Finance Property Grandparents’ houses back in vogue

Grandparents’ houses back in vogue

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It’s a case of back to the future with a growing number of compact, 1950s and 1960s-style homes sprouting in outer suburban residential estates.

Affordability concerns and the government push for higher concentrations of homes in Australia’s urban fringe developments has seen a range of smaller residences emerge in recent years similar in size to the 11 to 13  (102sqm to 121sqm) dwellings which were so popular in earlier decades.

Spade Consultants director Chris McNeill says the proliferation of smaller housing lots – ranging from 350sqm to 450sqm – and accompanying compact residences has come about largely because of the need to provide more affordable homes.

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“We might be going back to the future because of the need to address the first homebuyer market,’’ says Mr McNeill, who is a former policy advisor to the Urban Development Institute of Australia.

“In the 1950s we had small houses on larger housing lots (550sqm to 1012sqm or a quarter acre), now and into the future we may well get smaller houses on significantly smaller housing blocks.’’

The demographer says those lot sizes in outer fringe estates could dip well below the average 400sqm to 450sqm lot.

1950s style living has its charms. Source: Shutterstock 

Villawood Properties executive director Rory Costelloe says his estates in urban fringe and regional areas include a “diverse range” of lot sizes to cater for different types of buyer.

But he agrees smaller lots with accompanying compact homes are on the increase to meet the demands of budget-driven first homebuyers.

“They are buying these products as my parents did back in 1963 in Cheltenham (an outer Melbourne suburb),’’ says Mr Costelloe, whose company has estates in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

“They (his parents) bought an 11-square (102sqm) house on a large block in a then greenfields site. There is no doubt people are building a smaller product, particularly for first homebuyers.’’

He says while developers and builders in the outer urban fringe are providing more lots per hectare (17 per hectare), “opportunities’’ are arising in infrastructure-rich “middle ring’’ suburbs for the building of compact and affordable housing to meet buyer demand.

“You have got to remember that that (17 lots per hectare) is a 70 per cent increase in density compared to the established middle-ring suburbs, which was 10 to the hectare.’’

Orbit Homes director Paul Millson says about 40 per cent of housing in new eastern seaboard estates in the two to five years will range in size from 12 (111sqm) to 17 (158sqm) squares.

“We get couples who are quite happy with a 14 square (130sqm) house,’’ says Mr Millson, whose company builds homes in Victoria and Queensland.

“These people are driven by the apartment lifestyle, which is becoming more acceptable. It involves less maintenance. We are going to see more of it. It’s all about affordability.’’

The Orbit director says some house and land (two bedrooms and a single garage on a small block) packages are available from $270,000 in Melbourne’s outer fringe estates.


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