco-friendly features in homes like solar panels, wall and ceiling insulation and energy-efficient appliances, there’s more emphasis on true sustainability, looking at the entire picture and sourcing close to home is also part of this. Daniel Boddam, founder and director at Daniel Boddam Studio says, “Locally sourced furniture and materials that go into a project will help reduce the embodied energy component that goes into a building, and with it we take a step towards the circular economy.”

3. More fun ideas

‘Vintage Finds’ fits into the sustainability theme while adding something unique to the story of your home. The mix and match and layering of different textures and choice pieces is a feature of 2023 trends.

Gone are the smooth flat surfaces of previous trends. As a celebration of the senses, we’ll be seeing more textured materials from stone and grained timbers as well as rugs, throws and varied fabrics to create welcoming and eye-catching spaces. Picture natural elements like stone fireplaces and live-edge wood furnishings such as a rough, rounded edge on a coffee table from the girth of the tree.

4. Outside-in

This leads us to the ongoing biophilic obsession which gained popularity during the Covid19 pandemic lockdowns, as people sought to bring nature inside with a variety of indoor plants and living walls. This trend continues, with tons of designers taking their cues from nature via organic shapes and natural textures.

Katrina Yaxley, Home Beautiful Creative director also suggests sheer curtains to allow a celebration of green views. If you don’t have access to garden views, another option is to group oversized foliage in large, textured vases to bring joy and life to any room.

5. Colour Inspiration

In terms of colour trends, it could be possible to say ‘anything goes!’ but the general theme is drawn from nature: warm tones as well as a daring splash of colour. It’s no surprise that the Pantone Colour Institute chose Viva Magenta as this year’s colour. It’s described as “expressive of a new signal of strength” and “a pulsating colour whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration.”

You bring the vision and we’ll build it

So on this note of optimism, we hope our ideas bring you the inspiration to make 2023 the year to fulfill your property dreams. Whether it’s to build a new home or an investment development, call the team at Valley Homes – we’re here to help make it happen.

Year in review: answers to the affordability question


At Valley Homes our end of year wrap is a chance to review what news in particular really piqued our readers’ interest. 

One of the common themes was about making wise choices in the face of a challenging economy. Throughout 2022, the rising cost of living and interest rates have been on people’s minds as they contemplate future investments and new home construction. We appreciate that people are seeking trustworthy guidance as well as affordable solutions and that’s perhaps why our top five blogs have been so popular.

In keeping with tradition here’s our countdown starting with number 5.

5. Build an Economic Family Home in NSW

Packed full of information about the various government discounts and grants Build an Economic Family Home in NSW was the blog that brought a lot of hope to first time buyers who’d been feeling overwhelmed by the gloom and doom prevailing over the housing market. It also suggested exploring new suburbs within the Maitland and Hunter Valley region as a way of securing a great deal on land. 

We explored the Urban Homes series with energy efficient designs to contribute to reducing energy bills and the cost of living. The compact design of these three and four bedroom homes reduces the build times which can also provide additional cost reductions. When it comes to new home construction every saving counts especially in a time of rising inflation

This blog also served to remind readers that in the search for affordable home builders it makes sense to stay local. At Valley Homes we know that our customers benefit from the knowledge we have of local councils, the relationships we have built with complimentary businesses and our reputation as the go-to Maitland builder. Which leads us seamlessly onto our fourth most popular blog …

4. Location is Key When Building a Townhouse

With councils in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley looking to increase affordable and diverse medium density housing, townhouses are a great investment for property developers. Location is Key When Building a Townhouse was a blog that raised lots of ideas and answered plenty of questions on this topic. With location being key, we encouraged investors and developers to thoroughly research the demographics, amenities, transport and demand for multi unit developments in their chosen suburb. 

Most importantly we reminded readers to ensure the feasibility of the project and factor in rising interest rates and inflation.

3. Creating a Modern Country Home

Creating a Modern Country Home was a great opportunity to celebrate the magic that comes from working with passionate people. One of our Valley Homes customers generously shared the story behind their unique house design and allowed us to showcase its many features. 

A custom home design, 36 Vista Parade exemplifies the way in which Valley Homes works closely with clients to achieve their vision with great in-house design and quality craftsmanship, all within budget. 

We’re sure that this home will inspire more readers to build their own dream homes and choose Valley Homes as their custom home builder.

2. What it Takes to Build a Duplex

In looking for secure strong returns with a relatively lower risk it’s not surprising that many new and experienced investors start with a duplex. The amount of interest in this topic placed What it Takes to Build a Duplex as our second most read. 

This blog included a thorough checklist of all the essentials to consider before embarking on building a duplex. As we’ve already stated, the right location is a big factor with particular emphasis on the shape and size of your block of land. Meeting the requirements of the local council is an aspect that often overwhelms many inexperienced home builders and that’s why we proudly recommend Valley Homes as the Hunter Valley and Maitland builder with over 50 years of knowledge and experience working with local councils. Valley Homes also has a great range of duplex plans that can be adapted to suit your budget and specific block of land.

