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Australia - Property Options and Types

The Australian house may be any size, though it tends to have at least some land. In a residential area, especially in the inner cities, the amount of land is usually smaller. However, in the suburban areas you can expect to find as much as several acres of land to purchase along with the house.

- Townhouse: Sometimes called a unit or a villa, although not as basic as the standard unit, these are smaller units, often placed side by side in a community. They provide for little to no land outside of the unit. Most townhouses offer between one and three bedrooms. Some also feature community amenities such as fitness rooms.

- Retirement Communities: Another type of property for the expat is the retirement communities. Often located in the more populous areas of the country, these locations often limit people by age, such as over the age of 50. Many are apartment style homes, however, with nicer amenities. There are often communal facilities such as lounge areas, gyms and parks.

- Rural: Those wishing to purchase a significant amount of land will want to consider the rural properties throughout the country. Some are former farms while others are simply undeveloped land. However, Australians are very specific about foreign nationals purchasing real estate, often limiting the size and use of such properties. Therefore, you will need to assure the agencies that you do not plan to develop properties.

- Golf: In some areas of Australia, such as in Nerang, new homes are being built on golf course complexes. These properties range in size, but are often new construction or resale that offers impressive views. Some of these developments are gated communities for security and the price will reflect this as there will also be maintenance fees, although this depends upon what is included in the service.

- Coastal: Costal properties are often the most expensive, yet many are still new construction. These properties are typically in condominium style accommodations, though purchasing a home is also possible. The Isle of Capri is popular for its spacious, luxurious coastal homes.

- Apartment: These are often referred to as flats, as they are in the UK. These are no real differences between the two, although some estate agents may use the word ‘apartment’ to make the property sound a little more upmarket and put a little extra on the price of the property. Apartments come in a range of sizes, from the single room studio option to 2+ bedrooms. Apartments with 3 or more bedrooms are not as common as most people who need a property of that size will opt for a house.

- Unit: This term is used to refer to a small house. These are usually built as a block and will be ‘terraced’. Parking areas are communal and there are often communal areas for waste disposal. Units will normally have 2 bedrooms so may be ideal as a starter home but they rarely have much in the way of outdoor space. It is possible to find developments of larger units but there will still be limited outdoor space.

It is estimated that more than 75% of the homes in Australia are detached houses. Another 15% of homes are apartments and just 10% are in the form of terraced houses, semi-detached or townhouses. Of these, the detached bungalow is by far the most favoured option. Most homes will have a minimum of three bedrooms, a large combined lounge and dining room, a large kitchen diner, often more than one bathroom, a separate laundry room and a family room or den. Usually if the house has more than four bedrooms at least one will have an en-suite bathroom. As the climate is excellent all year round in most places, Australians make the most of the outdoor space that they have. Nearly half of all detached homes with a good-sized garden will have a swimming pool and many will have a terrace. Homes that are detached or semi-detached will usually have a garage. The barbecue is very important in Australia and many people will have one built into the garden.

Australian homes are made from a variety of materials. Brick is considered to be expensive and is normally only used for larger homes owned by the very wealthy. Brick veneer is the type of material that will be seen on the majority of homes. The house will look as though it has been built of brick but the house has a timber frame. Other types of construction include fibro homes, which are houses that have a timber frame but are covered with cement on the outside. It should be noted that homes in remote areas will rarely have facilities such as mains electricity and water and homes in some areas are built on stilts.

Throughout the country, there are resale homes available, though new builds are available in some areas. New build homes generally come with a builder’s warranty. Australia has a lot of available land for development; however, the housing market can be highly competitive and expensive. Purchasing off plan is another option for some investors, especially in the more competitive markets of Melbourne or coastal properties.

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