Buying Land in Australia: Is it Better to Buy Land First?

November 8, 2023
Is it better to buy land first?

Key takeaways:

  • Buying land first offers greater control over the home’s design and allows for a more tailored selection of the builder and budget alignment.
  • Choosing land first can be a strategic investment, with the potential for the land’s value to increase over time, although it may come with more complex financing needs.
  • Financial planning is key, as purchasing land involves various costs such as stamp duty and legal fees, which need to be weighed against the benefits of potentially lower long-term costs and investment growth.
  • It’s important to compare the ongoing costs and value of buying land with the current market offerings, including evaluating existing houses for sale in Sydney, to make an informed decision.

Is it better to buy land first? This question is central for those looking to invest in Australian real estate. The answer depends on various considerations, including the degree of design control needed, the timeline for selecting a suitable builder, and local zoning regulations.

This article will explore the benefits of buying land, highlighting potential investment advantages and the ability to tailor the design to personal specifications. We will also discuss the financial considerations and the responsibilities that come with land ownership, providing clear insights to inform your choice.

Is it better to buy land first?

When it comes to building a new home, one of the first decisions to make is whether to buy land first or choose a builder. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, there are some factors to consider when deciding whether to buy land first.

Advantages and disadvantages of buying land first

Buying land first in Australia has its advantages. For instance, it gives the buyer more control over the design and construction process, as confirmed by Novus Homes.

It also allows the buyer to take their time to find the right builder and design that suits their needs and budget. However, buyers must inquire about zoning requirements and consider future plans for the area, as these can affect the property’s value and suitability for their needs.

Additionally, buying land first can be a good investment opportunity, especially if the value of the land increases over time. But, obtaining financing can be more complicated than for an ordinary home, and there are maintenance considerations to take into account, especially with larger properties like acreage.

“According to, notes that buying land first can be a more expensive option and may be more challenging to finance.”

Moreover, when you’re considering the financial aspects, it’s helpful to understand the cost comparisons, such as is it cheaper to build or buy a house in Sydney.

Ultimately, whether to buy land first or choose a builder first will depend on the individual buyer’s needs and preferences. Some buyers may prefer to take their time and find the perfect plot of land, while others may prefer to work with a builder from the beginning to ensure a seamless building process.

Understanding the Basics

Buying land first in Australia gives you control over your new home’s design and orientation, potentially saving on costs like stamp duty. On the other side, choosing a builder first simplifies the process, with expert guidance on construction details.

Consider what matters most to you—location, lot size, amenities, privacy, or convenience. For example, proximity to the CBD might influence your land choice, while privacy concerns may affect the property’s orientation.

Your decision to buy land first should align with your unique needs after careful research. Simplifying your choices and understanding the trade-offs will lead to a confident decision in building your dream home. This decision becomes even more critical when you consider the significant investment involved in building a home.

To get a clearer picture of potential expenses, you may want to examine the detailed costs, such as how much does it cost to build a 4 bedroom house in Sydney, which can influence your decision to buy land or choose a builder first.

8 Benefits of Buying Land First

Buying land first in Australia has several benefits. Here are some of the advantages of choosing to buy the land first before building:

1. Location

When buying land first, you have the freedom to choose the location that suits your needs and preferences. You can select a lot that is close to your work, school, or other amenities. You can also choose a lot that is in a quiet area or near the beach.

Buying land first allows you to have more control over where you will build your dream home.

2. Land Values

Buying land first can also be a sound investment. Land values in Australia have been increasing over the years, and buying land now can be a good way to secure a valuable asset. You can even choose to hold onto the land and sell it later for a profit.

3. Amenities and Lot Sizes

When you buy land first, you can choose a lot size that is suitable for your needs. You can also select a lot that has the amenities you want, such as parks, playgrounds, or bike paths. This allows you to create a lifestyle that suits your needs and preferences.

4. Orientation

Buying land first also allows you to choose the orientation of your home. You can select a lot that has a north-facing aspect, which is ideal for capturing natural light and warmth. You can also choose a lot that has a view that you want to capture from your home.

5. Privacy

Buying land first allows you to have more control over your privacy. You can choose a lot that is set back from the road or surrounded by trees to create a private setting. You can also choose a lot that is not overlooked by other homes.

6. Affordability

Buying land first can also be more affordable than buying a house and land package. You can choose to build your home in stages, which allows you to spread out the cost over time. You can also choose to build a smaller home to begin with and add on later as your budget allows.

7. Display Home

Buying land first allows you to build a display home. A display home is a fully furnished and decorated home that showcases the builder’s work. Building a display home can be a good way to get ideas for your own home and to see the quality of the builder’s work.

8. Surrounding Areas

Buying land first also allows you to research the surrounding areas. You can check the proximity of schools, hospitals, and shopping centers. You can also check the crime rate and the general safety of the area.

