Life Beyond Engineered Stone


Once hailed as a darling of interior design, engineered stone is renowned for its durability and low maintenance, celebrated as the perfect surface for kitchen benches and bathroom inclusions. Lately, it’s time in the limelight has been cast into shadow with silica dust proving to be hazardous enough for the government to introduce strict regulations on its use.

A ban on the manufacture, supply, processing and installation of engineered stone bench tops, panels and slabs comes into effect from 1st July 2024 – but don’t panic – it won’t mean a return to those 1970s bright orange laminate benchtop trends! Our friends at YDL Stone have been working hard on a new range of alternative stone products that we’re proud to feature this month. Read on to find out more…

Firstly, why the ban on Engineered Stone?

Rates of silicosis and silica-related diseases in Australian workers have risen substantially in recent years, with a disproportionate number of diagnoses in engineered stone workers. It was a lengthy and tireless campaign supported by doctors, trade unions and workers that highlighted the link between these severe illnesses and silica dust from the processing of engineered stone. With this evidence exposed the government introduced new regulations including banning the use of engineered stone to protect Australian workers from developing silicosis and other serious lung diseases.

Making the tough but necessary transition

Many engineered building products contain Crystalline silica, a naturally occurring mineral found in rocks, sand and clay, widely used in the creation of composite stone to fabricate bathroom benches and kitchen countertops since the 1960’s. Sounds versatile, right? The danger lies in the airborne dust released when materials or products containing silica are cut, sanded or drilled (think 100th the size of a grain of sand). This fine dust can be breathed in without even knowing. Depending on the length of exposure, health effects can include lung cancer and silicosis. For the protection of workers, massive change within the industry is imperative. From July 1st there will be appropriate exceptions for engineered stone products with negligible trace levels of crystalline silica (under 1%).

Trusted suppliers leading the charge on innovation

As they say, necessity is the mother of all invention – and industry leaders YDL Stone have been hard at work developing an innovative range that meets the strictest safety regulations without compromising on style. Thanks to their appealing colour range and competitive pricing YDL Stone has been one of Valley Homes trusted suppliers of low-silica engineered stone, most recently on the construction of Tallowood Medowie

YDL Stone’s commitment to transparency and compliance ensures that their stone products not only meet but exceed regulatory standards, setting a benchmark for sustainability in the industry. YDL Stone has been adapting to the challenges of the change in legislation and since before the announcement of the ban they’ve been making the transition from their low-silica engineered stone to their Crystalline silica-free range.

Stepping up with Crystalline Silica-free 

The YDL Stone Crystalline Silica-free range launching in the second quarter of 2024 promises over 40 colours to suit all tastes, designs and budgets. YDL offers the largest colour range in the industry including marble look and fine-veined stone. We think this Crystalline Silica-free range is stunning and certain to be one of the most sought-after and celebrated interior design trends this year.

YDL Stone’s quality is supported by substantial credentials. The Crystalline Silica-free range is accredited and lab tested by National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) in Australia – with the YDL Stone range passed with flying colours, results show less than 1% crystalline silica.

Despite changes to the product’s composition, YDL Stone’s durability remains uncompromised. The range is heat and stain resistant making it an ideal low maintenance option for kitchen benchtops and splash backs.

YDL Stone is dedicated to being at the forefront of market trends by consistently delivering exceptional craftsmanship while covering latest design trends from deluxe to more budget friendly.

We’re here to guide you through the change

The engineered stone ban in Australia has brought much needed change to the industry but it will require a period of adjustment. During such times you need the assurance of an experienced builder to help you navigate the changes that apply to your project. Whether your next build is a multi-unit development or your dream home Valley Homes has over 50 years of design and craftsmanship to offer. Build with confidence – call us today.

Images courtesy of YDL Stone | Instagram: @ydlstoneau

Gillieston Heights NSW

Solving the land shortage dilemma with custom duplex design


A viable block of land is the duplex builder’s holy grail but it’s particularly challenging at the moment with concerns about shortages of land in the Hunter Valley. In this article we explore the benefits of unusual blocks, custom duplex design and looking beyond the most populated areas of the Hunter Valley to find pockets of potential just waiting for your next property development.

The advantages of building a duplex

When it comes to property investment a duplex is a great option for both the experienced investor and the novice. It can double the equity of your property without doubling the investment cost and it gives you the choice to either rent out and benefit from the rental income or sell the properties for a quick and reliable return. A duplex also gives you the option of being a live-in investor. For strong returns at relatively low risk it’s definitely worth looking to build a duplex.

duplex fingal bay valley homes port stephens builder

Where to build?

With our ageing population keen to downsize and young ones eager to own their own property, the demand for smaller, affordable homes in the Newcastle and the Hunter Valley region continues to grow increasing opportunities for the wise investor to build a duplex. But where are the best places of future growth for the duplex builder to consider for their property development?


Close to the Hunter Valley wineries, and the olive groves of Lovedale and Rothbury, Lochinvar offers rural splendour within easy reach of country town convenience. With the New England highway as a main artery through Lochinvar it’s only a 10 minute drive into Maitland or 25 minutes in the opposite direction to Singleton. Its close proximity to the Hunter Expressway means you can also be in Newcastle within 45 mins. These options are great selling points for potential residents working in the region. Whether you choose to sell your property development in its entirety or you opt to rent out your duplex, a property investment in Lochinvar provides great opportunities.


Not far from Lochinvar is the growing township of Farley, another great spot to source a block of land. Farley has a semi-rural feel while offering the benefits of local shopping centres, homemaker outlets, quality schooling and recreation facilities in the nearby suburbs of Rutherford, Lochinvar and Maitland. It’s an affordable area for those stepping onto the property ladder so there would be no shortage of purchasers or renters interested in your property development.


