Social media marker How Much Does It Cost to Build a Duplex? - Forme Homes

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Duplex?

Duplex houses

Full exterior view of lavish custom home with garden bed- Custom design on sloping block YOUR IDEAS. DESIGNED. MANAGED. BUILT. Left side White bracket shape two angles Right side White bracket shape two angles

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Duplex?

Building a duplex is a fantastic way to enter the property market, offering heaps of benefits and design flexibility at prices ranging from $600,000 to $1.5 million. These dual occupancy homes are efficient for utilising land and making passive income. Duplexes work around high construction costs by allowing new homeowners to share the cost of their home build and maintenance with others or capitalise on rental opportunities. If you’re interested in learning how a duplex could be the home of your dreams, read on.

duplex houses

What is a duplex?

A duplex, or dual occupancy home, is a building that contains two separate homes with a shared wall. Each home has its own parking lot, yard, entrance and amenities. A duplex development can exist on either a single land title, known as a Torrens Title or on a subdivided lot, with two separate titles.

When a subdivision occurs, the land is divided into two or more parcels, allowing each home to be owned and/or sold separately.

Building a duplex: everything you need to know

Duplexes are just as easy to build as a traditional home; however, the planning process can be quite involved. Not only will you need to consider whether or not you want to subdivide your land, but you’ll also need to prepare for the costs associated with a duplex build—both financially and schedule-wise.

Many factors, such as legal processes, location, and build costs, can impact your build cost. This is offset by the high value of a duplex build due to potential rental income and fall-back equity from the second property.

Firstly, however, you’ll need to figure out if you can build a duplex on your land.

Can I build a duplex on my land?

The main thing that will impact your ability to build a duplex is property size. A standard rule for duplex blocks is that they should be at least 600 sqm; however, this can vary, as all local councils have different zoning rules. A larger block will provide more flexibility regarding the design and layout.

Depending on the style of duplex you intend to build, you will require a wide or long lot. The size of your property will also affect many design and construction factors involving layout and local zoning regulations.

Choosing to subdivide your land will further impact the progress and cost of your build, with the subdivision process requiring a lot of planning before council approval is possible. Subdividing your land can also increase the overall cost of consultation fees, so we recommend ensuring all of these variables are accounted for when reviewing your budgets.

What will impact the cost of my duplex build?

In addition to the cost of subdividing your land, you can expect a few other factors to affect the cost of building, including contractor fees, material costs, location, demolition and more. Find out a bit more about these factors below:

  • Tax costs
    Property taxes during a new home build can inflate the cost of your home, with taxes, fees and charges contributing to 38% of the cost of a new home build in Melbourne.
  • Structural engineering costs
    A structural engineer ensures that your home’s plan is structurally sound and may prepare drawings and reports for council approval. Fees can vary depending on the home’s size or the project’s difficulty, ranging from $3,000 to $5,000.
  • Connection of services
    Connecting services such as electricity, gas, sewerage and water can take up to four weeks, and costs can vary depending on the size of your home.
  • Location
    In-demand areas may have higher land costs; however, this can also work to your advantage with public transport, local rental demand, and population growth, increasing land costs and investment potential.
  • Land size
    The size of the property, especially if in a high-demand area, can inflate costs, but a large lot can greatly offset layout and design restrictions.
  • Materials
    The materials you choose for your duplex, including construction materials, fittings, fixtures, and finishes, can inflate the price. This is primarily due to Australia’s labour and materials shortage caused by increased demand for home building services, bushfire impacts on timber supplies and an international construction material shortage.
  • Contractor fees
    Specialist contractors and subcontracting teams can add additional costs.
  • Design fees
    4.5% to 16% of the construction cost may consist of design or architect fees.
  • Demolition
    The demolition process can add costs of $12,000 to $20,000 if you’re considering a knockdown rebuild.

Building a custom home is a team effort involving experts in planning, design and construction. While this means great polished results, this process can be like waiting in line for a rollercoaster—it takes time, and you’re a bundle of nerves and excitement the whole way. Because of the time factor, you’ll need to account for accruing holding costs along the way, including loan repayments, land tax and council rates.

How long does it take to build a duplex?

The greatest hidden cost in any home build is time. The typical timeline for a build, from planning to final construction, can range anywhere from 6 to 20 months. A development application is a major factor contributing to the estimated timeline of a duplex build.

A development application is a legal document compiling information from your design and construction team and any other relevant service providers detailing the specified use or development you intend for a piece of land.

You can learn more about what goes into building a home here.

Street maps with lots

Duplex house designs

You can build a duplex home in many different ways. Understanding the language around different design types can help demystify the process and aid you in clearly communicating what you want. At Forme Homes, we can help you build your duplex in numerous design styles, such as:

  • In-front and behind duplex
    Also known as a battleaxe block duplex, this duplex design features one building behind the other.
  • Side-by-side duplex
    This duplex design has each home side by side.
  • Single-storey duplex
    Duplexes can also be referred to by their height and division type. A single-story duplex is a duplex with one storey.
  • Two-storey duplex
    A two-storey duplex can be another way to capitalise on land potential by giving each residency a second floor to improve property value and livability.
  • Horizontally-divided duplex
    A horizontally divided duplex occurs where the division is between floors rather than walls. This could be a solution where the lot is too small to allow for a subdivision.

Building a duplex, no matter the style, can present unique challenges and rewards. The key to success lies in your builder’s expertise and how they communicate with you. When done correctly, building a duplex can provide many benefits.

Builders consulting house plan

Is it worth building a duplex?

Committing to a home build is a big decision. But rest assured, with the right team and thoughtful planning, a duplex is a great way to enter the property market, strengthen your portfolio and meet your family’s lifestyle needs. The benefits of building a duplex include:

  • Instant equity
    A custom-built duplex can result in instant equity, with the difference in initial land or property investment and subsequent value increase following the subdivision and/or home build.
  • Acquire a passive income
    As previously mentioned, a duplex gives you the opportunity to acquire additional cash flow through rental payments. Depending on your housing situation, you may even consider renting out both units.
  • Invest in high-growth property
    Duplexes are a great way to start out in real estate investment with the potential for high-value growth. A duplex can also quickly create equity for future property purchases if you’re considering growing your portfolio.
  • Cutback on maintenance
    A smaller property means lower maintenance costs, saving you money in the long run. Additionally, if the land is subdivided and separated into two titles, you may benefit from levies such as a sinking fund to help share major maintenance costs.
  • Building in your dream location
    High-demand locations with strong infrastructure, convenience, facilities and amenities can be a dream to live in; however, they can also attract a lofty entry fee when considering exclusive neighbourhoods. Building a duplex will allow you an affordable way to build in your dream location while acquiring a stable cash flow through rental potential.
  • Future-plan for family
    A duplex is not only lucrative in terms of financial benefits but is also a great solution for multi-generational families or as an alternative living arrangement for families with young-adult children who want more independence. A duplex allows families to live in close proximity while still retaining comfort and privacy.

Building a home is a major milestone, and by building a duplex, you can hit that milestone faster while setting yourself up for success in the future. The cost of building a duplex on your land can range from $600,000 to $1.5 million, but the benefits far outweigh this, ensuring an easier and more profitable entry into the property market.

By building a custom duplex, you can enjoy the home and location of your dreams and even share your property with your extended or immediate family. How can a duplex help you unlock financial independence in the neighbourhood of your dreams? Contact the team at Forme Homes to chat about your custom-built duplex project today.