Melbourne is often touted as one of the world’s most liveable cities.
But a growing trend of smaller and poorly-conceived apartments will threaten that status if regulations aren’t tightened, say officials.
Comparatively, in Sydney, recently-passed minimum size requirements angered some who believe they will further drive up the already astronomical housing prices.
Melbourne’s problem has been on the radar of officials since 2013, when a Future Living discussion paper outlined the decreasing quality of CBD apartments.
“A lack of clear planning policy outcomes together with current BCA requirements is resulting in poor apartment quality in Melbourne,” argued the paper.
As well as bedrooms with no natural light, low ceilings and second bedrooms just five metres squared, the paper outlined the difficulty of performing simple everyday tasks such as sitting to eat at a dining table or getting dressed with the wardrobe open.
The paper partly blamed the booming investment market in Melbourne for turning apartments into “financial commodities” rather than homes.
“Approximately 85 per cent of apartments in the City of Melbourne are being bought by investors,” it said.
A recommendation by Victoria’s State Architect to increase the minimum size of Melbourne apartments to 50 square metres is yet to be approved, while Sydney recently approved a mandatory minimum of 58 square metres, meeting protest from those already struggling with the current average apartment price of $568,000.
It’s not all bad news for apartment living in Melbourne, however, with developer Cbus Property currently working on ‘Assembly’, a small group of apartments with a boutique focus in North Melbourne, as well as the recently-completed 88 Alfred Street in Milson’s Point, Sydney – a 123-apartment complex featuring generous open plan living areas and master bedrooms facing the inimitable Sydney Harbour.
During his tenure, ex-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg championed the value of micro apartments for increasing living options in an overcrowded city and recently the city’s first “micro-unit building” was completed, with units starting at just 24 metres squared.
Although tiny, the apartments are touted to have all the natural light, ventilation and amenities one needs, albeit on a far smaller scale.
With over 4000 applications per apartment received, it’s clearly not just size that makes an apartment, but thoughtfulness of design too.
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