It's not easy to look at an empty piece of land and imagine it transformed into a community of mews-style homes grouped around a "village green".
The team members behind a new development in Powell St, Avondale, understand how tricky it can be for some prospective buyers to buy a home without seeing it, so they've gone to great lengths to produce visuals and details about construction that will help people appreciate the stylish, yet affordable, homes that could be theirs.

"Buying off plan can be difficult for some people," says John Bolton, one of the group behind the development. "You can't see the home you're buying, you can't walk around it and imagine your furniture in it. But, hopefully, we can give people a good idea of what we want to achieve and they'll be as excited as we are."

The development is near the end of a no-exit street in Avondale Heights, on three sections that back on to bush and Oakley Creek. Thirty-one two-level townhouses will be grouped around a central green, all with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, including one en suite.

They'll all have internal access garaging - some with double garages and the others with singles.

Features include marble benches, tiled bathrooms and oak floors in downstairs living area. There is CCTV security, a master antenna television system and burglar alarms. To create a feeling of space the downstairs living areas have 2.7m studs while the bedrooms have vaulted ceilings.

It was very important that the homes are environmentally friendly and energy-efficient, says a spokesperson for the developer. All will be clad in renewable radiata pine weatherboards and built from material manufactured from sustainable sources. The decks, for example, will be made from a product composed from recycled milk bottles.

A New Zealand-made product called Metrapanel is being used for the interior walls and ceilings. The extra-thick panels are constructed from engineered wood fibres and flakes and are moisture resistant. They're so strong you can hang pictures and mirrors anywhere on them - there's no need to search for a stud.
The Metrapanel also adds to the thermal efficiency and helps to reduce noise between rooms.

The homes are all designed with warmth in mind. As well as high-quality insulation in the walls, ceiling and under the floors, there is double-glazing and Mitsubishi heat pumps.

The houses have also been planned so that although there are neighbours nearby, residents cannot see into each other's homes. Careful thought has gone into staggering the homes so front doors are not all lined up.

The developers says it is far from being a Legoland. While there is a community feel there won't be rows of identical housing.

The houses will be ideal for buyers keen to get into an area that has become very popular because of its proximity to good transport routes and the city.

"We think there will be a lot of interest from first-home buyers," says John. "Buying off plan here allows them to get into the housing market without having all the hassle of going through auctions only to keep losing out on places. They get to buy at today's price and don't have to settle straight away. By the time they move in, their home will already have increased in value. "The other group of people Powell St is likely to appeal to are people who are downsizing. They get the chance to buy a modern, warm, comfortable home now, and have the time to sell their existing home while their new one is being built."

The townhouses are being sold for their registered valuation. Buyers need a 10 per cent deposit. John, a mortgage broker with his own company, Squirrel, points out that people buying now also need to make sure they can get their finance approval, which lasts only six months, re-approved so they will be in a position to settle.
"If you have good advice and the deposit, then I think this is a great opportunity to get a good quality, affordable home in today's market."

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