Champagne at the ready for our most read article…

1. Factoring All Costs Building a New Home or Investment

Early in 2022 we wrote a blog that laid bare some hard facts about the state of the building industry. We wanted our customers to have a clear understanding of the challenges we were, and still are, faced with and how we move forward. Readers appreciated our honesty and advice and that’s why Factoring All Costs Building a New Home or Investment came in at number one!

Our key message was: do your research! We cautioned readers about builders tendering on jobs at a preliminary stage without factoring any known or anticipated supplier price rises. Be aware of the risks and make informed decisions. 

It’s essential that you work with a reliable and trustworthy builder who has already weathered the construction industry storms. With five decades of experience you need look no further than Hunter Valley and Maitland builder, Valley Homes.

Time for dreaming

From the Valley Homes family to yours, we wish you a Christmas full of joy and peace. We look forward to sharing more great ideas and inspiration in 2023 with all you big dreaming home builders!

Heritage home facade - new build

Feature build: Contemporary style in the heart of historic Morpeth


Just a stone’s throw from Maitland, you’ll find the historic township of Morpeth – and if you travel down the main road of Swan Street, you just might spot the proud homeowners of a new country minimalist styled house enjoying a cuppa on their front porch. Taking advantage of our building service – bringing their own plans – they’ve been able to build a dream home keeping in character with its surrounding heritage while creating a modern interior to ensure comfortable year-round living. We took a tour of their home and they shared the vision that inspired the design…

Morpeth has a rich history and is set in beautiful location by the Hunter River. What first drew you to the area and what do you love most about living in Morpeth?

We have both lived in the Maitland area all our lives. We have always thought Morpeth is very scenic and has so much history.

We enjoy Morpeth’s close proximity to everything and that it has a strong heritage feel with all the old buildings and beautiful old trees.

It’s great to be able to walk to all the shops, parks and the wharf. 

In an historic town like Morpeth there are going to be regulations about the house design to be sympathetic to the local character. How did this effect the choices you made about the overall design and finishes? 

We wanted our house to fit in with the houses at Morpeth and also stand out at the same time.

There were a lot of regulations we had to follow when designing our house. We engaged Agcad Design for this process as they are used to designing houses in the heritage areas of Maitland and also working with council.

We had to consider things such as the pitch and colour of the roof, the material for the outside of the house and the setback and size of the house.

wooden floor lounge room
outdoor dining table on alfresco deck
Aerial view of historic Morpeth and Hunter River in New South Wales

Your home is the perfect blend of heritage and contemporary design to create a country minimalist style. What were the essential features you wanted to include in the house plan?

We wanted our house to be a good size family home with 4 bedrooms, 2 living areas, 2.5 bathrooms and a double garage with workshop.

The house had to be striking from the street with lots of Morpeth charm and have a contemporary look from the back of the house.

Anthony from Agcad Design met our request with a beautiful design we loved.

living room with wooden floor boards

The other striking aspect of your home is the abundance of light and space. While the exterior says cosy cottage the modern interior is bright and spacious. The open-planned living room is expansive with its raked skillion ceiling and well positioned windows. Can you tell us about your vision for this main living area?

We wanted the best of both worlds. The front half of the house has a heritage feel with big bedrooms, high ceilings and spotted gum floorboards.

You then step down to the second half of the house where our main living area is. It has a dramatic raked ceiling and a contemporary feel with big windows and glass doors overlooking farmland.

We wanted this part of the house to have a different feel from the front half of the house but at the same time feel connected and have a seamless flow throughout.

white skaka styled kitchen
fire pit in back yard of with sandstone blocks

It’s a dream kitchen with the butler’s pantry, plenty of storage and wide stone bench tops. You’ve obviously factored in catering for large gatherings of family and friends.

We wanted a big kitchen with a timeless design. There is plenty of space and storage for us all and works very well for the family.

You’ve got plenty of outdoor spaces from the small deck at the side, the classic front porch, and a fabulous covered deck for entertaining and enjoying the river view. Plus there’s the fire-pit. Creating a variety of outdoor zones is like having extra rooms. Do you find yourself making good use of these different areas? 

We really like our different outdoor areas and have used them all. The front porch is great for watching the world go by. The deck at the side has a beautiful view of an old fig tree making it a perfect coffee spot and the back deck is used for bigger family gatherings. The fire-pit with sandstone seating has been used as well!

The finishes are stunning from the timber floorboards and cabinetry right up to the New York cornices. You must be really happy with the quality of the craftsmanship. How important was craftsmanship in the build and direction of the interior design?

The quality of the craftsmanship was important to us and we feel that we have achieved a high quality home.

We wanted to use high quality materials throughout such as the spotted gum floorboards, wide heritage skirting and the detailed cornices.

living area with wooden floor boards

Choosing the right new home builder to build your dream home is crucial. Describe your experience building with the Valley Homes team.

