Twenty years ago in most Lake Macquarie suburbs, hardiplank was the trend in building. It was popular because you could paint the house any colour you wanted (one client painted her house purple and pink) and it was very cost effective and quick to build.
In most recent times the majority of houses being built are rendered brick with a combination of brick and colorbond. This has been brought about due to strict bushfire zoning restrictions imposed on most land estates. There are circumstances where houses have a brick façade and the sides and back of the house are clad in colorbond. This adds an interesting feature and provides the opportunity for a variety in colour as well as meeting the bushfire restrictions.
A full brick veneer is still the most expensive way to build, however a combination of brick and colorbond provides an architectural difference to the home as well as being cost effective.