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Call of the country | The West Australian

For first homebuyers, moving away from the big smoke to build a new home further afield is becoming increasingly common because of the number of financial incentives available.

Speaking with New Homes, Milford Homes Building and Design Services Manager Peter Harding said the government’s housing stimulus package had motivated a lot of first-time buyers to start the homebuilding process, particularly in rural and regional areas.

“Obviously the current grants are helping first homebuyers break into the housing market, but depending on what the government decides to do in regards to extending the construction timeframes, it might become slightly trickier for more people to purchase land and access those grants within the current timeframe,” he said.

Discussing the major drawcards associated with building in rural Western Australia, Mr Harding said it ultimately boiled down to cost.

“From my opinion, the major drawcard associated with building in rural WA is the cost,” he said.

“While there are a few first homebuyers who have always dreamt of living in the country or rural areas, most first-time buyers will end up moving to these areas because they can purchase a decent-sized lot at an affordable price.

“Spots like Bindoon, Chittering and even further south like North Dandalup, appeal to this demographic because they are semi-rural areas on the fringe of the Perth metropolitan area and the cost per square metre to build in these spots is way less when compared to urban areas in and around Perth.”

For Ross Squire Homes General Manager Steve Grehan, people also choose to build in rural and regional towns because of the lifestyle.

“People are drawn to the sense of space and fresh air,” he said. “Beyond that there is generally a great sense of community which can lead to a feeling of belonging in most rural communities.”

In addition to this, Mr Grehan agreed with Mr Harding and said the price of land was generally far more reasonable in the regions.

For anyone considering building in the regions, Mr Grehan said to engage with an experienced builder as early as possible.

“Often we come across first homeowners that have rushed out to buy a piece of land to build their dream first home, thinking they can just position the home anywhere only to find that the block has a high Bushfire Attack Level, so they are unable to position the home for that perfect view,” he said.

“To avoid disappointment it is best to engage with an experienced builder prior to purchasing land.”

Mr Harding said a common misconception people had towards building in WA was that you could only build on a concrete slab.

“It amazes me to see how many people believe the only option is to build a new home on a concrete slab,” he said.

As Milford Homes builds both concrete slab and timber-stumped homes, Mr Harding said it was worth doing some research to find out the best home design for your site.

“Often in country areas there are more earthworks involved, especially if you are building on a concrete slab,” he said.

“Sloping sites or lots with high clay or water content will typically increase the cost of earthworks if you are building on a concrete slab. However, with timber stumps we can basically eliminate the need for the majority of earthworks.”

As with anyone building a new home, Mr Harding said it paid to do your research.

“Especially in the current climate, you want to make sure the builder you select is geared up to do the job, regardless if they are Perth or country-based,” he said.

“Do your homework and don’t be afraid to ask questions – there are no dumb questions when it comes to building a home.”

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