At the start of our building process we worked with Kaye to make our initial selections for the detailed quote we received. She was extremely helpful and attentive.

 Our supervisor Troy was very diligent in his job and great at communicating. He worked with us to fix any problems that arose along the way.

 The quality of tradespeople they use is high and the job was completed on time and on budget.

 All Valley Homes staff were helpful and honest from start to finish.

Would you recommend Valley Homes and what would you say to anyone thinking about building their dream home with us?

We would recommend Valley Homes because the process was overall a positive one for us.

Our message to people thinking of building with Valley Homes is that they are open with their communication, honest, and finish the job on time and on budget. They build high quality homes for a reasonable price.

There are many construction companies and house builders to choose from around the Hunter Valley but it’s always reassuring to be guided by the recommendation of a new home owner who’s had a positive experience with a local Maitland builder. Valley Homes can offer a wealth of house plans or custom home design to help you build a dream home. Whether it’s a contemporary or heritage home you desire, our experienced team can match your vision and your budget so contact us today.

Hamptions style new home facade

Feature build: Creating a modern country home


This month we are delighted to showcase, 36 Vista Parade, a stunning Hunter Valley property evoking the timelessness of a classic country home with fresh contemporary living. We spoke with the proud owners Kathy and Peter about the inspiration for the overall heritage style and how they found the right builder to custom design their ideal home.

Describe your overall vision for the project. Was this the result of your vision for the work, the Valley Homes designers, or a team effort?

In building our new home, we had a clear vision of creating a place where our family and friends could gather, and feel relaxed and ‘at home’. We wanted to achieve an open plan with large spaces, especially for the living and dining areas, but also incorporate a sense of cosiness. Although we had a basic floor-plan to work with, the very talented Stef at Valley Homes helped us achieve a design that ticked all our boxes.

wooden dining table

There’s so much to love about the interior design: clean lines and a contemporary feel is combined with the warmth of leather and timbers as well as an an eclectic mix of furniture and French doors with textured glass. There’s a consistent theme throughout and  you’ve made it distinctly your own. The colour palette includes a choice of feature colours for example on the chimney breast and in the entertainment room that make a statement in keeping with the overall theme.
The timber floors and cabinetry have beautiful finishes. How important was craftsmanship in the build and direction of the interior design?

We wanted to achieve a ‘modern country’ farmhouse feel with our interior design. A lot of our furniture comprises antique Australian pieces which we have collected and restored over many years. We love the warmth of Australian timbers and the texture and colour of stone, so the colour palette evolved around these elements. The craftsmanship of the stonework around our fireplace and in our beautiful Australian Blackbutt flooring was central to achieving the look and feel we were after.

You’ve included all the essential features of a classic country kitchen: shaker-styled cabinetry, feature tile splash back, Belfast sink and large timber dining table. Homestead chic works well in this open-planned living area, the style is both effortless and welcoming making it feel like the heart of the home. How much was this part of your vision for your home? Tell us more about the kitchen design process.

Our kitchen has always been an important gathering place for our family. After much searching we found our characterful dining table, which was originally a work table on a dairy farm and dates to the late 1800s. It has its own unique story, and has now become the place where our stories are told. We wanted to create a functional, spacious area which was contemporary and easy to work in, but also had a nod to the historic past with finishes like the ‘pressed metal’ look of our splash-back tiles.

The floor tiles in the bathrooms and laundry are variations of the same pattern. Did you source the tiles yourself or through one of the Valley Homes suppliers? How difficult was it to choose your finishes and fixtures throughout?

A lot of thought went into our tile selection! Trying to find tiles that were going to be as timeless as possible and fit with the theme and colour scheme was probably one of the hardest decisions we had to make! Encaustic tiles have definitely withstood the test of time, and also fitted into the country home theme. Wherever we could, we tried to use Australian made products and these gorgeous encaustic ‘look’ tiles were made by a tile manufacturer in Victoria. Belinda at Hunter Valley Tile Mart was able to get samples for us and helped with our final selections.

You must love the view from the back deck out over the water. Was this one of the reasons you chose to build in this location of East Maitland? Were there any other factors that attracted you here?

We absolutely love where we live! We lived on the other side of Rathluba Lagoon for 26 years, so we haven’t moved far, and really appreciate our water and farmland views. Besides our furniture, the country style of our house was largely influenced by the fact that we have built on what was, until not long ago, a family farm.

The alfresco entertainment area is generous and well planned with the ceiling fan, overhead heating and the pull-down screens – such a fabulous idea! Explain more about your vision for this.

One of the ‘must-haves’ for our new home was an outdoor area that flowed easily from the indoor space, and could be part of a large enclosed area once our sliding doors were fully opened. The outdoor blinds, fan and heaters are there so that we can either enclose the area or open it all up depending the weather, and be able to use it all year around.

back garden with fire pit
back yard with large garden shed

The herb garden adds to the country cottage theme and the rear garden also includes recycled timbers and sandstone that create a heritage feel. Can you tell us a little more about this space and what you’re growing?