Once known as East Greta but renamed Gillieston Heights, in honour of former Maitland Mayor John Gillies, is a fast expanding suburb. Only 5kms from Maitland’s CBD, Gillieston Heights has experienced rapid population growth as part of Maitland City Council’s urban settlement strategy. With its Community Hub and family focus, growth is set to continue here ensuring a property investment in Gillieston Heights as a wise choice.

​​It’s not perfect but it might be the perfect block of land for you

Finding an affordable block of land sometimes requires a duplex builder to compromise on what they had originally envisioned for their investment property and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, by applying a flexible attitude it’s possible to increase the land value by taking advantage of its particular shape.  

A custom duplex design can be a great solution to an unusually shaped block of land. Creative design makes all the difference to increasing the land value and taking advantage of its best features whether it’s the aspect or the slope of the land. 

For example, a narrow block of land can present limitations when designing a family home but may accommodate a two storey custom duplex design. Making the most of its northern aspect to increase its solar passive advantage for both levels as well as designing to include cross breezes for cooling in the summer months can also be considered as part of effective design with a narrow block.

The increased street exposure makes some home builders reluctant to consider a corner block However, the corner block can be especially ideal for a custom duplex design as it allows for dual frontage to the two separate dwellings. Building two separate driveways increases and protects each resident’s privacy. It also enhances the individual aspect of each property which can increase street appeal and development value.

Adamstown multi unit development Valley Homes
duplex fingal bay valley homes port stephens builder

Experts in custom duplex design 

If you’re keen to build a duplex in Newcastle or the Hunter Valley but you’re faced with the challenge of an unusual block of land Valley Homes can provide custom duplex design as well as a variety of high-quality single and double storey duplex plans available to suit a range of budgets and property sizes. Valley Homes has the skill and expertise to help you capitalise on your block of land and build a duplex to fit your property development vision. Call us today.

Bring your own multi-unit development plans


So, you’ve set your sights on an investment development and, being a hands-on investor, you’ve made the decision to engage an architect or draftsperson to design your project and manage the planning process through council. The main advantage of this choice, of course, is that you’re in the driver’s seat; you own the plans and can then manage the tendering process with a selection of builders of your choice. 

It also ensures you have a detailed understanding of your project. Most importantly it gives you greater control of the overall design to suit the location and target market you are aiming to sell to.

If this approach appeals to your style of property investing, read on to learn more about the benefits of getting your plans ready before presenting them to the builder of your choice.

Creative freedom

Some developers have a very specific design in mind and engage an architect to draw up their plans. By nominating to work with either a draftsperson or architect to design your multi-unit development you’re free to choose the architecture and design features that fit your vision rather than being tied to set floor plans that may be offered by a project builder. Your block of land may also require a site-specific design and that’s where your architect or draftsperson can tailor plans to take advantage of the aspect, accommodate the slope of the land, and meet local area planning requirements such as necessary setbacks and private open spaces for example.

Preparing for your multi-unit development build

Before engaging your development builder there’s a long list of preparatory requirements to work through. You will need to prepare and submit the development application to Council.  A contour & detail survey, stormwater engineering, landscaping plan, soil report, a Statement of Environmental Effects (SoEE) and a draft subdivision plan will also be needed to ensure your block of land is appropriate for the build. Once the Development Consent has been issued by council, the slab and structural engineering ii prepared, Council’s developer contributions are paid and it is time to lodge the Construction Certificate application via a private certifier.

Experienced developers often choose to engage a builder once they have done all these preliminary works themselves or via their architect/draftsperson, engineer and surveyor thereby saving themselves the associated fees that come with having a builder manage this preliminary works process for them.  It also allows the developer the freedom to select the builder of their choice rather than being locked in with a designer/builder.

A development builder for your sized project

Once you’ve secured all necessary council approvals and certificates and you’ve got finance approval, your next challenge is to find an experienced builder in the Hunter Valley, Newcastle or Port Stephens. You need a builder you can trust with a long standing reputation.

With over 50 years experience in the construction industry working on a vast range of multi-unit developments from small private projects through to large-scale developments Valley Homes can step in with a formal tender for the construction of your investment development.

Valley Homes has secured major multi-housing projects for the Commonwealth Department of Housing and Construction, the NSW Department of Housing, and more recently, Defence Housing Australia.

Valley Homes is also the preferred builder of Tallowood Medowie in Port Stephens, an over-55s complex offering beautiful homes and luxury amenities. A multi-unit development of 216 dwellings already constructed, Tallowood Medowie, is a great example of resort style living featuring quality architecture and thoughtful design. 

Duplex or Dual Occupancy

Of course, your investment property may be a more modest development such as a duplex or dual occupancy.  A relatively low risk development, a dual occupancy is ideal for a range of developers including experienced investors, owner-occupiers, and even first home buyers. So too, a duplex can double the equity in your property without doubling the investment cost, so you can secure strong returns with relatively low risk. 

For some the decision to do a knockdown-rebuild on their existing block can make better use of the land. By subdividing the block it’s possible to create value, boost your income, reduce maintenance or even improve housing affordability. When the options are there,Valley Homes has the expertise to bring your investment development plans to fruition.

When you’re ready to team up

If you have your own plans and want to build new units, a dual occupancy or duplex and you’re looking for an experienced builder in the Hunter Valley, Newcastle or Port Stephens for your multi-unit development, then give Valley Homes a call today. We’re happy to work with your plans. No matter how large or small your investment development is, we’re the ideal partner to help you to achieve your development objectives. 

