Graham Collins, 60, outside his terrace home at Thorton Estate in Penrith. Photo: Kate Geraghty Inside at Penrith’s terrace houses. Photo: Kate Geraghty
Five fresh trends in new homes
Graham Collins’ western Sydney property was once a display home. And in many ways, it still is.
Visiting friends often remark on the surprising amount of space offered by a type of housing long found in Sydney’s inner suburbs but almost unheard of amid the near-ubiquitous big blocks of Penrith: a terrace house.
“It’s not like you’ve grown up in Surry Hills or something like that where terrace houses are the thing,” said Mr Collins, who downsized from an acre block near Springwood. “This is new for Penrith.”
But rising land prices and the desire to be close to shops and transport has fed a growing interest in denser styles of housing on greenfield sites, such as UrbanGrowth’s Thornton estate.
It is an interest the state government is keen to foster as a middle ground between high rise and detached dwellings as it seeks to build greater density into Sydney’s neighbourhoods.
“Terraces are more energy efficient than detached dwellings and this type of housing offers more variety and flexibility for Sydney’s changing demographics,” Planning Minister Rob Stokes said.
“Thornton demonstrates the timeless appeal of well-designed terrace houses – with a human scale, street appeal and affordable and usable private open space,” Mr Stokes said.
Mr Collins and his wife Robyn were among the first buyers to sign up when the state government’s property development arm began selling the estate’s mix of terraces, courtyard houses, and detached dwellings – all within a short walk of Penrith’s railway station and town centre – about three years ago.
UrbanGrowth reports the estate’s 140sqm to 460sqm block sizes, with an average of 350sqm, delivers an overall population density similar to that of a neighbourhood of three-storey walk-up apartments.
“I came over that afternoon and had a look at all these places along here, didn’t even go home. I rang up my wife and I said: ‘You’ve got to come look at these, this is really good’,” said Mr Collins, who was so pleased with the concept for the four-bedroom display terrace that the couple even negotiated to buy some of the artwork hanging on its walls.
Matthew Beggs, head of UrbanGrowth’s western Sydney projects portfolio, said the agency took a “leap of faith because it needed to be proven” that terraces would be successful in a greenfield market.
“When you see the response, the proof’s in the pudding,” Mr Beggs said.
The Collinses’ neighbours, Natalia Watanabe and Rose Foster, also bought in 2013, and said the lines of people camping out to secure a spot in the estate have only grown since the project has become better known.
“People went absolutely mental,” Ms Foster said of later sale campaigns. “Natalia was walking to the train station to go to work one day and saw campervans, and the park across the road, we had tents pitched in it.”
Further terrace housing is to be rolled out in the Leppington in Sydney’s south-west, and has already been embraced elsewhere by major residential developers such as AV Jennings.
The company’s general manager for NSW, George Diniakos, said about 10 per cent of its estates were now reserved for terraces, a figure that was likely to grow.
“These terraces actually resonate with a lot of buyers” Mr Diniakos said.
“We found that it suits the type of lifestyle people are looking at the moment.”
Western Sydney Business Chamber president David Borger, a former Housing Minister, said Sydney had developed a “fetish” for super high rise housing, when terraces also offered a solution to density.
“When you’re outside of the town centres, high rise apartments may not be appropriate and other options like terraces should be considered,” Mr Borger said.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.