We’ve always loved having a garden so that we can have flowers in the house and fresh herbs for cooking. The rusty metal edging, recycled timber posts and sleepers, as well as the sandstone were chosen to give a rustic feel to the outdoor space, and to continue the theme from inside. The stonework around our fireplace and the recycled railway sleeper that is our mantle were part of the inspiration for the landscaping choices.

Is that a granny flat, summer house or shed in the backyard? Tell us more about this feature and how it will be used.

Our little shed in the backyard is actually a workshop! We wanted it to look like it belonged there, so had it constructed to match the house. The roofer had the challenge of positioning our old weather vane perfectly on its roof!

What is your favourite feature of the house?

We really love our fireplace and sitting area. It’s a part of our house that always feels inviting, and is a great spot to sit and relax.

close up of cosy fireplace

Describe your experience working with the Valley Homes team.

To achieve the vision we had for our new home, it was obvious to us after looking at lots of plans and project homes, that we would need a custom builder. Valley Homes offered the design service that we needed to tweak our plans, and to help us incorporate the features we wanted within our budget. Attention to detail and flexibility were really important to us, and Valley Homes were able to provide these for us.

Would you recommend Valley Homes and what would you say to anyone thinking about building their dream home with them?

We are really happy with design and build quality of our home. Valley Homes were able to make our dream home a reality. Building a new home is never without some challenges, however with collaboration and a builder who is flexible, it is possible to create something truly unique and special.

Build your home with us

If you’re looking for custom home design Valley Homes is the Maitland home builder to offer the expertise and craftsmanship required to make your new build the country home you’ve been dreaming of. Call us today.

Build the good life in Maitland


Maitland in the NSW Hunter Valley is a vibrant and growing city with a huge heart situated on Wonnarua country. With a growing population and increased public and private investment, now is a great time to make a tree change and be a part of that growth. Maitland can be an affordable and easy choice for any family or first-time buyer looking for a block of land to build their dream home.

Hamptions style new home facade

Well connected

When you’re living in Maitland you’re never far from wherever you need to be and the great news is, you don’t have to endure city traffic. Maitland has always been well connected since the early 1800s when the Hunter River was a crucial trade and transport link. These days you’re more likely to see kayaking or paddle boarding on the Hunter while trains and buses provide easy and reliable travel. By car, Newcastle and its airport are 30 mins away, Sydney is only 2hrs down the M1 Freeway and the Hunter Expressway provides easy access to the vineyards.

Well serviced

Families are especially lured to Maitland with the abundance of choice when it comes to learning and education as well as plenty of sports grounds and aquatic centres for active kids and grown-ups. The shared pathway along the Hunter is another way to enjoy the outdoors.

There are also great healthcare facilities with the new Maitland Hospital and Maitland Private Hospital as well as the Lower Hunter Community Health Service and other healthcare providers.

Cultural riches

Steeped in its colonial heritage, Maitland boasts architectural beauty throughout its historic city centre and nearby suburbs such as Morpeth, Lorn and Bolwarra where you’ll find magnificent examples of Victoria and Georgian buildings as well as Art Deco design. 

Maitland also a thriving business hub, and The Levee precinct has a huge variety of speciality shops, eateries and services as well as being home to the best art gallery in the region. Maitland Regional Art Gallery’s exhibitions and programs are welcoming and inclusive so whether you’re an artist, an art expert or novice you’ll find something of interest.

And Maitland knows how to have fun with festivals galore to keep things interesting. From beer at the ‘Bitter and Twisted’ or the ‘Bar and BBQ’ Festival, to coffee and chocolate at the Aroma Festival as well as multicultural diversity at Riverlights and the infamous Steamfest, attracting hoards of train and vintage enthusiasts from near and far.

Images credit: Maitland City Council

Heritage home facade - new build

Image credit: Maitland City Council

Get to know the suburbs

The Maitland region extends from Woodberry in the East to Lochinvar in the West and in-between there are over 50 suburbs to suit every budget and lifestyle.

If you’re looking for a complete breath of fresh air Lochinvar and Farley are great places to buy a block of land. Now is a great time to make the most of what’s on offer to build your own home.

Close to Heddon Greta and its historic drive-in is Cliftleigh, only a 10 minute drive from Maitland and with easy access to the Hunter Expressway. This area is great option for first time buyers to build a new home. 

Tenambit and family friendly Chisolm are suburbs that are also experiencing growth and if you’re looking for a block of land, you’ll find a huge variety to choose from. 

Greenhills boasts a huge shopping precinct and nearby it’s still possible to find a block of land in East Maitland and Ashtonfield. Family friendly Metford and Thornton on the East side of Maitland are also popular with easy access to Newcastle.

Build with the best in Maitland

With every good reason to build a new home in Maitland, choose a reliable builder you can trust to help create your dream home. It’s important to find a builder who is well established and has developed local supplier relationships. This is especially crucial while the building industry is experiencing supply challenges and disruptions due to both local and global issues. Working with local suppliers reduces transport costs and risks associated with long haul freight. It also helps support and build the local economy. Supporting the locals is a big factor in Maitland where community is everything.