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
Acreage hunter valley builder land property
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

Wirripang duplex design builder hunter Valley newcastle nsw

Savvy duplex strategies to set you up for life


Whether you’re dreaming of an affordable first home, contemplating downsizing, or perhaps you’re curious about building to invest in the property market, a duplex could be the perfect solution to any one of these scenarios.

Something for everyone

With the nationwide demand for more diverse and affordable housing options – and local councils encouraging infill housing as part of their housing strategies – there has never been a better time to consider the exciting advantages of a duplex property investment strategy. From the experienced investor to the first-time home builder or those looking for additional income in their retirement.

Duplex basics

For those new to the concept, a duplex is two separate homes or units within one structure. Duplex designs include a shared common central wall but have their own entrances and amenities. These two dwellings can either exist on one land title and be owned and sold together, or exist on separate titles and be individually owned and sold. 

One of the obvious benefits of a duplex is that it maximises the potential of the land.  Other advantages of building a duplex are that building costs are reduced, so too the stamp duty, and insurance costs. 

Home Builders Hunter Valley

The many possibilities

If you’re keen to build an investment property as either a first-time or experienced property investor, a duplex is a great option to consider. If generating investment income is your focus a duplex offers double your rental income earning potential when you choose to rent out both units.

For the first time buyer, a duplex allows you to build to live in one dwelling while renting out the second to achieve an ongoing return. The other choice is to sell the second dwelling after a period of time to create cash flow or reduce the mortgage of the unit you live in.

If you build a Torrens title duplex, you’re effectively subdividing your single block into 2 separate lots with separate services therefore increasing the value of your investment immediately.  A strata title subdivision also allows you to sell each unit separately but both units share services and often common land.  

The duplex downsize strategy

For those retirees ready to say goodbye to the endless maintenance that comes with the old family home and garden, a duplex can be a great way to downsize. The sale of the family home can be committed to a duplex property investment strategy. There are plenty of duplex designs allowing you to plan a home to suit your retirement lifestyle. The second dwelling could be sold to turn a profit or be rented out to generate an income. 

Tax advantages

There’s also an array of tax benefits that come with a duplex property investment strategy right from the first year of building. Over the years, you can claim ‘tax depreciation’ in the form of various deductions, including things like maintenance and repairs, insurance, property management fees and water charges. The list is extensive so it’s wise to seek the advice of a financial advisor to ensure you get the best return on investment.

Retirement on your own land duplex dual occupancy Hunter Valley

Have a clear investment strategy

While there’s a multitude of benefits that come with building a duplex, the most important first step is to determine whether your financial situation matches your duplex property investment strategy

A duplex can offer a high growth and high yield investment, but with that comes a higher financial commitment than just buying an existing house or even a house and land package. A duplex build might require you to service a large loan so you need to be realistic as to how far you can stretch your finances.

In recent years, across the construction industry, home builders and investors have had to face the reality of significant increases in building prices. On top of this, there’s been the added strain of rising interest rates increasing monthly loan repayments. It’s crucial to be realistic about how far you can stretch yourself when choosing to build to invest and remember that the money you’ll earn from renting out your property won’t come until that property is built so ensure you have a good buffer, and then add a bit more just to cover the unexpected.

Be clear on where you need further information and seek support. 

Find the right builder to bring your duplex dreams to life

Once you’ve done your research, arranged your finances and you’re ready to build an investment property the next step is to find a recognised duplex builder with a range of duplex designs to suit your budget and block of land.

Of all the duplex builders Newcastle has on offer, Valley Homes is the one with over 50 years experience in the construction industry and a trustworthy reputation to match. Valley Homes has the knowledge and experience to ensure your build will meet local council regulations and zoning. 

Valley Homes’ duplex designs are diverse and fully customisable, can be single or double-storey, and can accommodate a range of block sizes. We’re here to help you find the best strategy for building a duplex that you can be proud of. Contact us today.

Note: The information provided in this article is general in nature and does not consider your individual financial situation, so be sure to understand any tax implications and consult your accountant for further advice. 

Shoreline Villas Tea Gardens multi unit builder Port Stephens

Shoreline Villas: where lifestyle meets demand


Light-filled homes located in a peaceful town surrounded by bushland and water with the benefits of the city only an hour’s drive away are what sells. And that’s why  Shoreline Villas have proven to be exactly what buyers are looking for. In a region where housing demand is rising, it’s crucial for investors interested in multi-unit development to partner with an experienced construction company. Shoreline Villas are the perfect case in point, demonstrating why reliable partnerships are vital in today’s property market.

Tea Gardens, the hidden coastal gem

Shoreline Villas is situated in the up and coming area of Tea Gardens. As the southern gateway to the spectacular Barrington Coast Tea Gardens is also described by some as a playground for the rich and ‘anonymously famous’ – a place they can keep a low profile, with the privacy of going largely unnoticed while enjoying the best lifestyle Port Stephens has to offer.  

Across the water from Nelson Bay, this beautiful riverside town provides the space to get about with ease while pursuing the quiet pleasures of life from waterside strolls to fishing, kayaking and boating. There are plenty of cycling paths to explore or you can cross over the ‘singing bridge’ that spans the Myall River to enjoy more opportunities for exercise and socialising at Hawks Nest Golf Club. 

For those with a passion for creativity, the natural environment is pure inspiration with waterside vistas, and an abundance of flora and fauna. It’s no wonder that a number of award-winning photographers, artists and historians have chosen to settle in this inspiring location. Tea Gardens has a permanent gallery that hosts regular exhibitions and events. 

