Each year, the ACT Government releases an Indicative Land Release Program (ILRP), outlining the government’s land sales for the coming four years. And that’s where you come in!
The 5 steps to buying land
The following steps detail how you can purchase land through the Suburban Land Agency (SLA) and join thriving communities across ACT.
Step 1: Learn about the buying process
Our buyer's guide takes you through the buying process, from choosing a location and making an offer right through to designing your home.
Step 2: Discover and choose blocks for sale
Now you’ve got an of the buying process, it’s time to get to know our communities.
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When choosing a block for sale, keep your eyes out for 5 important documents:
- Development-specific requirements outlines what you can build on the land and if there are any restrictions.
- Estate plan outlines the roads, open spaces and infrastructure (shops, schools etc.,) for the planned estate.
- Block fill plans show any areas which have been cut or filled to create a level area to build on.
- Block details plan gives details about the development site and includes the position, size, slope and boundaries of your block. It can also include access roads, drainage runs, and special features such as trees.
- Block details table compares features of different blocks in the neighbourhood using this table.
Step 3: There are 4 ways to buy a block
Ballots help to provide an equal opportunity to purchase land. Block prices are set at the market value, based on at least two independent valuations. This allows you to purchase the block without the risk of a higher bidder purchasing the block.
Ballot are split into 3 stages:
Stage 1: Register
Once a block is announced and a ballot is made available, potential buyers register their details online during the registration period.
Stage 2: Draw
The potential buyer is given a Unique ID number, which is entered into an electronic ballot draw system. After the cut-off date, ID numbers are randomly drawn, and the order of drawn ballot numbers determines the appointment time/date for the block selection.
The ballot draw is witnessed and signed off by ACT Gambling and Racing Commission officials from Access Canberra. Once the draw is finalised, the Ballot results are uploaded onto the SLA website and registrants are contacted.
This ballot process is different that the process for releases under the Affordable Home Purchase Scheme.
Stage 3: Purchase
Eligible registrants who choose to continue in the ballot will receive an allocated appointment. To secure a block, the successful registrant/s must pay the minimum deposit and sign a First Grant Contract at their block selection appointment. A sample copy of the contract terms will be available online during the ballot registration period.
If a Standard lease is selected, the buyer must pay the deposit advised on the sales conditions at their block selection appointment.
Payments are preferably made using online, contactless methods. Once paid, the buyer will be given a receipt.
We conduct auctions for a range of land releases, including both residential and commercial blocks, and these can either be face-to-face or online. We provide all relevant information about each auction release to ensure that buyers are well-informed about the block they’re bidding on. Overall, auctions provide an exciting and accessible way for people to purchase land through us.
At an auction, a block will be sold to the highest bidder above the undisclosed reserve price. If the highest bid is below the reserve price, a period of time will be granted for the registrant with the highest bid to exclusively negotiate with the ACT Government.
Details of how to register for an auction are available as part of the sales documentation for each auction. It’s important that you register if you want your bid to be successful.
The differences between face-to-face and online auctions are as follows:
- During a face-to-face action, a bidder’s number will be provided which is held up to indicate to the auctioneer that the bidder wishes to place a bid.
- During an online auction, the platform will assign a bidder number and bids submitted digitally. The auctioneer accepts or rejects bids as required until bids reach the reserve price or above.
The successful bidder must sign a contract and pay a deposit at the time of their successful bid. Contracts will need to be settled by paying the outstanding amount on the sales price on or before the completion date as stated in the contract.
You should be aware that Land Rent is not available on blocks sold at auction.
From time to time the ACT Government offers land available for sale over the counter. This typically occurs when land has been offered for sale via a ballot or auction and blocks have been unsold or returned to the market.
Land available for sale over the counter is advertised here on the SLA website and sold directly through the ACT Government or through one of the ACT Government’s exclusive selling agents.
When blocks are available for sale through the ACT Government, relevant contact details will be provided here on the SLA website for you to make an appointment to purchase a block.
