Families  head for  life in  the sticks
Place we'll call home: Glenn and Sue Briggs with their children Austin, Maya and Fletcher at their new block in Banksia Grove. Picture: Steve Ferrier/The West Australian

Vacant land in Perth's outer suburbs is being snapped up at rates not seen for years in what experts say is a sign developers are meeting the increased demand for blocks.

Real Estate Institute of WA figures show vacant land sales rose in Perth, with 930 blocks sold, up from 820 in the March quarter.

Most were in Perth's outer suburbs, which had 84 per cent of all land sold in the metropolitan area in the past three months.

North-western areas, including Joondalup and Wanneroo, were the most popular of the outer regions in the past six months, counting for 3500 of Perth land sales, closely followed by the South West with 3400.

The real estate institute's Stewart Darby said the sway towards new developments in outer suburbs was a sign the areas were not only more popular, but developers were able to meet steadily increasing demand for new homes and supply land quickly.

"Clearly, there's been some strong demand but the important thing is supply has caught up with demand . . . it's certainly a very encouraging sign," he said.

In the past six months, 12,100 blocks sold in Perth's outer suburbs - compared with just 1200 largely subdivided blocks in Perth's inner suburbs.

Driven by cheaper land prices, Sue and Glenn Briggs opted to build a home for their family of five in the outer northern suburb of Banksia Grove.

They paid $242,000 for the 462sqm block on which they plan to build a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home. "It was really a process of elimination," Mrs Briggs said.

"We didn't have a lot of choice in the price range we were looking at. The sizes of the blocks and the prices were the reason."

Mrs Briggs, who works in Morley, said families in her area were able to get "everything we need" within 15 minutes of their home.

"For us, we don't see it as a long way out," she said.

But Curtin University sustainability expert Peter Newman said though properties were cheaper, residents faced higher transport costs.

"We are only providing housing on the fringe," Professor Newman said.

"We can't provide infill and we can't do it at prices that are cheap enough.

"It's becoming totally unsustainable. The amount of fuel you need to run a city like that is unbelievable."

The West Australian

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