Back in 1978, our founder and CEO Peter Campbell decided to give all his time, knowledge and heart into designing and building homes for everyday Australian families. Peter’s career started as an engineering draftsman but part of the requirements of that job was an architectural drafting course. As a sideline, Peter started to draw house plans for home builders wanting to get council approval and after nine successful years with an engineering company, Peter decided to take his love of drawing houses further – buying a block of land, drawing up a house, building it and later selling it.
Whilst his first home didn’t make money, he gained a lot of experience and developed a desire to go even bigger, later buying another block of land at Emu Plains in Sydney’s outer west. This time, Peter added a double garage, an ensuite and family room and it must have worked as the house sold and made a profit.
In 1978, after taking on a couple of renovation jobs and building a house for someone, Peter soon realised that he could make a business out of it, so quit his job as a window salesman and took on more additions, alterations and couple of new houses as well as building a few more for himself. After realising how well it was all going, Clarendon Homes was born and Peter hired his first supervisor and soon after another supervisor, an assistant and a draftsman.
The Clarendon name was inspired by the suburb of Clarendon, located right next to Richmond, where Peter's father was based during his time in the Air Force. By the early 1980’s the company was doubling in size each year and by 1991, the company was building approximately 150 per year and employed 30 staff.
New divisions were established during the 1990’s as Peter identified opportunities within the residential property market. These included the house and land packaging business, Bellevale Homes and residential land development business Clarendon Estates. By 1995, the Clarendon group of companies was building approximately 400 new home per year and a couple of years later expanded into Queensland where it was soon recognised as the state’s largest builder of two-storey homes.
Another residential construction division, Domaine Homes NSW was established. By 1999, the Clarendon Property Group was building more than 2000 homes per year and was recognised as the largest residential builder in NSW and the seventh large construction company in Australia.
By 2004, Peter had five business partners and six business units in three states and were approached about selling the business to Investa Property Group. Investa acquired 40% of Clarendon Property Group and with this transaction, Peter resigned as Group Managing Director of Clarendon Property Group. One of the conditions of the sale was that Peter wasn’t to be involved in home building for at least three years, so for an extended period, he had nothing to do with the industry and instead chose to venture into commercial projects.
In late 2012, the opportunity arose for Peter to purchase back the Clarendon Group from Morgan Stanley who had acquired Investa and in the 2011-2012 financial year, Clarendon Homes had completed 565 homes, 386 of these in NSW. The transaction was completed in December 2012, returning Clarendon homes to its founder. After his return and a slump in the market, Peter found there was a lot of demand and the market was improving, so the business secured the Parklea Super Centre in North West Sydney which to this day is an important facet of the business.
In his role as CEO of Clarendon Homes, Peter is actively involved in the company’s business activities in NSW and QLD. With his years of experience in the industry, Peter’s seen many changes in home building including bigger homes and savvier buyers. ‘’Every year, houses seem to be bigger and have more inclusions. Even first home buyers now will not buy a three-bedroom home; it was to be four bedrooms, have an ensuite, a walk-in wardrobe and a double garage. There is a constant evolution and building methods are always changing and for the better’’.
In early 2016, Clarendon Homes expanded with Domaine Homes with a vision of helping families build modern home that are both affordable and stylish. Clarendon Homes’ current focus is on creating a big impact on a small block. As land prices rice, the size of blocks has shrunk, so to make them more affordable, Clarendon Homes has focused on creating home designs that are cost-efficient, economical and practical for smaller lots. ‘’A 300m2 block would have been a rarity four or five years ago, now it’s the norm. Today, a 450m2 block is considered a big block. Coming up with designs for restricted sites that are innovative, maximise space and meet clients’ lifestyle expectations, all at an affordable price, will be our ongoing challenge.’’
When asked to look ahead to the next few years, Peter sees the future as fine-tuning some of the trends we’re seeing now. ‘’In some ways, it’s not dissimilar to the auto industry where new models come out and the majority of the time, they’re variations of what went before. I see a steady evolution of what’s already here, such as better utilisation of space, more energy-efficient products and increased sustainability. And while there has been a big move to cities and apartment living, I predict that most home buyers will still want their block of land and a freestanding home.
To find your nearest Clarendon Homes’ display location and to chat to our team, please visit us on https://www.clarendon.com.au/qld or contact 13 63 93.