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off the shelf apartments

Off the shelf apartments are coming…

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Have you checked to see if your street and suburb is about to be developed with off the shelf apartments?

The Victorian Government has released an interactive mapping tool showing the precise location where off-the-shelf apartments can be built.

What is an off-the-shelf apartment I hear you ask… (had to research it a bit myself 😳)

During certain periods over the last hundred years, the Victorian Government created standard designed homes that builders had pre-approval to build. Think of the interwar years (1920 – 30s) or the baby boomer years (1950-60’s). Home designs like Californian Bungalows dominated suburbs. They could be built quickly, and I assume relatively cheaply given the savings in design and planning. Drive around today you will see street after street of similarly designed homes.

The Victorian Government have now applied the same idea to apartment development. This is to help deliver on their ambitions (some say unachievable) plan to deliver 800,000 new homes over 10 years.  These apartment buildings are predesigned and now with planning approval for developers to start building. The designs can be purchased off-the-shelf for $150.

Branded as “Future Homes” the land needs to meet certain criteria to permit an off-the-shelf apartment development. It needs to be within 800 metres of a train station, or activity centre, and not
controlled by heritage or neighbourhood character.

The other small catch is the size of the block needs to be a minimum of about 900 sqm to 1,200 sqm. Most house blocks are 500 sqm – 650 sqm. So it needs an unusually large site or two adjoining blocks to fit the design. I think we can expect agents to start door knocking these streets to find friendly neighbours who are both willing to sell.

To see if your home is in an area identified as suitable for future homes click here

The green shaded areas shows the eligible future home lots.

There is much more detail about Future Homes here including a picture of the off-the-shelf apartment design.

Needless to say,  some people will be very unhappy about the prospect of a 3 level apartment building constructed in their street. As frustrating and painful as it may be, the weight of demand for housing and the pressure on the government to make it available is immense.

If you are in one of these areas, you may wish to get on the front foot and pop in next door for a cuppa and a chat about combining your properties to make a suitable development site. It will be interesting to see if your property is worth more on its own to a new home buyer or as part of a combined development site. If it is worth more as a standalone home, you will be unlikely to look into this much further. However, vacant or run down properties may be more likly candidates.

Another big question remains. Does it stack?

In other words, it is financially viable? Let’s suppose you are a developer. You have found a dual site to buy. You have bought the off-the-shelf apartment design from Spring Street. Then considering the cost of construction, labour shortages, interest rates, land tax, marketing and selling costs, etc and thinking about what the apartments will be worth on completion, is it a viable project for you? Will you make money or not, taking into account all the risks?

If the answer is no, then not too many off-the-shelf apartments projects will be built.

Hopefully there is a way through the current housing shortage and new apartments are built somewhere and somehow to provide much-needed housing.

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Written by a 4th generation real estate agent Apartments Made Easy gives you the tools and tells you all you need to know about how to buy, sell, own, lease, and manage your apartment successfully.

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