Finance Property New home display villages are child’s play
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New home display villages are child’s play

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Kids come first at the latest breed of home display village. The planned 37-home village in the Armstrong Estate at Mt Duneed near Geelong in Victoria will have a series of cubby houses for children to play in.

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And the displays and 18 cubbies will be situated in a “green”, pedestrian-friendly location with no street or road dividing the homes.

“Instead of the parents dragging the kids along (to visit the centre), the kids will be dragging the parents along. It will be a wonderland for kids.”

Apart from the cubbies, the green area will include a traffic school, ping pong table, hopscotch zone, dry creek bed with crossings, walking paths, seating, junior playground with sand digger, sand table, and a general playground with balance beams, flying saucer, surfboard rocker and talking tubes.

The village, which is the brainchild of Villawood Properties executive director Rory Costelloe, is part of a new wave of display centres, which are sprouting in outer urban growth areas around Australia. Many of the new centres could be termed “super villages” because they are much bigger and grander than their predecessors.

Apart from the latest housing designs, some offer children’s play areas as well as cafes where visitors can enjoy a coffee and a piece of cake, fruit or a biscuit.

An aerial view of Armstrong Creek.
A proposed view of Armstrong Estate.

The idea for a green display village with no roads, sprung from various visit which Mr Costelloe made to a display centres in the United States. “The first time I saw a display village with no roads in the display village area was in the desert region of Las Vegas, Nevada,” he says. “It was a fully landscaped area with pebbles, cactuses and streams as well as off-site access for cars. In 2010 I saw another (display village) street with no roads in Los Angeles. It was more of a park. And then I saw a cubby house in a display area in Orlando, Florida. I just picked up elements from all three.”

The developer believes the Mt Duneed village will be a trendsetter for future villages around the nation. “It will set the benchmark for the future,” Mr Costelloe says. “Instead of the parents dragging the kids along (to visit the centre), the kids will be dragging the parents along. It will be a wonderland for kids.”

Housing Industry Association Victorian executive director Gil King says the new Mt Duneed village, which is partially built and due to open on October 11, is part of a general trend to bigger display centres.

“Display villages have evolved substantially over the last 20 years,” Mr King says. “Before they were just providing a sample of what the builder could bring to the table. It used to be that one builder would put two or three homes in a street. Now there are six or seven builders in the same village. They are much larger generally, providing comparisons between builders and styles of housing.

“The display village is more than just a collection of homes. It is a complete experience, enabling potential buyers to view a large variety of homes without distraction because some of the larger villages provide food and beverages, negating the need to travel away from the village for a food break.”

The HIA chief said the villages attracted both existing home owners as well as potential homebuyers. “It (a display village visit) is part of the social fabric and history of this country,” he says. “It’s a day out for the whole family. A lot of people view it (the visit) as an information session for their own existing home, so they can pick up ideas to improve the look and feel of their properties.”

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