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A streetscape of a row of two-storey homes with a footpath and nature strip stretching into the distance.

In 2006, Renewal SA and Peet Limited (then CIC Australia) joined forces to transform 90 hectares of vacant land at Northgate into a well-considered masterplanned community, featuring high quality homes and wide-open green spaces, with opportunities for residents to gather, meet, mingle, play and foster strong connections.

Sixteen years on, with the project now complete, we sat down with resident Todd Zadow to see what life is really like in the award-winning community, Lightsview.

Name: Todd Zadow

Age: 41

Lightsview resident since: December 2021

Marital Status: Single

Pets: Oscar, the West Highland Terrier

Occupation: Admin worker

Tell us about your journey to home ownership?

This is my first home, so it is a pretty big deal for me.

It was definitely a long-term goal. In my early 30s, when I was originally sketching out a plan, it felt like it was going to be such a long way off. I did and redid my budget over and over whenever anything changed. I set mini goals as well. I probably saved for four or five years. I was really lucky too because my parents were kind enough not to charge me rent.

And then, I guess, lucky or unlucky COVID rolled around and that obviously forced me to stay in, so I was saving throughout that period, and then the home builder grant came along and helped give me a nudge as well. Building a home, wasn’t something I had originally considered, but when the government incentive came out, I thought I may as well put my feelers out and see if that was something that interested me.

It turned out that a lot of the homes that they were displaying for Lightsview were right up my alley. So I made an appointment to come in and speak to Mandy at the sales office and she was lovely. She helped me all the way along. And it was a smooth transition to view all the different homes and work out what was best for me.

I found the house first and then I saw a mortgage broker and I said to him, ‘I have to have this house!’. He was super helpful in getting everything through. Between Mandy at the sales office and my broker Greg, I lucked out. The turnaround on the build was very reasonable as well. It all just fell into place, and I’ve never looked back.

Lightsview resident, Todd Zadow, pictured outside a Lightsview home, with his right arm resting on the front fence and his small fluffy white dog at his feet.

What specifically about the homes at Lightsview caught your eye?

They were different. I was worried it would be a two-bedroom shoebox. These ones didn't feel cramped at all - plenty of light, plenty of modern designs and fixtures. It was new and modern, which is what I wanted most of all.

We often hear about home ownership being the great Australian dream. What was your motivation for getting into the property market?

Unofficially, the motivation was to keep away from the rental market. The landlord relationship has always stressed me out - having to live in somebody else's house, there's a lot of pressure there.

But it was a status thing that I had a goal that I was working hard towards. I wanted something that I could call my own.

What attracted you to Lightsview?

I was previously living in Mile End and every day, I would scour the internet, primarily on realestate.com.au. I was trying to get close to the city and Lightsview is obviously great distance wise, and a lot of their home and land packages looked great. I did a couple of walkthroughs on some of their open inspections and fell in love with the area and the houses that they were offering.

What you end up buying?

I got a two-bedroom house for myself and my dog, Oscar [a West Highland Terrier]. I'm very lucky, I’m across the road from one of the many parks. It's great to work from home, take the dog for a couple of laps around the park and have that to look out to on a sunny day.

How’s Oscar liking it?

He loves it. He's an elderly dog so he gets a lot of attention. We go for walks now and then and he loves the outdoorsy nature side of things.

Was having green space close by a key selling point for you?

100% The park across the road, and the particular house that I chose, because it does have a courtyard which I have turned into a little garden for Oscar. It was important to have that nature aspect to it.

What about the community itself? Do you know your neighbours and feel a sense of community?

I've met my neighbours and they're really lovely. I'm on the Lightsview Facebook group as well, so we post lots of community things, events or alerts and things like that. It’s definitely different from the quote unquote, ‘old days’ where you would just pop your head over the fence. It's more of an online digital interaction at times, but it's great to see the community vibe on the page. It’s unique. I love it.

And I’ve just joined the gym around the corner as well.

Wide angle shot of landscaped open green space at Lightsview, with two-storey homes lined up in the distance.

Image courtesy of Peet Limited

What’s an average weekend look like at Lightsview?

I try and get breakfast at Jibbi’s cafe, just around the corner which is very popular.

And then I will potter around the house or take the dog for a walk around the streets and check things out. There's lots of dogs around the neighbourhood as well which is great.

How does life continue to evolve at Lightsview?

It is still changing. They've put a box gym in where the sales office used to be, and they’re building across from the Woolworths at Northgate as well, so that's something exciting to look forward to. It's changing and growing at the same time, so I think that's great.

Do you think having a master-planned community has created that sense of community?

Definitely. The services provided have helped cement my love of my home. I think a lot of these newer suburbs that are popping up here and there that are just random houses, sort of hodgepodge all over the place, sometimes don't always end up as nicely as they have at Lightsview. You've got that frontage tying the houses to the array of parks for example.

What would life look like for you if you hadn’t secured a home at Lightsview?

I'd hate to think if I'd still be living with my parents! Otherwise, I would have had to move much further away out of the city. I think for the value and for what comes with the whole suburb, it was very lucky that I fell into this position.

Is it too early to say this is your ‘forever home’?

I’ve stopped going onto realestate.com, which is a great start! I'm not going to discount if I win Powerball or meet someone, but I'm very happy where I am at the moment and will be for the foreseeable future.

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