When you are developing property, finding actual comparable sales references in the same market that you will build is extremely important. You need to estimate what your dwellings will be worth on completion of your project.
You can find sales references on most of the real estate websites in the SOLD area. You can also order sales reports from Residex or RP Data and various other providers which are more accurate. House and land packages are advertised readily. If you are building near or within a land release estate then you are bound to come across them.
I'm often asked if a house and land package price can be used as a sales reference for a finished home. The answer is no.
A house and land package, of course contains two components; land and construction costs. When you purchase a house and land package from a builder/developer, you do not pay the entire cost upfront. The builder or developer would have secured the land and you will usually pay for the land directly. So the registered sale price associated with that lot will be what you paid for the land and not the entire price of the package.
Financing for a house and land package usually consists of two steps: a loan for the land then a construction loan.
The loans for land and build costs can be arranged separately, but may also be bundled together.
As part of your due diligence on a house and land package, you must carefully check the inclusions and exclusions of the builder's contract. Commonly, some site works are NOT included and you may need to add these to the price you've been quoted. Typically retaining walls can be excluded, importing or exporting of soil to prepare the site may be excluded or listed as a 'provisional cost'. This means an allowance has been made but if it costs more, a variation will be raised. If it costs less than the allowance, then you may get a credit (which is always nice).
Be wary of 'turnkey packages'. A turnkey package should include everything so that you can move right in or sell or lease the property as completed including carpet, blinds, landscaping, driveways, letterbox and all fittings and fixtures.
A quick search in one of the suburbs Property Bloom develops in comes up with this advertisement:
Headline: FIXED PRICE TURN KEY PACKAGE!! Fixed price package gives peace of mind with no hidden extras.
Below the headline was a computer generated image of a house. Then following this was a disclaimer:
All facades, floor plans, dimensions and illustrations are indicative only. The finishes and inclusions nominated are to be used as a guide only and purchaser is advised to refer to the land contract and builders contract for accurate dimensions, specifications and inclusions. We reserve the right to alter the plans.
What you are getting for you money or the exact house and land package will be detailed in the Sales Contract and Builder's Contract. It's imperative that you review this in detail to understand the inclusions and more importantly, the exclusions.
But going back to my original point, a house and land package can be advertised at a low price point to attract attention. Whilst you can use it as an indication as the builder/developer is basically saying this is the actual cost of a house in this suburb, it is by no means indicating the actual cost or value.
If it's a good location, you can expect that the value may be higher. Always budget for a higher cost to cover excluded items and any upgrades or changes you'd like to make.
A house and land package price is not a sales reference, however it can be looked at as a lower end estimate of the end value. In a good location and in a good market, if a sale occurs of a completed house and land package, that the vendor would be seeking a higher price than what it cost them to build.