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.

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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.

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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.