Master planned communities (MPCs) have enjoyed increasing popularity in Australia since the 1950s. Based on a concept that originated in Los Angeles, MPCs are satellite communities outside of the CBD that are equipped with their own lifestyle amenities, such as shops, schools, restaurants and recreational parklands.
Australia’s first MPC was “Castlecrag” in Sydney, designed in 1925 by architect Walter Burley Griffin, who also designed Canberra.
Although nearly a century old, Griffin’s concept of a Master Planned Community still resonates with today’s buyers, who value a strong sense of community and access to key lifestyle attributes.
Through decades of experience as one of Queensland’s leading developers, QM Properties have identified the top ten most desirable attributes that buyers look for in a planned suburb.
“This is the shopping list for buyers that we have developed over our 35 years of building great Australian communities,” said QM Properties Sales Manager Damien Ross.
Living in a community that has already benefitted from the NBN rollout is highly desirable for families with school aged children, and is essential for those running home offices. With Gen X and Y’s love of Xboxes, Internet surfing and online streaming, they want access to the fastest download speeds available.
“The residents of our Jimboomba Woods estate already enjoy high speed NBN connectivity, as do our colleagues at the Jimboomba Home and Land Centre," said Ross.
2. Access to Education
Education facilities are a key priority for growing families with school aged children, as well as university students. Close proximity to education hubs not only adds future value to a property, it can also ensure a place in the catchment zone of top state schools. For example, Burpengary State Secondary College, the newly opened Queensland Private Public Partnership School located across the road from QM’s The Village at Burpengary estate, offers courses in robotics, laser cutting, CAD and plastic manufacturing, and enjoys the same NBN coverage as the estate.
Central Lakes estate at Caboolture has close access to five state and private schools, as well as a TAFE and QUT’s Caboolture campus.
3. Buyers love a water view
A large portion of buyers can’t go past land with water views, whether it be lakeside, riverside or bayside. Traditionally, master planned communities are land locked, due the scarcity of coastal land, so man-made lakes and canals that are the focal point of the community are a growing trend.
Sandstone Lakes near Queensland's Bribie Island from QM Properties
4. Bike Paths and Walking Trails
Access to bike paths and walking trails has proven to be a popular community feature with buyers, who see these outdoor exercise options as key to an active lifestyle.
“Buyers want to be able to walk or cycle to shops, restaurants and cafes safely,” said Ross. “They also enjoy being able to exercise outdoors without having to dodge traffic.”
The Jimboomba Woods development team have been consulting with the Jimboomba Walking Club to construct a safe and attractive walking trail leading to the Birnam ranges that will offer panoramic views of the surrounding bushland.
5. Local infrastructure
Neighbourhood shopping centres are important, not just for keeping the pantry full, but also as a leisure amenity and community meeting point.
“Shopping centres are the ‘Village Green’ of the 21st century. They serve a basic purpose for grocery shopping, but are also a meeting point for residents of all age groups,” said Ross.
6. Neighbourhood Watch
Neighbourhood Watch initiatives give residents a true feeling of community. QM Properties worked closely with the Queensland Police Service to set up the Neighbourhood Watch in the Central Lakes estate. The group is made up of community minded citizens who volunteer their time to keep their neighbours and properties safe. Focal watch points are homes within the community, vehicles and public recreation areas.
7. Quality Building Covenants
Building Covenants ensure that the high standard of a community is maintained and that buyers’ investments are protected. Covenants are in place in all of QM Properties’ communities, assuring buyers that their properties will retain their value. Residents of QM communities also benefit from a landscape rebate to help them get a head start on landscaping the gardens of their new home.
8. Green Spaces
QM Properties works with leading landscapers to ensure that their communities are abundant with immaculately manicured green spaces.
Visitors to a QM community are greeted with modern entry statements, tree lined streets, and well maintained parklands, and with the help of the QM Landscape rebate, all of the residents’ gardens are presented at a high standard.
9. Parks, Playgrounds and Recreational Areas
Recreational areas with lookouts, barbeques, picnic shelters and playgrounds are high on buyers’ checklists.
“Playgrounds are becoming like mini theme parks for children, and ‘big kids’ as well,” said Ross.
Those who choose to buy into MPCs tend to find plenty of likeminded residents with whom they can find common ground. The sense of community that develops between residents results in the enjoyment of events such as Australia Day street parties, Easter Egg Hunts, Christmas drinks, Grand Final Day barbeques and other neighbourhood social events.
“The quality of other buyers and residents in a community is also seen as integral to the high long term increase in the value of a property,” said Damien Ross.
4Land Property Group
, the developers of Geraldton Heights MPC in Western Australia say that possibly the best benefit is that planned communities are extremely well-governed. The rules and responsibilities are laid out well in advance – and everyone knows them.
According to financial services firm Members Alliance residential property in master planned communities is proving to be a safe investment option.
“The investment advantages of owning a home in one of these planned communities is they will always be maintained and managed to a high level, which is exactly why they have become so popular,” Members Alliance CEO David Domingo said.
As a result of all of these benefits, property in master-planned communities typically outperforms the general market, with most residential property experts agreeing that these communities would provide an advantage over general residential property in an economic downturn.
“Indeed, the inherent value in master planned communities makes buying a home there a better investment, which has been confirmed to us through an independent analysis of master-planned communities across southeast Queensland,” Mr Domingo said.
“In some cases, the average annual house price increase in the master-planned communities in the study was more than double that of the surrounding wider community.
“The research also found that the capital growth performance of master-planned communities with a body corporate structure has been even better.”