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Master Builders Profile - Matthew Bell


Words by Ausbuild

Dec 19, 20233 min read
Master Builders Profile - Matthew Bell

With more than two decades of experience in the construction industry, Matthew has covered numerous aspects of the business –

from sales and marketing to onsite project and contract management.

However, his passion lies in housing design and product development, as he enjoys being involved in the development of Ausbuild’s innovations and bringing these exciting products to life.

“I’ve always had a passion for building and construction, even as a young boy, and while I grew up in the industry, it was a conscious decision to pursue a career in the sector,” he said. Matt said the ever-changing nature of the industry keeps things exciting.

“There is deep satisfaction in creating new communities and homes for people. I will never forget the first time I handed over keys to a new homeowner... 20 years on and we’re now handing over hundreds of keys per year – that feeling never gets old.

Being part of an industry that continues to deliver the great Australian dream is incredibly rewarding.” Married with three teenagers, Matt said he counts himself lucky that he’s been able to build both his family and his business over the past two decades.

“When I’m not working, my days are filled with enjoying them and everything they are into. I spend a lot of time on the sidelines of footy fields or netball courts. I have a strong family focus which means it’s a busy, but very fulfilling life.”

He has seen the building industry grow and change over time. “The biggest challenge, and opportunity, has been a growing population, and the changes to the way we live and where we live, product innovation, and local planning laws have influenced housing types and densities.

“We’ve had to apply some clever thinking to home design, which responds to pricing and the cyclical nature of the property market, but we are also influenced by what home buyers want in their place of residence.” Over the years, the team at Ausbuild have seen basic brick-and-mortar homes on 600 sqm+ blocks replaced with huge innovation in housing types and products and a greater focus on community.

“Population growth continues to drive our approach – from buying sites in high-growth regions like Moreton Bay and Logan, to the way we challenge size and lot types. “When people are buying homes, they look beyond the home and street – they want broader community amenities, so that’s sharpened our focus as a developer to create a footprint outside the home.

We complement all our estates with community and social infrastructure such as childcare centres and swim schools, and we look at the commercial viability of additional amenities.”

Success habits

Matt puts value in a work/life balance and tries to keep his life before and after work as consistent as possible. “When I’m at home, I’m there for family, and when I’m at work, I’m there for our team. The ability to switch off has been a hard lesson, but 20 years in business has meant creating good habits to focus on what’s most important,” he said.

Established in 1988 by Ron Loney and Graham Bell, Ausbuild has developed into one of Queensland’s most respected property companies. “Our business success is founded on a strong family partnership. I’ve known my two business partners, Matthew and Michael Loney since primary school, and together, we watched our fathers grow an incredible company.

“Ausbuild has been in our DNA, but we’ve had to learn to work together and create shared goals,” Matt said. Driven by strong values around honesty and transparency and never backing away from tough discussions, Matt said the power of a strong partnership works because there’s trust, respect, and balanced decision-making.

“As a team, we focus on forward planning and developing a strategy beyond what’s going on today and tomorrow. At a minimum, we look three years ahead in terms of acquisition, development planning, stock pipelines, product innovations, and releases. We generally know our destiny 12–24 months ahead,” he said.

Standout project

Matt has high praise for Ausbuild’s Thornlands project, Esperance, a 250-lot subdivision that came with challenges, but ended up with a rewarding outcome. “We challenged the local planning scheme and zoning which stipulated a dense townhouse development and instead created a small lot housing solution.

The outcome was freehold, titled properties that had lot size variance, where we were able to balance price diversity and housing product in a very tight market.

“It attracted first homeowners who typically wouldn’t have been able to purchase property in the area. Eight years on, I still drive around that community, and I’m proud of what we achieved there – it’s a really unique neighbourhood,” he said.

Future projects

Ausbuild is currently developing its largest residential community in the company’s history, Montrose, at Morayfield. According to Matt, Morayfield has had annual growth in the market of eight per cent on average over the past 10 years.

“We are currently developing a 700-lot subdivision set among a 12–hectare conservation corridor, walking trails, four parks, and playground, and we have plans for an on-site childcare centre there too,” he said. The Sanctuary at Warner is another project on the Ausbuild plans.

Matt said, “We have invested $11m into environmental and sustainability outcomes at Warner.”

Get to know Matthew Bell

Daily routine:
I start every day with an 8km walk with my wife and end it around the dinner table with the kids.

Family time:
Anything that gets me outside. As a family, we really enjoy the water – boating, fishing, beach cricket.

Life advice:
We always take the school holidays with the kids, and that’s helped me to avoid burnout.

This article is reproduced with permission from the Oct-Dec 2023 edition of Master Builder magazine. You can view the Master Builders website here, and download a copy of the whole issue here