If you were to walk around Maitland and ask for word-of-mouth recommendations for a Maitland Home Builder, Valley Homes would be the name you’d hear. Not only has Valley Homes been building in Maitland and the Hunter Valley for over 50 years, we also proudly support local trades and have well established supplier relationships. The reviews from our happy customers say it all.

So, you can see why living in Maitland is such a great option to build a new home for established and first time buyers alike. Valley Homes is your expert Maitland Home Builder committed to excellence in design and service, get in touch with us today.

Cover image credit: NSW Government

Build an economical family home in NSW


Consider this an antidote to the seemingly endless talk of rising inflation, concern about the state of the economy, the cost of living and a housing market that seems inaccessible for the first time builder or buyer.

Despite the doom and gloom, there are still reasons to feel optimistic about building a family home economically. This month we’re here to share some great family home designs to suit your budget, some more affordable NSW locations worth considering and a few handy tips to get the most out of your home loan. First time builders can also be heartened by the NSW government’s grants and concessions, read on to learn more….

Get a leg up to the property ladder

First time builders and buyers with their sights set on their very own family home are getting a great hand up with the First Home Buyers Assistance scheme (FHBAS).

When buying property or land in NSW you’re required to pay transfer duty – once known as stamp duty. As a first home buyer in NSW, you may be eligible for a duty exemption, concession and/or a grant. 

If you buy a new home valued at less than $650,000, you can apply for a full exemption, and pay no transfer duty.  A concessional rate is also available on new homes valued between $650,000 and $800,000.

Should you choose to buy a vacant block to build your own home you won’t pay transfer duty on that land if it is valued at less than $350,000. For land valued between $350,000 and $450,000, you’ll receive a concessional rate.

These discounts are determined by a number of factors so it’s worth taking a look at the NSWgovernment website which also has a First Home Buyers Assistance calculator.

If you’ve never previously received the First Home Owner Grant of $10,000 you can apply for it when purchasing a new home up to the value of $600,000. This includes homes bought ‘off the plan’.

The first time builder wanting to purchase land and build a brand new home can also apply for the First Home Owner Grant as long as the combined cost of land and building doesn’t exceed $750,000.

To determine eligibility, and to find out further details we recommend you head to and see what best applies to your situation.

If you’re also wrestling with the build vs buy home question then determining which of these discounts and grants apply to you might also help answer.

Home investment property development goals

Finding the best deals on home loans

In the face of rising inflation, and the inevitable increase on variable rates, it’s a good idea to shop around for a home loan that not only suits your budget but also your ethical standpoint.

For the first time builder or buyer fixed rate home loans can provide certainty and are useful for organizing your budget. It’s also worth investigating a split loan which still provides protection from sudden rate hikes but allows you to take advantage of variable rates as well.

If reducing your carbon footprint is a priority then it’s worth considering a green home loan, exclusive to homes that qualify certain environmentally friendly criteria stipulated by the lender. Ensuring your home has a Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHER) 7 star rating can assist in getting the best ‘green deal’. This will however require you to spend more on insulation and efficient glazing.

Urban Homes: economy of size with all the essentials.

For house designs that meet every requirement for the perfect family home look no further than the Urban Homes series. These versatile designs are ideal for the smaller block of land and make an affordable choice for the first time builder in search of the three or four bedroom family home. With Urban Homes being more compact the build times are reduced which can also provide additional cost reductions.

An energy efficient design ensures greater comfortable and can reduce energy bills which is a priority with rising cost of living and inflation a current concern. The Urban Homes series is designed so that the alfresco and main living areas can benefit from a northern aspect for solar gain in winter to also help reduce heating costs.

Duplex House Builders
winery hunter valley

Choosing an affordable NSW location

One of the big issues for the first time builder or buyer is finding affordable land. So what do we suggest? If you want value for money plus huge options on block sizes, Maitland is a great place to explore.

Maitland is the gem of the Hunter Valley offering something for everyone. There’s ample community and sports facilities, a superb Art Gallery and thriving creative sector, good public transport links and easy access to the vineyards or Newcastle and the coast. 

There are blocks of land, in a multitude of sizes, now on sale in and around Maitland and further into the Hunter Valley. They provide exciting options for the first time builder eager to create an affordable family home.

Make it happen

For the first time builder or buyer, with a deposit ready to go, the dream to build your own home might just be possible by making some wise choices and getting the right support. Do the research, explore your options and let Valley Homes help make your home building dreams a reality.

The Carrington Urban home design

Passive design principles: a win for you and the environment


Imagine you could build a new house, so well designed that it didn’t require much in the way of artificial heating or cooling thereby making it affordable to run and perfectly comfortable all year round. Sounds ideal, right? The cost to build a new home is a big enough outlay so reducing running costs would certainly be a bonus. Such an energy efficient home is not only possible but it’s encouraged with the use of passive design principles.

