Subdividing land to maximise land value and what you must know

It has become increasingly harder for young individuals and families to get onto the property ladder thanks to exorbitant land and house prices, associated property fees and stamp duty. By contrast, families who chose to buy property a few decades ago may be sitting pretty in today’s property market as the value of their property has, no doubt, multiplied. If you’re thinking about subdividing your land to maximise the land value, here are five things you should know.

Parents who may be empty nesters are trying to find ways to help their children enter the property market, and one option they’re considering is by subdividing their land. This option can be a great (and very generous) idea, but some considerations must be made from a property characteristic perspective before making a subdivision decision.

Some context about the North Shore and Northern Beaches

The population of Sydney’s Northern Beaches and North Shore sits at just over 330,000, based on the 2016 national census. The area defined as Northern Beaches covers 254km2. Of this area, 17km2 is protected bushland. The North Shore covers an additional 80km2.

Both councils have strategic programs designed to protect the local environment and their eco-systems – from a plant, wildlife, biodiversity and bushfire zone perspective. Before making the subdivision decision, it is critical to meet with Northern Beaches and North Shore subdivision consultants like our team at Playoust Churcher to guide you through this five-step process.

Five steps to take when considering land subdivision

Making a numerical land subdivision decision on paper is an easy but ineffective solution to subdividing your property. Here are five environmental subdivision steps we work through with our clients when deciding whether to subdivide.

Desktop assessment

We first conduct a desktop assessment when meeting with clients interested in subdividing their land. This is not only to see the land’s numerical value but also to consider the environmental zoning restrictions.

Zoning restrictions have the potential to sterilise a site entirely and extinguish the opportunity to do anything with a piece of land that may fall within designated protection zones.

Physical site visit

We know this may seem like a no-brainer, but often people neglect to visit the property before making decisions around the subdivision.

A physical site visit will afford us insights that would be impossible to extract from a digital map or property plan. We need to discern the types of trees on the site and whether they are endangered. We also need to determine whether the land is within a riparian zone (land alongside creeks, streams, gullies, rivers or wetlands) as these come with another set of development restrictions. Underground networks, bushfire zones and stormwater drainage are all other assessments that can only be done on a physical site visit.

Consult the environmental experts

At this stage of the subdivision process, we call in the environmental and planning experts to determine the project’s feasibility.

We consult with our arborists and planning partners to define the site restrictions and where we can and can’t make provisions to develop or subdivide.

There have been situations where a large block of land, based on a minimum lot subdivision size could possibly yield 7 lots, however, due to environmental constraints such as endangered trees and associated wildlife the development potential or lot yield is greatly reduced.


By harnessing the information and insights we have garnered from steps one through three, we are in a much better position to make subdivision recommendations and start the design process.

We then push the architecture and design envelope by generating the lot design from the site constraints.

Zone restrictions can also determine whether we can design a single or multi-level home. When multigenerational living is the motivator for land subdivision decisions, the style of home can influence the size and accessibility, which become key determining factors in multigenerational homes.

Subdivision feasibility and cost analysis

On many larger North Shore sites the land size is greater than 1500m² of land, allowing for a large family home and associated ancillary spaces, such as pools and cabanas. When assessing the subdivision potential or conducting a feasibility analysis of environmentally zoned sites, many factors need to be considered.

We have decades of experience understanding the subdivision of land on the North Shore and Northern Beaches. For clients wanting to understand the possibilities available to them, we can determine what type of subdivision strategy would work for you.

Ready to subdivide? Contact us and find out more about what we do to help make the right subdivision decision that considers the local environment.

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11 Marian Street
Killara NSW 2071

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