While it’s a commutable drive to Newcastle, providing easy access to city services, Tea Gardens is also within reach of the beautiful Myall Lakes.

If you’re looking for property development opportunities in Port Stephens, detour away from the tourists and the traffic on the east side of the bay and take a look at Tea Gardens and the surrounding areas for development opportunities.

Shoreline Villas Tea Gardens multi unit builder Port Stephens

Image from Visit NSW

The Shoreline Villas appeal

Shoreline Villas have been thoughtfully designed with every consideration for effortless flow and efficient use. Each home impresses with its stylish and contemporary architecture, timeless Hamptons themed design and landscaped gardens. With generous 2.7m ceiling heights, these homes are light-filled and airy from the front entrance to the generous alfresco area.

Each home includes a designer styled kitchen and also features world leading, in-home technology designed to make life easier, safer and smarter, from remote control of home security to temperature setting via your mobile device — from anywhere in the world!

What’s more, Shoreline Villas has been created with ‘future proof‘ living in mind. Residents can settle into their home knowing they’ll never need to move again. The master bedroom is located on the ground floor and there’s plenty of room for visiting family and guests.

Ease of living is guaranteed with modern medical facilities, shops, cafes and supermarkets all conveniently located nearby.

Shoreline Villas Tea Gardens multi unit builder Port Stephens
Shoreline Villas Tea Gardens multi unit builder Port Stephens

Sheargold vision and excellence

One of NSW leading property developers, Sheargold are UDIA (Urban Development Institute of Australia) award winning developers. For over 50 years Sheargold have developed, owned and managed property across all sectors with the purpose of creating inspiring spaces, whether these be new communities, homes or work places.The Sheargold vision is people-centred and their values focus on exceeding exceptions, delivering with integrity, and creating the future.

“The spaces we develop, own and manage will be influential and significant parts of our customers’ lives for many, many years to come. Therefore we have a long term outlook in our decision making that seeks to provide spaces that will look as good in 50 years time as they do now as well as understanding future trends and incorporating these into our spaces.”

The perfect team 

With quality construction and craftsmanship a priority, it’s no surprise that Sheargold chose Valley Homes above all the other Port Stephens builders. Sharing the same values and philosophy ensured they’d be a winning team. In fact, confidence in this project has them set to enter Shoreline Villas into the next HIA awards – under the Multiple Dwelling category. 

Designed in collaboration with a leading architect to the highest design standards, Valley Homes constructed the Tea Gardens development of ten freehold title homes in about six months. Everything about each property speaks quality and attention to detail.

Shoreline Villas Tea Gardens multi unit builder Port Stephens

A region of promise and growth

The sales uptake during construction of Shoreline Villas was especially encouraging and confirmed to Valley Homes that there are certainly enthusiastic buyers for homes and developments in this area. 

If you’re searching for a Port Stephens builder to construct your multi unit development or investment property, take a look at the Valley Homes’ diverse portfolio – including large scale developments such as Tallowood Medowie, and quality housing projects such as DHA Wirraway Estate. Now is a great time to meet the demand by planning and building beautiful homes with one of the regions most experienced construction companiesCall us today.

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.

Tallowood Medowie retire over 55s Valley Homes multi unit builder

Tallowood Medowie: Project update


Retirement is a chapter of life that provides an opportunity to really come alive. So, imagine enjoying over 55s living in a location that reflects this sense of openness and possibilities. Tallowood Medowie, was created with this in mind. Thoughtfully designed, Tallowood offers resort living set in a beautiful landscape, conveniently located near shops, cafes and services.

Retire in style

Tallowood Medowie was developed for contemporary retirement lifestyle. Planning and pre-construction began in 2017 then momentum increased with construction in 2020 and 80 homes were soon available. Those savvy retirees that got in early have helped establish the Tallowood over 55s community and are a great advertisement for how to enjoy resort living.  Residents talk about how much they benefit from the social connectedness that comes with community living. A wealth of social opportunities make it easy to meet new friends and form meaningful relationships, contributing to a sense of belonging and wellbeing. 

Tallowood Medowie retire over 55s Valley Homes multi unit builder

Home sweet home

So often when people think of retirement villages, clusters of tightly-set pokey units are often what come to mind. In contrast, Tallowood offers dynamic living options to suit a variety of lifestyles and budgets. All homes are architecturally designed to maximise space and light and they’re finished to the highest quality. These are houses you can be proud to call home. 

There are a range of functional and flowing floor plans to choose from which feature an open-plan kitchen and generous living spaces. Each property has timber floors, an alfresco entertainment area as well as a choice of garage size to suit your lifestyle. Should the desire to travel take you on the road or to the skies you can confidently lock up your home knowing it will be safe and secure.

Most importantly, these houses are the blank canvas upon which you can add your own personal style and taste.

Tallowood Medowie retire over 55s Valley Homes multi unit builder

Could Tallowood be your new home?

Imagine sitting with friends around the firepit taking in the smell of the bush while gazing up at the night sky. Or picture yourself enjoying a meal in the country club and reading by the open fire in winter.

For those keen to get active and stay fit there’s a wellness centre, both indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna and a spa. Everything is tailored for the over 55s community’s needs and interests – even the gym is equipped with pneumatic technology for safer resistance training. Tallowood is the perfect marriage of retirement lifestyle and resort living with a diverse mix of community facilities and activities so there’s something to tempt everyone.