Passive design principles are about careful design and quality construction as well as working with the local climate. It’s ‘passive’ in that the building envelope does most of the work to maintain comfortable temperatures so there’s less reliance on air conditioners in the summer and heating units in the winter. This of course means cheaper power bills – and we all like that!

Passive design principles incorporate building features such as:

  • orientation
  • thermal mass
  • insulation
  • glazing

These work together to take advantage of natural sources of heating and cooling, such as sun and breezes, and to minimise unwanted heat gain and loss.

Let’s take a closer look at these features in relation to the Valley Series house designs.


When you build a new house one of the most important decision is where it will be positioned on your block of land. Let’s be clear, aspect isn’t just about finding a good view. Good orientation can be achieved on almost any block of land, even small blocks, with careful design. In the southern hemisphere, making the most of that northern aspect is a key factor with passive design principles. The ideal is to optimize the orientation of the home for solar gain in winter with appropriate shading for summer.

Comfortable living

Valley Homes created the Valley Series to provide clients with the style of an architectural home, the flexibility of modular home design and the advantages of passive design principles.

The six Valley Series floor plans all include generous living areas that create a sense of space and openness connecting to the alfresco area. If orientated to the north, these house designs also ensure passive solar gain for the rooms that most need it. Living areas and the kitchen are usually the most important locations for passive heating because they are used day and evening. Polished concrete or tiling across the floors can create a thermal mass to absorb the winter sun and continue radiating that heat once the sun has gone down.

The Valley Series offers great flexibility with a variety of front and rear designs to choose from. The rear designs each have covered outdoor areas. By choosing a northern orientation, the deep verandahs create ample shade in the summer but allow the area to be bathed in the low-hanging winter sun so that outdoor entertaining can be enjoyed all year round. The Valley Series house designs are well suited to the climate of the Newcastle and Hunter Valley region.

Passive design principles also take advantage of variable cool breezes. In Newcastle and the Hunter Valley we all know what a difference it makes when a Southerly blows in after a hot Summer day. It’s a relief to feel that cool air blow through house, shifting the stale and oppressive heat of the day. With the Valley Series good ventilation is evident in each of the floor plans as the flow of air can be channeled through the house from the front to the back. Louvre windows can also be strategically incorporated into the house design to draw cool air through the home.

In contrast, it’s just as important to minimize unwelcome draughts in cooler months. Valley Homes uses only high quality doors and windows that meet the mandatory minimum specification ( AS 2047) which means they have been tested for maximum deflection under wind pressure, air leakage, and water penetration resistance. Top quality glazing and insulation contributes to an energy efficient home.

Climate matters

One of the key factors in applying passive design principles is understanding the local climate. Australia has eight main climate zones specified by the National Construction Code and it’s important to understand that different passive design strategies suit different climates. When you build a new house ensure it’s designed to suit your climate zone.

Choose a local builder that ‘gets it’

This is a great reason to choose a Newcastle builder like Valley Homes. Working in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley for over 50 years, we know the local climate and we’re aware of the ways in which it’s changing. We know that great architecture and passive design principles can make a huge difference to the quality of construction as well as quality of living. We also understand that when clients choose to build a new house they expect it to also be an energy efficient home. Valley Homes is the local home builder with the experience to meet all these needs and your expectations – contact us today to find out more.

Dual Occupancy Newcastle

Factoring all costs building a new home or investment


How does the construction boom effect my home build?

Let’s start with the good news: Australia is going through a construction boom. As of February 2022 there were 18,448 applications for the HomeBuilder grant that the Australian Government had established during the pandemic to encourage confidence in residential construction.

As a result of this encouraged construction, there’s now a lot of competition for labour and building supplies. That’s the not-so-good news. There are a variety of factors that have created this shortage of building materials and increased construction costs:

  • the ‘Black Summer’ bushfires of early 2020 saw the destruction of vast quantities of local hardwood and softwood
  • associated costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic including supply chain delays as well as labour shortages because of travel restrictions
  • constraints on international freight costs as well as production shortages resulted in a decrease in imported building materials such as steel, timber and electrical products

What’s the word across the housing industry?

There’s been ongoing concern over recent years about the challenge of building price rises and the housing industry is in agreement: costs are high and it’s hard to say when they’ll halt.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics, Producer Price Index for the period December 2021 recorded that input and output prices of construction industries had risen dramatically across the previous year. “Input prices to house construction rose 12.0%, due to Timber, board and joinery (+18.4%) and other metal products (+13.2%). Investment in the residential sector and strong activity due to government funding in infrastructure is driving demand for labour. Supply shortages and rising freight costs have resulted in upward price pressure for materials.”

In 2021, Tim Reardon, the Housing Industry Association chief economist advised that there would be ongoing delays to home building across the country due to a shortage of building materials.

Core Logic, leading provider of property data and analytics in Australia and New Zealand observed that, across Australia last year, building costs rose 7.3%. Core Logic’s research director, Tim Lawless recently shared these insights.

