Century 21 Bathurst principal Troy Kearney says Bathurst needs bigger blocks

BATHURST needs to diversify its housing market, particularly when it comes to land, according to a local real estate agent. 

Century 21 Bathurst principal Troy Kearney says there are a number of factors that are making it difficult to find a suitable block of land in Bathurst at a reasonable price. 

And if the factors are not addressed, he says, it will eventually make Bathurst’s growth stall.

“Land prices have gone up dramatically, block sizes have gotten smaller and building costs have gone up,” he said. 

“The builders aren’t making any extra money, it’s the cost of building materials going up.” 

Private developers are able to release land, but the wait lists are so long that it is all pre-sold before it hits the market, he said. 

And because land is at such a premium, those selling it can set the price. 

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Mr Kearney said it was not even a decade ago that a good-size block of land could be purchased for $110,000, but now there are blocks of land around 700 to 800 square metres, average by today’s standards, that are priced in excess of $200,000. 

It has reached the point where it is more cost-effective to buy an existing home to renovate and, in some cases, knock down and rebuild on the land, he said. 

Fixing the problem, Mr Kearney said, lies with Bathurst Regional Council.

“They’ll be the biggest developers going forward for the next 10 years,” he said. 

He said it was crucial that council start creating subdivisions with blocks exceeding 850 square metres and offer one- to five-acre blocks, which are nearly impossible to find in Bathurst at the moment.  

“We need to have more lifestyle blocks,” Mr Kearney said.

“If they were to release a small acreage estate right now, it would be sold prior to civil works.”

If council doesn’t diversify its subdivisions with bigger blocks, it will only be a matter of time before Sydney buyers start to lose interest in Bathurst, as one of the reasons they move to regional cities is to have homes with big backyards, he said.

“The smaller our blocks get, it’ll soften our house prices in years to come,” Mr Kearney said. 

Council is developing a 275-lot residential subdivision at Limekilns Road and further residential lots are in the pipeline for Windradyne in the city’s west.

The 275 lots are at the former Sunbright Orchard site, between Limekilns Road and Marsden Lane.