At home in nature

The natural environment is a key factor in the success of the Tallowood design. The architecture fits effortlessly into the landscape creating flow and serenity. Tallowood over 55’s living encourages an active and healthy lifestyle that allows you to connect with the environment whether that’s while fishing by the lake or walking in the surrounding parkland. In addition to this, the natural beauty and recreational opportunities of Port Stephens and Newcastle are only a short distance away.

74 meticulously designed homes are currently under construction and 71 homes remain in the project so now is the right time to consider a move to Tallowood Medowie if you don’t want to miss out.

Developed and built with community in mind

Large scale development has long been a feature of the Valley Homes’ portfolio and regular clients include Defence Housing Australia and Property Bloom Pty Ltd. Time and again, Valley Homes has proven to be the construction company that can be relied upon to complete the work on time and to budget. With extensive project management experience on large scale projects Valley Homes works with developers to realise their vision for homes and communities and Tallowood is an excellent example of this type of property development. Valley Homes is proud to be the Port Stephen’s builder making Tallowood the new home for the over 55s community in the Newcastle and Port Stephens region. With the project set to be completed in 2024 now is the right time to take a look at the opportunity for resort living.

Tallowood Medowie retire over 55s Valley Homes multi unit builder

Come and see for yourself

If you’re seriously thinking about downsizing to enjoy a maintenance free property in your retirement while embracing a social and healthy lifestyle then it’s definitely worth booking a personalised appointment to visit the Tallowood Medowie Display Suite. There’s a dedicated team ready to answer all your questions and offer advice on choosing the home that’s right for you. In fact, you’ll be supported through the whole experience of making the move to Tallowood. 

As one very happy resident advises, ‘Come and see it for yourself. Talk to the people and have a look around. You soon will see why Tallowood is the best choice.’ You might even wonder why it took you so long.

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.

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!

Valley Homes Duplex

Size matters: duplex, triplex, apartments, single or two story?


The demand for diverse and affordable housing in the Newcastle region brings increased opportunities for investment in multi-unit development. By choosing to sub-divide your block of land and build multiple dwellings you add value to that land. Everyone needs a place to live so building affordable units in a suburb zoned for multi-unit development is a win-win. 

Whether to build a duplex, triplex, townhouses or an apartment block that’s single or double story (or more!), will be determined by a multitude of factors: the size of your block of land, the council regulations, the amount of finance you can secure and most importantly the property development strategy that meets your investment goals. So, if multi-unit development is something you’re keen to pursue, read on.

Valley Homes townhouse development Wallsend
Valley Homes townhouse development Wallsend kitchen

Finance and investment strategy go hand in hand

When considering a multi-unit development, a good place to start is to ask yourself what sort of return you want on your investment. You also need to determine your long and short term goals. 

Building with the intention of renting out units will provide rental income to cover the majority, or possibly all, of your outgoing costs. There are also potential tax benefits to renting out units. Various expenses can be claimed from maintenance and property management fees to property depreciation and insurances. Renting out units can be a great long term plan but it is a huge and ongoing responsibility. If you don’t want the commitment of being a landlord then your objective will be to sell all units after construction in order to turn a profit.

Naturally there’s always the middle ground of keeping one unit to rent and then sell the rest. As stated, a tenanted property can often pay for itself. You may even decide to keep one to live in.  Some families also find that building multiple dwellings on their block of land is a great way to enjoy cross-generational living. With grandparents in an adjoining townhouse or duplex it’s a multi-unit development that combines lifestyle and investment.

It’s important to be aware of the process to sub-divide your block of land and secure a separate title for each lot. This extensive and complex procedure precedes the build of your multi-unit development. Involving council, surveyors and solicitors makes it a lengthy procedure to factor into your project timeframe.

Finance: what else to consider

When making an application to finance your multi-unit development remember banks will only fund a proportion of the end value of the project and some may actually want 100 per cent of your multi-unit development sold in advance. Therefore, you need to have contracts locked in before the bank will give you any money.

It’s also important to factor in funds for infrastructure, including surveys, road works, and connecting power to the lot. Generally banks will not lend you the money for these necessities. As with any property development strategy it’s crucial to include a financial buffer.

Multiple dwelling project builder
Best Home Builders Hunter Valley
duplex fingal bay valley homes port stephens builder

How many and what types of units?

First time investors are wise to curb their ambition and start with a modest multi-unit development in order to gain the confidence of their lender. With regard to finance it’s worth noting that a track record of having done any previous development will certainly help secure the necessary funds. By having completed a substantial renovation or a simple subdivision you’ll have some experience to show to your financier.

Across Newcastle there are many large blocks of land zoned as ‘medium density residential’ where building multiple dwellings is not only appropriate but encouraged. Even a block of land in suburbs zoned as ‘low density’ is perfectly suited to smaller developments such as dual occupancy. 

Factors such as council regulations, the size of the block of land,  site orientation and shadowing on neighbouring properties, space for vehicles and the slope of the land will also determine council approval on the height and size of your duplex or townhouses.

There are also plenty of opportunities for the more ambitious new suburb builder. Both new and experienced developers are investing in building multiple dwellings in new housing developments in Newcastle and throughout the Hunter.  

For those who take the time to thoroughly research the market and their chosen area to build as well as enlist the support of an experienced builder, anything’s possible.

Choose an experienced development builder

There are plenty of construction companies who can build your multi-unit development but it’s advantageous to choose one that has years of building experience and is familiar with the relevant council regulations

With over fifty years experience,Valley Homes’ has an established reputation as one of the top construction companies in Newcastle and the Hunter. We are the Newcastle builder to take you through the whole process from planning to completion of the build which is a huge advantage for first time builders as well as experienced developers. For those who already have plans of their own Valley Homes can also assist with pricing your designer’s work. Whether it’s your design or ours, we love creating multi-unit developments that satisfy the dreams and financial goals of our clients.

