Here are some of the trends I am seeing;
- 1. Walkability to public transport - particularly rail - is increasingly important in driving capital growth against a backdrop of significant Melbourne population growth & with it increased traffic congestion
- 2. Melburnians are increasingly happy to live on smaller blocks of land in well designed properties that maximise the effective utility of the available space & offer architectural or historical merit – ideally both. This needs to be coupled with walkability to public transport & the latte lifestyle. A recent example of this was the $1.3m for a 64 sqm block in Albert Park (yes you read that correctly 64 sqm) achieved for a site with approved plans for a single dwelling three level townhouse. Our mantra that land should be viewed from a “qualitative” rather a “quantitive” dimension is getting stronger.
- 3. The shrinking backyard - as the price of land per sqm rapidly increases – backyard sizes are rapidly decreasing. The flow on effect being that buyers are putting increased value on walkability to local parks and open spaces.
- 4. The state government planners are winning – they have sought to where possible concentrate population growth in middle & inner ring of suburbs rather than the outer suburbs. They have allowed developers to buy houses on large blocks & replace them with apartment blocks, multiple townhouses or dual occupancy. Between 2006 & 2016 circa 400,000 more people have moved into the suburbs within 20km of the CBD with nearly 200,000 of those living within 10km from the CBD.
- 5. Multi purpose spaces – driven by necessity given the cost of real estate e.g. Euro laundries in bathrooms of houses not just apartments, retractable or hidden desk areas within a living room rather than a dedicated study. Car stackers & turntables increasingly being used, a willingness to park on street – when land is $10k a sqm a 6m x 3m garage or parking space looks really expensive!!
- 6. Energy efficient home design We would like to think that this is because people are becoming more environmentally aware - however I suspect its more about the rapid increase on energy prices.
- 7. Commercial products being used in residential fit outs e.g. commercial scale windows & doors, commercial kitchen fittings.
- 8. What isn’t a trend is the consistent demand for heritage properties - particularly Victorian & art deco. They are timeless in their style & are particularly sought after if they have renovation potential. There is an increasing demand for well located 1960s properties - an era when architects were conscious of bringing in light & providing rooms of generous volume. The build quality in this period in a general sense was superior to what is constructed now.