Once you have selected a block, you will sign a First Grant Contract to hold the block prior to your appointment to sign a contract. A sample copy of the contract terms will be available online. At this time you'll must also pay a deposit for your block
House and Land Packages
By choosing this option, you can buy land with a builder who already understands your block requirements and is ready to start building. The builder may also share potential designs for your house, to make it easier for you to visualise what your new home might look like.
Our partner builders can offer you expertise on house designs that make the most of your block’s features. They have chosen blocks suited to the unique type of home they build, potentially saving you time in the design process.
Once you have found the package to suit your needs, you exchange contracts with the Suburban Land Agency and simultaneously enter into a contract with the builder.
Suburban Land Agency’s partner builders have met our strict criteria for delivering house and land packages, including a past track record check. However, we encourage you to undertake due diligence and your own further research.
Find new releases and learn more about House and Land packages.
Step 4: Settle the sale
Talk to the right people
When it comes time to settle your purchase, you’ll receive a letter from our solicitor outlining what steps you can take next to confirm the sale.
There are 3 people to call at this stage:
- Your solicitor can advise you on next steps and help you assess and sign any contracts. If you haven’t got a solicitor, you can find one through the ACT Law Society.
- Your bank can confirm that your loan is approved and ready to go.
- A builder. If you haven’t got a builder yet, you can head to the ACT Master Builders Association website to find one and the Housing Industry Association website for helpful information on building.
When is my block ready to build on?
Settlement of the contract depends on when the block is ready to build on. The ACT Government may release land that isn’t ready to build on when the First Grant Contract is signed by the purchaser.
The front page of the First Grant Contract will outline an estimated date range for the completion of civil works. This means it is estimated that the civil construction of the estate will be complete, and all the appropriate certifications and approvals issued, within this period. This is known as Operational Acceptance, or when the estate is ‘Land Ready’.
More important questions on your settlement
Settlement is where the parties, or their legal representatives, meet to complete the contract. At settlement, you must pay the balance of the price to us.
The date for settlement will be determined upon the Crown lease for your block being served on you in accordance with the contract.
If you are obtaining finance, it is important that upon receiving the Crown lease, you arrange for all outstanding matters for your finance approval to be completed.
Our solicitor will provide a settlement statement, which sets out any adjustments to be made between the parties, the balance due on settlement and the bank cheques to be handed to our solicitor at settlement.
Upon the bank cheques being provided to our solicitor, you, or your legal representative, will receive the original signed Crown lease for the block you are purchasing.
If you are not able to settle, we recommend you speak with your legal representative as soon as possible and to obtain advice regarding your rights, potential liability, and options.
If you are not able to settle due to matters outside of your control, you may be eligible for an extension to settlement. The request should be made in writing to our solicitor with supporting evidence. Please note, a request for extension may result in additional costs being payable.
If you do not settle or complete the contract, you may be liable to pay liquidation damages and compensation to us pursuant to the contract.
Please note, fencing may remain erected along the boundary of the block until settlement occurs. If the block is fenced and your bank requires access for the purpose of carrying out a valuation of the property, please email [email protected] with your block and section number. We will arrange for access to be provided.
If the block is not fenced, your bank may carry out a valuation of the block without further notice to use being required.
The street address for the block is determined by the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate once the estate is complete and approved by the ACT Legislative Assembly pursuant to the Public Place Names Act 1989 (ACT). For more information, visit planning.act.gov.au.Once the street address for the block is approved, the street address for the block can be found using ACTMAPi at actmapi.act.gov.au
If you are eligible for a stamp duty concession or exemption, the concession or exemption code should be submitted with your Buyer Verification Declaration. The Buyer Verification Declaration must be completed prior to settlement and its details recorded on the Land Titles Office application form, which accompanies the Crown lease for registration.
The Buyer Verification Declaration informs the ACT Revenue Office of your application for the concession or exemption.
Further information regarding eligibility and the concession or exemption code can be found at revenue.act.gov.au under ‘Home Buyer Assistance’.
Step 5: Start building
The Sales team at SLA is available to answer any questions that potential buyers may have about the land purchasing process, including information about land releases, sales methods, and settlement procedures.
For more information regarding the sales process please contact the Sales Team on 1800 777 952 or [email protected]