Adamstown multi unit development Valley Homes
Konara duplex design Hunter Valley Newcastle homes investment builder

Don’t leave the process to chance, choose a builder with solid experience

For all of these reasons, experienced and novice property developers alike choose to work with Valley Homes. Why struggle to manage a project alone when you can take advantage of the expertise of the company that’s been building in Maitland and Hunter Valley for over 50 years? It’s what we love to do. Call us today.

Adamstown multi unit development Valley Homes

The right process counts when it comes to property development


The world of property development is both exciting and overwhelming depending on how you plan. Preparation is everything so this month we’re providing a snapshot of what’s involved when developing property. While you don’t need to be an expert before you start it’s helpful to understand the various stages before you speak with a builder.

Finance and feasibility

There’s great potential for turning a profit with a property development but unless you can fund the project, as well as any unexpected costs, your investment dream will become a nightmare.

Carefully factor in all costs related to each stage of the development from architect’s fees and council applications to the construction itself and then allow for a safeguard should you face any construction cost blow outs. With increasing interest rates it’s important to have enough capital to prepare for higher loan repayments as well. The wise developer is aware of the risks and prepares for them. This is especially important as we continue to move through the COVID19 pandemic and face unexpected delays to projects.

Creating a business plan is essential to determine whether your property development is going to be profitable. Educate yourself on marketing real estate. You may want to consult a buyer’s agent and negotiate prices for each unit. Remember, your objective as a property developer is to turn a profit.


Location is everything when it comes to any build but there’s a lot of additional factors to consider before purchasing land for a multi-unit property development. Even if your plan is to increase the equity of the block that your current house sits on by subdividing for dual occupancy, you need to be sure you will have a buyer or tenants for it. Do a bit of research: what are the selling points of the area? Are there good transport links to services, schools and recreational facilities?

What’s the local property market demand for duplex or triplex developments? Is your block of land in a suburb zoned for multi-unit property developments? Understand the specific requirements and limitations in relation to property development in your residential zone.

Design and Documentation

Having settled on your site, choose an architect or draftsperson to design your multi-unit property development. An engineer will also be required. Once the drawings are done they need to be submitted to council for Development Approval.

Are you ready for construction?

You need to find a builder you can trust and then agree on a contract. Be sure that your builder can demonstrate to you how they are managing the current challenges in the construction industry. Does this builder have the experience to manage the extended build times and construction costs?

Now is also the time to question whether you want to act as project manager or enlist a professional. You need to ensure the site is prepared, oversee progress and obtain certification at every stage of the build. Don’t underestimate the responsibility and stress that comes with this job!

How do the experts approach property development?

Maitland-based builder, Valley Homes has their own efficient process to offer to potential property developers.


Architectural design and drafting service


Accurate cost estimating to deliver a fixed price tender


Obtain all relevant approvals from council and relevant authorities


In-house custom inclusions & colour consultant


‘Concept to Occupation’ project management


Turn key delivery of residential construction project


Starting with their design team, Valley Homes offers architectural designs and drafting services to work with your vision as well as your particular block of land. They know how to position your multi-unit development so as to get the most out of your land.


Accurate cost estimating to deliver a fixed price tender is the next step Valley Homes takes. We appreciate the current challenges facing the construction industry and we factor in all costs so that there are no unpleasant surprises. Having long-standing relationships with our local suppliers is an added security for our customers and minimizes transportation of supplies thereby reducing costs. Every cent counts in property development!

Valley Homes townhouse development builder Wallsend


Council bureaucracy is what many new property developers dread most. Fortunately, Valley Homes can obtain all necessary approvals from council and relevant authorities. As a Newcastle and Maitland builder, Valley Homes has a thorough understanding of the local councils’ planning regulations and requirements. That knowledge is put to good use to make the process of property development so much easier for our customers.


Having settled on the design of your multi-unit property development, secured costings and ticked all the boxes for council, the Valley Homes in-house team helps select inclusions including top quality products, materials, finishes and colour schemes. We work closely with local suppliers to provide competitive prices for our customers.

Manage and build

Valley Homes offers project management to ensure every stage is completed without a hitch from concept through to construction and onto completion.  We deliver with confidence so that your investment property can bring in those anticipated returns.

Don’t leave the process to chance, choose a builder with solid experience

For all of these reasons, experienced and novice property developers alike choose to work with Valley Homes. Why struggle to manage a project alone when you can take advantage of the expertise of the company that’s been building in Maitland and Hunter Valley for over 50 years? It’s what we love to do. Call us today.

Valley Homes Duplex

Valley Homes townhouse development Wallsend

Location is key when building a townhouse


The Hunter Valley region offers something for every possible lifestyle: wide open spaces to breathe and grow, world class vineyards, close proximity to the coast, the vibrant university city of Newcastle and it’s beaches, diverse and expanding opportunities for employment, plus an easy two hour expressway drive to Sydney. The appeal of the Hunter Valley is huge and it’s no surprise that savvy investors and property developers are seeking land here for a multi unit developments

If property development is something you’ve also been considering, whether it’s a townhouse or triplex in an urban or regional setting, then this month’s blog is for you. It’s packed full of great tips on how to select the right location in the Hunter Valley.

Location is everything!

Big, bold plans like a multi unit development are something to get excited about and the wise property developer must have a clear vision about the project. Whether your goal is to sell or rent your properties, it’s important to consider who you’re building for and ensure that this is compatible with the demographics of the area in which your block of land is located.