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Financial Considerations

Is it better to buy land first?

When considering whether to buy land first in Australia, financial considerations are crucial. From home loans to stamp duty and varying land values, thorough financial planning is essential. Affordability may lean towards buying land first, allowing for a more phased approach to building a home.

Yet, it’s imperative to consider all associated costs, including the possibility of land appreciation over time and compare it with the current market prices of houses for sale in Sydney to assess the best financial route.

Home Loans

If you plan to finance your land purchase with a home loan, it’s important to understand the requirements and limitations of such loans.

Home loans typically require a deposit, and lenders may have specific criteria for the type of land they will finance. It’s essential to research different lenders and their loan products to find the best option for your situation.

Stamp Duty

Stamp duty is a tax levied by state and territory governments on certain types of transactions, including land purchases. The amount of stamp duty you’ll need to pay can vary depending on the state or territory in which you’re buying land, as well as the purchase price. It’s important to factor in stamp duty costs when budgeting for your land purchase.

Land Values

The value of land can vary significantly depending on its location and other factors. In major cities like Sydney, land prices can be much higher than in smaller towns. It’s essential to research land values in the areas you’re considering to ensure you’re getting a fair price.


Buying land first can be more affordable for some buyers, as it allows them to spread out the cost of building a home over time. However, it’s essential to consider the extra costs associated with buying land, such as stamp duty, legal fees, and site preparation costs.

Extra Costs

In addition to the purchase price of the land, there may be additional costs associated with buying land in Australia. These can include legal fees, stamp duty, site preparation costs, and ongoing maintenance costs. It’s important to factor in these costs when budgeting for your land purchase.


Getting pre-approval for a home loan can be a smart move when buying land first. Pre-approval gives you an idea of how much you can borrow and can help you budget for your land purchase. It’s important to note that pre-approval is not a guarantee of a loan, and lenders may have specific criteria that must be met before a loan is approved.

Overall, buying land first in Australia can be a smart financial move for some buyers. However, it’s essential to carefully consider the financial implications of such a decision and to do your research to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.

Government Incentives and Support

Is it better to buy land first?

When it comes to buying land in Australia, there are a number of government incentives and support available to first home buyers. These incentives can help make purchasing land more affordable and accessible.

The First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) is a government scheme that provides a one-off payment to eligible first home buyers.

The grant amount varies depending on the state or territory, with New South Wales offering $10,000 for newly built or substantially renovated homes, not available for established homes. To be eligible for the FHOG, the buyer must be purchasing their first home and meet certain criteria, such as income and residency requirements.

In addition to the FHOG, there are other incentives available to first-home buyers, such as stamp duty concessions and exemptions. These incentives can vary depending on the state or territory, but they can help reduce the overall cost of purchasing land.

For example, in New South Wales, first-home buyers purchasing new homes must ensure the purchase price does not exceed $600,000, or if buying vacant land and building, the total cost must not exceed $750,000. In the Northern Territory, the First Home Owners Grant provides up to $10,000 for newly built homes.

Eligibility criteria for the FHOG also stipulate that each applicant must be at least 18 years old, a first home buyer as an individual, and at least one applicant must be a permanent resident or Australian citizen.

It’s important to note that these incentives and support programs can change over time, so it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest information and eligibility criteria.

Overall, government incentives and support can make buying land more accessible and affordable for first home buyers in Australia. It’s worth exploring these options and seeking professional advice to determine what incentives are available and applicable to your situation.

Suggested reading: Continue enriching your home-buying knowledge by reading our expert guide on buying a house in Sydney. It’s a treasure trove of essential tips!

FAQ on ‘Is it better to buy land first?’

What are the benefits of buying untitled land?

According to Wilson Homes, buying untitled land can be an excellent entry into the property market. Purchasing before the land is titled could result in the land’s value increasing by the time it is titled, potentially more than the original price paid.

Additionally, stamp duty is calculated based on the contract amount, and land value can increase significantly with suburban development.

Is buying land a good investment in Australia?

Gold Bank Group suggests that investing in land or homes is generally considered safe and rewarding over the long term. Real estate investment is favoured due to the safety of capital it offers. However, it’s essential to be aware of the do’s and don’ts of property investments in Australia.

Is it worth investing in buying land?

Home Loan Experts highlight that compared to other investments, land requires less involvement, making it a suitable passive long-term investment.

There is also the possibility of purchasing smaller parcels of land with cash. Furthermore, ongoing costs such as property taxes, insurance, or maintenance are not typically too high.

How much money do I need to buy land in Australia?

According to, the amount of money needed to buy land in Australia varies with the land size. Lenders typically allow you to borrow up to 95% of the property’s value if the land is up to 11 hectares.

For larger properties, a minimum deposit of 20% is generally required. If the deposit is less than 20%, Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) may be necessary.

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