“With some materials such as timber and metal products reportedly remaining in short supply, there is the possibility some residential projects will be delayed or run over budget.

“With such a large rise in construction costs over the year, we could see this translating into more expensive new homes and bigger renovation costs.”

Weathering the storm

With rain from this month’s East Coast low hammering Queensland and NSW, a weather analogy might be quite appropriate: If you were to sail out of port knowing there may be storms ahead, you’d listen to the shipping news, take necessary precautions such as life jackets and most importantly you’d ensure you had an experienced skipper on board. 

A way forward

We’ve been through tough times before and the reality is: the construction of houses never stops. So, how does the home builder navigate these seemingly dark times and forge ahead? Our advice is first, arm yourself with knowledge – get informed. Reading this article is a great start! Understand the variety of current issues affecting construction costs related to building a new home to ensure you’re informed and you’re aware of the risks. 

Secondly, seek out a trustworthy and experienced builder who will communicate clearly with you and be sure you agree to a building contract that will protect all parties. It’s the life jacket for everyone.

Keeping it real

While you’re investigating it’s important to be wary of builders who are tendering on jobs at a preliminary stage without factoring any known or anticipated supplier price rises, only to lump clients with these price increases at contract stage. This approach leaves clients in a position where potentially they cannot afford to build after going through the entire pre-construction planning process. 

Valley Homes takes a different approach. Our estimators are in constant communication with our long-term suppliers and any anticipated price increases are being factored into our preliminary pricing. We also explain to clients that our preliminary pricing is subject to supplier price rises – including frames, trusses and roofing. Once the job is repriced prior to contracts being issued this becomes a fixed price contract, with the difference of any provisional sum allowances reflected in the final invoice.

How are Valley Homes addressing supply shortages?

We know that a major concern this construction boom presents for home builders is the shortage of building materials that can potentially cause delays adding to build times. Valley Homes’ longevity in the industry and loyalty over the years to our local suppliers gives us priority for supply of materials. This is a real positive for our customers.

Enjoy the benefits of experience

Valley Homes is the Hunter Valley and Newcastle builder who has weathered industry storms and not only survived but continued to thrive because we seek the perfect balance between best design practices and cost efficiency ensured by working with our local suppliers

In this current environment Valley Homes is the builder you can trust to communicate clearly with you through every stage of the development.

If you have any further questions about the current building climate – Call us today and let Valley Homes help you navigate your way through the process of building a new home.

Find out more

Read the HIA guide on why your house is taking longer to build and is costing more

Download HIA guide on current build times and rising costs

Home investment property development goals



Launch the new year by making inspired plans and property goals that set the tone for your financial future. The last few years have left us feeling like we’ve been living though the film, Groundhog Day – we all desperately need to press that re-set button and set our sights ahead.

For your benefit, our team has researched all the 2022 trends to provide you with a wealth of ideas and all the inspiration to make this year a time to refresh at home and plant the seeds for your building and investing ambitions.

Wellbeing – the key focus for 2022

Living in a time of COVID 19 has increased the need to sustain our mental and physical wellbeing, and as we’re still spending a vast majority of our time at home, we need to consider how best we can see this integrated into house design principles.

Biophilic design is all about incorporating nature into our homes. Think large windows opening to courtyard gardens and atriums, skylights to changing cloudscapes, flourishing indoor plants, green walls cascading with foliage. Views and vignettes that invite your eyes and mind to rest. Don’t worry if you’re not a green thumb – it’s not all about plants! Read on for more inspiration.

Valley Homes acreage builder Newcastle

Bring the outdoors in

With strict lockdowns having lifted, people have relished being in the great outdoors and, as a result of this, the trend is to surround ourselves with natural fibres and textures. Terracotta tiles from the patio and entertainment area will lead indoors to living spaces and kitchens. Stone benches and timber finishes are also set to feature more in this year’s new home designs. Be a little playful with textures by integrating organic shapes into your interior design from curves in furniture and benches to collections of shapely stones and shells.

When it comes to the paintwork, 2022 paint trends favour warmer, earthy tones of soft creams and pale blushes instead of the previously popular greys and whites. Blue has been bumped from star palette position with green now the trending colour for 2022. That’s every shade from deep, restful jade to energising lime, sophisticated emerald, Tuscan olive and fresh mint.

There’s a beneficial association with the colour green because it’s predominant in the natural environment. Green brings to mind all the positives we associate with nature: growth, Spring, freshness and renewal which in turn evokes a sense of peace and calm.

Whether we’re working or playing at home, biophilic principles help reduce stress, create a sense of restful ease and wellbeing.

green palette nature interior

Sustainability is key

More than a trend, sustainability is a priority, and this is not only reflected in the choice of materials used in new home designs. For many looking to build a new home there’s a strong desire is to contract a local builder who works with local suppliers thus reducing transport and creating a smaller carbon footprint. Throughout Newcastle and the Hunter Valley region, Valley Homes has long standing supplier connections and a reputation for experience and expertise in designing and building energy efficient homes.

