HONG KONG BUYERS can step out of their high-rises and into the traditional Australian way of life at a new 'home lifestyle' development near Sydney's urban heart. Botanica Estate, the latest project by prominent developer Australand, eschews the constraints of apartment living by offering full-sized homes, each with front lawns and backyards and a double garage. To ensure owners can enjoy Sydney's lifestyle benefits without spending their weekends mowing, the residences, called 'town homes', are on manageable-sized allotments. 'They are designed to cater for modern-day expectations,' said Edmond Lai Kwok-cheung, Australand's manager of Asian sales. Botanica at Lidcombe is one of Sydney's largest residential property developments, with 720 luxury homes set on a 44-hectare site. Its seven hectares of parks and gardens include a significant heritage area dating back to the turn of the century. Botanica is an easy 14km from the Sydney CBD, centrally located to some of the best shopping centres and markets in Sydney, and well served by different levels of public and private schools. The homes offer high-quality finishes and fixtures, including well-equipped kitchens, two bathrooms plus powder room, large, open-plan dining, family and living areas, huge main bedrooms with built-in wardrobes, paved courtyards and professionally landscaped gardens. From an investment perspective, all indicators point to a demand for quality dwellings in Sydney that exceeds supply. The Real Estate Institute of New South Wales reports rental vacancy rates in Sydney are at a five-year low, and residential rental yields are climbing. The Housing Industry Association of Australia chief economist Simon Tennent said that for buyers, flat interest rates, tax cuts, election promises and government stamp duty concessions all translated to improving housing affordability. 'The Reserve Bank of Australia has made it perfectly clear that monetary policy settings as they stand now are stimulatory. 'Building and construction has cemented its role as a key driver of the Australian economy, constituting over 20 per cent to economic growth in Australia [last year],' Mr Tennent said. Buyers can select from a range of three or four bedroom luxury homes (some with separate studio loft), town homes and terraces at Botanica, priced from A$514,000 ($3.07 million). Mr Lai said that once the first phase of 60 homes had been sold, prices for the next phase would be 5 per cent higher. 'The first release is priced aggressively to kick-start the development. With the higher replacement cost of building today, prices can only go one way.' The homes will be ready for occupancy by December. For more information about Botanica Estate, call Mr Lai at Australand on 2810 9210.