If you’re yet to buy land for your multi unit development then take the time to visit several suburbs to determine which area meets your requirements. Here are some questions to consider as you look around:

Is there a demand for multi unit developments or are they in over-supply? Does the area offer good public transport services? If you choose to build in a rural area is there a reliable train service as an alternative to long distance driving?

Consider amenities and services: are supermarkets and health services within relatively close proximity? What sort of recreational facilities does the area offer? Is there easy access to open or green spaces? Does the neighbourhood have a friendly atmosphere? Remember, your aim is to ensure your multi unit development is marketable. 

It’s also worth considering the micro-climate of the area. By chatting to residents you can discover whether there’s a history of flooding, bushfire and drought. How has town planning responded to this, as well as mitigating the potential impact of climate change.

Are there any local sources of smells or pollution? Check for any development applications for industrial projects that could impact the area.

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Research the local council regulations

Once you’ve narrowed down your preferred area educate yourself about the local council’s planning controls. The NSW Planning Portal will help you identify a property and access the relevant council planning controls to assist you in preparing a development application. Some councils also offer pre development application assistance. It’s worth taking a look at the relevant council website and make the most of all they have on offer.

Each council has specific guidelines on the minimum size of land for subdivision, restrictions on building heights, environmental protection and zoning.

Many councils have developed character studies of suburbs, particularly older, inner city suburbs. Is your design sympathetic to the character of the neighbourhood? You have a better chance of receiving approval from both council and your neighbours by taking this into consideration.

Newcastle council has placed a large focus of its Housing Strategy on creating more diverse and affordable housing in medium density suburbs. The council recognises a need for apartments, duplexes, triplexes and townhouses in identified growth corridors and has facilitated the growth in Developments Applications accordingly. 

Does your dream match your block of land?

Once you have a clear understanding of council regulations take a realistic look at your prospective block of land. Evaluate the site for aspect, drainage, views and climate. Determine utilities accessibility and whether your land contains easements? Consider how to best maximise the land to increase it’s value. Is it better to build two three bedroom townhouses or a triplex of two bedroom units?

Consider how each dwelling can be orientated on the land to achieve effective solar access or cooling breezes. Will there be enough space for setbacks, parking, driveways and private open space?

Remember to take a look over the fence and consider if there’s potential for future development that could impact your property.

Does it add up?

Perhaps the most important point is to ensure your multi unit development is a feasible investment. After all, this is the reason you’re building in the first place. This will be determined by calculating building costs, your loan structure, the number of properties and resale value of each property. Doing your homework on the financials can potentially save you thousands in the long-term, so it’s worth doing right. In the current environment of rising interest rates and inflationary pressures on building materials, it’s crucial to consider this into your budget equation – you’ll find further information about this in our article Factoring all costs when building a new home or investment.

Get the right support

Valley Homes is in the business of designing and building top quality multi unit developments – but we can also work with any plans you may already have. We’ve been working with councils in the Hunter Valley for over 50 years and pride ourselves on keeping abreast with council processes to reduce the stress for you. Take advantage of the expertise on offer with Valley Homes and let us transform your multi unit development vision into a reality. Call us today.

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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

BulBul duplex design Hunter Valley



It’s no surprise that when it comes to property development, so many investors choose to build a duplex for their first build. The main benefit of building a duplex is that it doubles the equity of your property without doubling the investment cost, so you can secure strong returns with a relatively lower risk.

The cost to build a duplex is usually cheaper than building two houses, the build duration is less and because both dwellings are on the same block, the land costs less than two separate lots. Furthermore, you have the opportunity to enjoy dual income should you choose to rent out your new properties, or benefit from the sale of one or both of the properties.

Understandably, first time investor builders have so many questions about the duplex build process so we’d like to alleviate unnecessary fears by stepping you through each stage.

1. Are you in a strong position to invest in property development?

Before embarking on any investment it’s essential to determine the state of your finances and calculate exactly how much money you may need to borrow. It’s important to arrange pre-approval on your finance or funding, potentially with a broker that has experience securing finance for residential construction.

2. Location, location, location!

With finances secure, now you need to buy the right block of land with the following specifics required to ensure that the duplex build process goes smoothly. The ideal block for a duplex will need to be a flat block or have a slight fall to the street (ideal for stormwater drainage) with at least a 17m wide frontage. Corner blocks offer dual frontage (one unit facing each street).
Before you hand over your deposit, check with council as to whether the block is zoned for a dual occupancy development.

3. Measuring up

Arrange a Contour & Detail survey of the block via a surveyor. This captures size, dimensions, fall and location of services to the block.

4. Sales Plan

If it’s a new residential lot, or unregistered land, a sales plan of the block is initially all that’s required to start planning the build.

5. Choose a reputable and experienced builder

Make sure you do extensive research to find a local, reputable and experienced builder who you can trust to build your investment property. It’s important to contract a builder that specialises in dual occupancy developments to commence the design process. An experienced dual occupancy builder will manage the design, planning, subdivision, lodgement of development application to council, new water and sewer connection points if applicable, and Construction Certificate prior to construction commencing.

6. Pre-construction phase

Your builder will issue a Preliminary Tender based on concept plans. Once you accept this tender and commit to your builder of choice, they will proceed with preparation of the DA (Development Approval) plans and lodgement to council.

Once the DA consent is received, your builder will begin preparation of CC (Construction Certificate) plans and documents for your CC application, including slab and structural engineering plans.

7. More official business

Now’s the time to finalise selections for the kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, paint colours and finishes. Minor works plumbing will have been completed (new water and sewer connection point to the proposed 2nd lot, if the development is a Torrens title subdivision), Construction Certificate approved by a private certifier and your lender will have issued an Authority to Commence Construction notice.

