The Ultimate Guide to Buying Land in Australia

What you need to consider when buying land.
Landconnect — 03 May 2020

Are you yearning for a change of scenery? A more laid back lifestyle in a country with a diverse landscape and full of opportunity? Australia may be a long flight away for some, but once you have arrived. There are very few reasons why you'd ever need to leave.  

It flaunts not only perfect climatic conditions but also high-quality social amenities. Not to mention Australia has world-class education and health systems. 

No matter which city you decide to settle down in, whether its Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth to name a few - there is something for everyone.


Buying Land in Australia

Buying land in Australia is not an overly complicated endeavor, with the right guidance, you can quickly be a proud landowner. However, it is imperative to undertake the appropriate due diligence before settling on where to call home. If you want to own a piece of land in Australia, you'll need to navigate several key considerations:

  • Property value; the value of land in Australia varies with different locations. In major cities like Sydney, the cost can be higher than in other smaller towns. You pay for the convenience and access to the heart of the CBD, but if you move out a little further into the suburbs or satellite towns great property can be found at an excellent price. 
  • Location, Location, Location; Major cities such as Perth, Sydney, and Melbourne are the most popular locations. Buying land here can be quite competitive, but they present the best opportunities concerning work, access to amenities, and growth opportunities.
  • Legalities; if you are a foreigner and not an Australian resident or citizen, your purchase will undergo a more detailed review. For foreigners currently, each purchase must be reviewed by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).
  • Rates and taxes; it is also imperative to have some knowledge of the rates and taxes. Your local agent or sales consultant will be able to guide you in understanding any taxes that would be applied to your impending purchase. You can also consult a licenced conveyancer to assist you through the process if this is your first time buying property.
  • Social amenities and transport systems; one of the most significant factors that will contribute to if you "buy well" are the social amenities and transport links in the surrounding areas. In some growth suburbs, they may not be immediately available; however, if you consult the local council, you will be able to access the future and proposed connections and amenities.


Buying Land in Sydney


Sydney is perhaps the most famous city in Australia based on its landmarks. From the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Opera House, this city is home to sites known around the world. While the CBD is known for its fast pace, the surrounding areas are full of life. Filled with cafes and bars, Sydney does not lack places to hang out. Typically, Sydney has excellent weather, making it perfect for a trip to their world-famous Bondi Beach, known for its lively atmosphere.

Land for sale in Sydney

There are many growing regions of Sydney that you may wish to consider calling home and have excellent land options available for purchase, these include:

  • Marsden Park 
  • Spring Farm
  • Oran Park
  • Warnervale 


Buying Land in Melbourne


Melbourne, Victoria holds one of the top spots in the list of most liveable cities on earth. With low crime rates, excellent public transport service options, renowned arts, and culture scenes, it truly offers a great lifestyle. 

The layout of Melbourne sees the city brimming with laneways of all sorts. Bars, shopping arcades, musicians, and cafes all live down these alleyways, making every stroll through the city an adventure. And these venues are often backed up by their quality. 

Melbourne is known for its coffee culture, making it hard to find a lousy café. Bars to hold exceptional quality if you’re looking for a beautiful night out. Finally, Melbourne is exceptionally diverse, and this creates an accepting community, with a great selection of cuisines to dine out on!

Land for sale in Melbourne

If you are looking to find land in Melbourne, you may wish to consider some of these growth areas. House and land packages are a popular choice for those immigrating to Melbourne and are seeking space in growing suburbs.


Buying Land in Brisbane


Brisbane, located in North Queensland, is full of great things to do. Whether you visit the hustle and bustle of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast or experience some of the world-class galleries in downtown Brisbane - it has it all. Inner-city Brisbane is not too busy, and the train system is efficient and easy to navigate. The tropical climate means that this city is not unfamiliar to the heat, yet also can have heavy rain during the wet season. Brisbane is known for being a laidback city with a great atmosphere, the perfect place to spend your days relaxing while you soak up the sun.

Land for sale in Brisbane

Many beautiful new communities are being developed around Brisbane and Queensland for you to choose from. Here are some growth areas for your consideration:


  • Augustine Heights 
  • Bells Creek
  • Bald Hills
  • Narangba
  • Griffin


Buying Land in Perth


Perth is one of the quieter cities in Australia, meaning heaps of easy leisure time. It is vast and spacious, spreading outwards rather than upwards. It’s a place where you need a car to make the most of its easy-going lifestyle. This city is essentially always summer, with winter seeing a typical forecast of 23 degrees. Which is perfect given Perth has great beaches easily accessible and a short drive. Even better, the people of Perth are known for being friendly. 

Land for sale in Perth

Perth is a vast state that has many wonderful choices for your perfect dream home, and it's not short on land, all still within an easy drive to the heart of the city. 

  • Brabham
  • Bushmead
  • South Hedland
  • Byford
  • Carine

Buying Land in Adelaide


Adelaide is a super affordable city, perfect for those looking to make the most of their buying power. As an example, on average, rent here is 49% cheaper than in Sydney. Its public transport is well designed, with a lot of buses and trams easily accessible. Even better, the city has bikes for hire all around, promoting a green and healthy lifestyle. Adelaide is home to a whole heap of events, such as music and food festivals; there is always something to do. This city also has a thriving food and bar culture, with dozens of laneways packed with hip bars and artisan cafes. 