Multi-functional spaces

Working from home continues to be a big part of our lives in 2022. After establishing offices and study zones throughout our houses, there’s now an increased demand for designing more adaptable spaces. People want to feel like they can escape the office – at home – and so we’re seeing more visual separation in shared spaces. Divider tactics are making good use of vertical space with shelving and ladders around doors and within the room. Library nooks, music hubs and quiet spaces to nurture the soul are also 2022 trends.

Valley Homes multi unit townhouse development Kahibah Newcastle

Get the ball rolling on your property goals

Big ideas like these require the right builder who really understands the cost to a build house or build an investment property. Whatever your budget, nothing excites the team at Valley Homes more than working with a customer’s new home designs to create the house of their dreams. Valley Homes have been building across the Hunter Valley, Port Stephens and Newcastle and we have 50 years of experience and expertise to share.

With wellbeing the top theme for 2022 – let Valley Homes take every care of you and your New Year home and property development goals.

Home investment property development gials

Valley Homes Port Stephens Newcastle Maitland builder



As we race to the end of another year, working our way through those gift lists, handing round the mince pies and hanging out for that much needed holiday, it’s time to pause and reflect on 2021 – we’ve had plenty to celebrate!

Despite the ongoing challenges of a second year with Covid, Valley Homes has come through looking pretty fresh – as you’ve probably noticed with our new website and brand rollout! What’s more, this year has been full of inspiring new ideas from our Acreage designs to our new Valley Series. And if that wasn’t enough, we also celebrated our half century – 50 years building the Hunter!

We’ve had plenty of great insights to share with you so let’s review the highlights of 2021 as we count down our five most popular articles… 

Digger demolishing a house knockdown rebuild Valley Homes

5. We asked the big question: to demolish or not? Then we offered you a range of answers…

There are a multitude of benefits that come with a knockdown rebuild. With a blank canvas, or in this case, a clear block of land, you are free to design your dream home as well as address the issue of energy efficiency which is more economically achieved with a new house than by attempting to renovate or retro-fit an old weatherboard. With the right team, a knockdown can be a straightforward solution to the limitations of an existing property.

A knockdown rebuild also creates the opportunity to fully maximise the potential of your property with the option of subdividing and the construction of a duplex or dual occupancy. Which leads us onto our next hot topic!

Backyard dual occupancy build sub divide

4. It’s all about perspective

Sometimes it’s worth looking at the ‘everyday’ through a different lens before you can see its full potential. So, in our fourth most popular article, we asked the question: Are you sitting on your own buried treasure? This had readers thinking about the untapped value of their property and whether it was possible to sub divide. To build on your own land may involve a major development such as dual occupancy or a more modest construction such as a granny flat. Either way, having a rent-paying tenant provides a great return on the investment.

As you try and keep the lawn green this summer, maybe ask yourself if you could be making better use of the space to increase your land value. Valley Homes’ team of experts can provide great designs and ensure any development is economical and meets with council regulations. We have a wealth of inspiring and practical ideas if you want to invest in your own backyard!

Finding the right builder bring your own plans

3. Trust: finding the right builder

Asking all the right questions and coming up with an abundance of really great answers, our third most popular article focused on finding the right builder for your house design. While Valley Homes has a diverse range of awesome home plans and pricing, we also have extensive experience working with local architects. So, if you want to find the right builder to work alongside your chosen draftsman or architect to build your dream home, call Valley Homes.

The Valley Series modular flexible home designs

2. Designs to Inspire: The Valley Series

For the house builder seeking inspiration in 2021 they found it in our Valley Series featuring a range of modular floor plans with modern and heritage facades. The beauty of the Valley Series is the option to mix and match facades and rear designs to create a unique home design to suit your lifestyle. Valley Homes appreciate that the cost build a new home needs to match every budget. That’s why our house plans and pricing are the answer for every home builder.

Drum role please for Number 1…

BulBul duplex design Hunter Valley

It’s no surprise that our most popular article of 2021 was ‘Double the Value with a Duplex’. In fact, it’s the third year running that the subject of duplexes has come in at number one. The idea of maximising the potential of a single block of land as well as creating regular income, from an investment property has broad appeal with first time buyers, investor builders, and developers. Duplex builders are also making the most of councils’ enthusiasm for developments that create affordable housing in response to increasing urban density across New South Wales.

This article will take you through the benefits of duplexes as well as a great list to consider before you embark on the build, including the issues of council laws and duplex build costs.

When it comes to finding a great duplex builder, look no further than Valley Homes. Our duplex plans and prices are second to none and our team can take you through every step of the process from the design to council applications.

What’s on your Wish list?

So, raise a glass (or mince pie) to 2021 and celebrate the fact that we made it! Through all the lockdowns and the delays we’ve got every reason to look to 2022 with renewed optimism. Valley Homes will have more inspiration, great design and service in store for the new year – don’t forget to put us on your home and investing wish list and get in touch!