The Contract Tender & building contracts are prepared when the Construction Certificate is issued and your colour selections have been finalised.

8. Now for the fun part: the build commences!

At this stage clients will be notified of their site supervisor and the project construction gets underway. The contract period for construction commences and the progress schedule includes:

  • Installation of concrete slab
  • Timber frame & trusses
  • Brickwork, windows & roof covering
  • Interior linings and mouldings
  • Completion

Note: progress claims are made via your lender at each of these stages.

9. Final business

Depending on your investment strategy, once the build is complete, you may need to:

  • Implement your insurance cover
  • Refinance the loan to take out equity, purchase a property or pay down other debt
  • Line up a real estate agent to manage the property if one or both units will be leased, or make arrangements to sell
  • Arrange a depreciation report for your tax return (if you will be leasing)

We’re here to help you through the process

With such an extensive check list it’s understandable that many first-time investors feel overwhelmed and seek the support of Valley Homes, the Hunter Valley builder with over 50 years’ experience in the building industry.

We can provide a range of a range of duplex plans can be modified to suit your budget and your block of land. The Valley Homes team even liaise with Council, manage all paperwork and applications including your Strata or Torrens title subdivision, coordinate all trade contractors and everything else in the tender to take the stress away for you and reduce the duplex build cost.

If you’re keen to get started in investment property development and want to build a duplex in either the Hunter Valley, Lake Macquarie, Newcastle or Port Stephens regions, call the local specialist Valley Homes to take you through every step of the duplex build process. We look forward to helping you step onto the property development ladder.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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With zoning allowing for more multi-dwelling housing we’ve seen a shift away from the traditional ‘one house per block’ as builders take advantage of opportunities to subdivide blocks into townhouses, duplex and triplex developments, and multiple house projects.

It’s no surprise that regional areas in NSW are experiencing growth with more people being forced out of the Sydney housing market and looking for the ease of living that comes with relocating to regions such as the Hunter Valley, Newcastle, Port Stephens and Lake Macquarie. Councils are planning for this population growth and their housing strategies are focused on ways to accommodate housing density. Their goal is to have an increase in diverse, affordable and adaptable housing. This is why savvy property developers and investors are looking to these coastal and rural areas for their next property development.

A multi unit property investment is not solely for the professionals.

You might have a generous block of land and fresh ideas to build a multiple house project – and why wouldn’t you? Many property owners are looking at ways of maximising the potential of their land. In many situations it can be more economical to build a dual occupancy or duplex than go through a major renovation. Using existing land for multiple dwellings can provide income and rental returns if done with careful consideration and reliable advice.

If you’ve made the decision to subdivide, build a townhouse, a multi-unit block or anything in the property development realm, you need to understand which  council you’ll be dealing with first to know what is and isn’t possible – and profitable. Doing your research will ensure you get council approval.

Council considerations

Council will consider a number of important factors when determining whether a block of land is suitable for subdivision. Each council has their own list which may include the following:

  • Zoning and land use objectives. For example, City of Newcastle has Renewal corridors in the suburbs of Islington, Mayfield, Hamilton, Broadmeadow and Adamstown. These are zoned for increased diverse, affordable and adaptable housing, so we’re seeing an increase in council approvals for property developments similar to inner-city areas with a mix of terraced, detached and semi-detached houses and low-rise apartment blocks.
  • Lot configuration. Councils need to ensure that the lot is physically capable of development, and will achieve the most effective use of the land. Allotment orientation helps determine solar efficiency, and there is a preference for lots to be oriented to the north to reduce overshadowing. It’s worth knowing that site conditions such as slope can also increase lot sizes and constrain future development.
  • Physical constraints need to be assessed for flooding, sea level rise, bushfires and geotechnical issues. In the Newcastle and The Hunter Valley, in particular, mine subsidence is an area of concern and requires additional approval from Subsidence Advisory NSW. So too, bushfire prone land also requires approval from the NSW Rural Fire Service.
  • Availability of public utilities (water, sewer, electricity, gas, telecommunications and roads)
  • Loss of environmental quality including the removal of vegetation or impact on watercourses.

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So what else does subdivision involve?

The process of subdividing land creates new lots of land or changes the size of the existing allotment. There are different types of subdivision and it’s worth understanding which one is applicable to your property development.

Boundary adjustment is when boundaries are changed between two or more lots of land without creating a new lot.

Torrens Title involves creating new allotments from an existing allotment. The land is divided into single lots which are individually owned by the land owner. Each newly created Torrens title will have separate utilities including water and sewer services.

Strata Title is the most commonly used form of subdivision for residential apartments, dual occupancies, townhouses, and  multi-unit developments. Strata subdivision gives ownership to individual portions of a larger property and a share of common property such as gardens and driveways.

Community Title usually refers to very large estates and involves the subdivision of land so that every lot has a separate title but also shares a common piece of land such as pool, BBQs, driveway and gardens.

Feeling bamboozled? Valley Homes can make the process easier for you

Subdivision can seem like an overwhelming undertaking and that’s why a lot of smart investors and developers take advantage of Valley Homes’ expertise and experience. The Valley Homes management team works with highly experienced support staff and draws on essential relationships with local surveyors, certifiers, town planners and engineers. Valley Homes builds only in the Hunter Valley, Newcastle, Port Stephens and Lake Macquarie, and we know council regulations inside out! Engaging a well- established, local project builder is a sure way to obtain relevant council approval and guarantee that the subdivision of your property goes smoothly.

Call Valley Homes and let us help you activate your property development.