Land for sale in Adelaide

If you are looking to buy land in Adelaide you may wish to consider the following growth areas, many present the perfect blend of lifestyle and convenience:

  • Blakeview
  • Penfield
  • Gawler East
  • Angle Vale
  • Andrews Farm

What to Do Before Buying Land


If you feel overwhelmed about making one the most significant purchases of your life, that is entirely normal. However, providing you have the right guidance and knowledge, you will be well on your way to making the right decision for your circumstances before you commit to purchase a lot of land. 

You should consider the following: 

  • Try to visit the land and inspect it accordingly - this helps you be sure whether that is the property you want and to experience the surrounding areas.
  • Understand design guidelines - specific design requirements often enforced in new communities. These guidelines are in place to maintain a certain standard across the new development. They may dictate the types of materials used or even what is considered an acceptable color scheme. Your builder or the land developer will be able to guide you accordingly. 
  • Overlays - if you are purchasing a lot of land in an established area, make sure you review any potential overlays that may be on the property. An example is a heritage overlay that may require you to maintain any existing structure and preserve the historical elements of that structure, which may limit your ability to rebuild on that lot of land.
  • Land size - depending on what you are planning on building, it will depend on the land size you need to purchase to accomodate your future home. It is important to consider talking with builders early on, and before buying a lot of land, this way they will be able to guide you as to whether you can build your preferred design on the lot of land you are considering. 
  • Budget accordingly - it is imperative to budget well for what you can afford. There is no need to strain on the budget; buy what you can afford. Again, involve the support of a mortgage broker early on in the process so they can help you through this process. 


How to Finance Buying Land and Building a House


You might have the desire to own property, buy land, or build a house, but before you go too far down the path. You are best to consider your capacity to finance your future home by understanding your borrowing capacity. 

There are several different types of organizations that can guide you through this process. 

  • Mortgage Brokers - These agents typically act independently from lending institutions such as banks. They have access to a wide variety of financial products and can help find the best home loan that suits your needs. 
  • Banks - If you have an existing relationship with a bank and a preferred provider, you want to do business with. You can approach your bank and seek their guidance on what home loans they have available. 
  • Non-Bank Lenders - The trend towards non-bank lenders is gradually increasing; these are independent companies that can provide you with home loans. 
  • Cash - Finally, if you are in an excellent financial position, you can always consider purchasing a lot of land in cash. 


When buying land how much down payment should you make?

For new communities, many will only require a 5% to 10% initial deposit on a lot of land. 

For established areas, you may be required to deposit up to 20%. 

Ultimately it is entirely specific to the individual circumstances of the buyer. You should consult the sales agent and your bank or mortgage broker to guide you to what will be required.


4 Tips When Buying Land


When you are buying land in Australia we have four tips for you:


  1. Engage a builder early - the sooner you engage a builder in your efforts to purchase land, the better. It is critical if you want the right to build outcomes and to avoid limiting your build options.
  2. Future amenity - if you are buying in a new community, consult your builder or the land developer, and gain an understanding of what is proposed for the local area. 
  3. Budget - you may have found a perfect lot of land in an ideal location, but it breaks the budget. If a large developer was developing your preferred location and they are offering a master-planned community, i.e., they are building the schools, the shopping centers, etc. Look to adjacent developments in the area; often, you can find great deals on land which are next to the master-planned community but still gain from all the future amenities the master-planned community will be offering. 
  4. All land is not created equal - often, you will find lots which have a great deal of fall (slope), and they come at an affordable price. However, the expense of building these lots can quickly add up, and if you have not received the right guidance before buying, you may be in for a shock at how much it will cost to prepare your land. 


What to Ask When Buying Land


To make sure you understand precisely what you are buying, here are some questions to consider asking the land agent selling the plot of land.


Are there easements?


Easements create limitations of the use of land; when building a new home, your building will need to maintain a certain distance from the easement. If your preferred floorplan is close to the easement, they may need to provide additional reinforcement to your structure. 


When does it title?


If you are buying land in a new community, it is likely construction hasn't started. Your land cannot be provided with a title by the local government until the developer completes it. Therefore, check when the title is likely to be granted with the developer, as only until the land has a title can you start building. 


Are there any decision restrictions?


On occasion, certain lots of land in a new development will have restrictions on it, i.e., only a single storey house may be built, or it is a rear-loaded lot, where the garage must be at the back of the property. Make sure you confirm this with the developer before purchasing. 


Are there any unique setback rules?


If you are looking to buy a corner lot of land, this may have additional setback rules. This is crucial to understand as it may limit the size of home you can fit on these lots of land. It is advisable to discuss this with your builder before purchase. 


How to Negotiate Buying Land


Negotiations are a critical aspect of your land buying journey. 

The current market state will often influence how likely you are to get a favorable deal. 

If the market is running hot and land is in high demand, it is likely to reduce your negotiation power. 

If the market is slower, and developers have to fight for deals. It is likely to increase your chances for some level of effective negotiation on the price. 

Never be afraid to ask and put forward your ideal price. 


Is Buying Land and Building a House Cheaper?

It ultimately depends on where you buy land and who you build.

The significant advantage of buying a lot of land and building your dream home is you get more control of the outcome.

When you buy an established property, you are purchasing it as is. You may choose to renovate later down the track, but what you see is what you get. 

When you decide to buy land and build, you get to choose all the details. 

Ultimately, you need to find the right outcome for your situation, and for many buying a house and building land is the preferred path to new homeownership.