Property Development Melbourne Just Got Harder
Once again in Victoria, it seems that the State Government along with many Nimby friendly councils and making property development Melbourne more difficult by maintaining the outdated notion that everybody wants to live in a house with a front and back garden.
New measures just implemented in March 2017 will make it mandatory for house blocks over 400 square metres in size to maintain between 25 – 35% garden, not including driveways or anything with a roof over it, such as a shed or car port. Think about that for a minute, a house block of 650 square metres that could be subdivided into two town houses must now have 195 square metres of garden, thats almost 100 square metres per town house.
In an age of retiring baby boomers who are often looking to downsize to single level villas or townhouses with modest outdoor areas, where they can sit outside, they idea of maintaining large gardens is not appealing. No longer will developers be able to maximise the use of the land and infill these large back gardens that so many Melbourne houses have. Consider many international cities, such as London and Paris, the idea of having 100 square metres of garden would be laughable.
There are a couple of exemptions to this rule. Properties of less than 400 square metres are exempt, this is because many inner city Melbourne houses are on land of this size or less. Also exempted are greenfield sites on the fringe of the city, many kilometres from the centre. This is probably to protect the large development companies that operate in this space and ensure that Melbourne just keeps on spreading.
With 200o people moving into Melbourne every week, there are not enough houses being built to accommodate them. The Planning Minister, in Plan Melbourne Refresh, has said he wants 70% of housing supply growth in Melbourne to come from infill development and only 30% to come from new suburbs. This latest initiative is going to make it harder to maximise the potential of a site in the affected zones.
Consider this, if you have just paid a lot of money for a house in a General Residential Zone (GRZ) in a suburb 15kms from the CBD and you are hoping to build a block of units to maybe 4 townhouses, you may have to think again. You may have just paid too much for the land, as you will no longer be able to develop it to its fullest potential. As you will now be required to have 35% garden, thats a whopping 315 square metres, three townhouses may now be your new limit.
I’m not a Town Planner and I am yet to consult one on this, but on the surface it appears that all houses between approximately 5kms and the fringe of Melbourne are all captured under this rule, except for the Residential Growth Zone (RGZ) and commercial zones.
For more information refer to Reformed Residential Zones- New Minimum Garden Area Requirements, published by the State Government