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“A nice sized block” – VY. How’s 150sq m sound?

By Gungahlin Al - 1 September 2007 21

The ACT Government has released a new policy to allow “compact housing” down to as small as 150 square metres. ABC’s story is here.

The policy is here.

Of note is that this is NOT a draft policy. It has been released as an Interim Planning Policy pending release of the redrafted Territory Plan later this year. I believe this means that DAs lodged in accordance with it between now and then could be approved.

As  a community representative on the Minister’s Territory Plan Reference Panel and at ACTPLA’s regular Planning and Development Forums, I’m interested in people’s thoughts on the policy and implementation.

What’s Your opinion?

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21 Responses to
“A nice sized block” – VY. How’s 150sq m sound?
Thumper 8:10 am 03 Sep 07

Seems a reasonable idea to stuff as many people into as smaller space as possible.

Terrace housing can look neat and lots of people seem to like no yards.

However, the word slum does come to mind.

(And I’d rather have a yard the size of a cricket field…)

nyssa76 8:10 pm 02 Sep 07

I’d be better off squatting and then staking claim like that welfare guy did in the UK.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with 7:16 pm 02 Sep 07

One of the really interesting things about the Canberra property market is that it doesn’t seem to operate consistent with the rule of ‘further out is cheaper’. Of course, properties close to Parliament House (freestanding structures) usually do well, but there are still lots of examples of unit/apartment type properties being similar in price but very dissimilar in desirability of location. Take Braddon for example, where earlier this year nice 2 bedroom units could be had for not much more than 300k (I bought a good one 5 mins walk to the city for 322k a few months ago). If you go 30 minutes south, similar properties aren’t actually much cheaper. I think, though, that the Canberra market has surged quietly in the last couple of months, and maybe this is ‘rectifying’ the situation. It’s ultimately worth remembering that as population grows, the number of people competing for the same property grows, thus increasing the price. Interestingly, I don’t think investors have much to do with price growth, because most investors seek to get a good deal, at a price perceived to be below market – they don’t buy emotionally like many first (and subsequent) home buyers do.

Just food for thought. I think more land release is a good thing, but having mostly smaller new blocks will eventually drive up the price of large block properties. Right up.

Pandy 6:57 pm 02 Sep 07

Gawd. It says 250 metres square

sepi 9:34 am 02 Sep 07

Apparently there is huge demand for smaller places on smaller blocks with no steps anywhere (even the front door), and small courtyard gardens. Retirees want these sorts of places, and cos they can’t find them they are staying in their 4 beddies in curtin etc.

Maelinar 6:48 am 02 Sep 07

VY hinted at the true problem behind affordable housing; he’s an investor looking for a deal.

Between himself and the 300,000 other Canberrans looking for a nice deal, life’s not so rosy for the poor little first home buyer with a knocked up missus looking at a lifetime of ass lard development, and a part time job at maccy d’s.

Compared with, for strictly examples sakes, VY who already owns a property and has oodles of disposable income…

What we really need, is for the old coots to give up the ghost, move to the coast, or otherwise bugger off elsewhere. They’re holding up natural sequence and causing the current cancer.

If the Government released the land for full open-market development, but also directed an appropriately leveled campaign, one that I call the ‘Canberra’s-a-shit-place-to-retire-in’ campaign, would be no different, if not more successful, than releasing land targeted at ‘first home buyers’.

And Canberra wouldn’t look like coronation street either. Funnily enough, it’s on the telly where I am at the moment, I’m finding it quite ironic, although I’d love to see a Rovers Return in Canberra…

Glimmertwins 11:02 pm 01 Sep 07

I think you’ll find it is a house AND land package for between $200,000 and $300,000

VYBerlinaV8 now_with 9:48 pm 01 Sep 07

Well, it would be poor of me not make a comment here I think, so here’s a couple:
1) No way would I choose this for myself. I currently live on something over 700sqm, so no way would I be paying more for a smaller piece of land.
2) They could still be good investment properties, as I’m sure there’d be strong rental demand for a nicely appointed and well located townhouse, and the depreciation schedule on a new property looks nice too, so I might still buy a few of them.

But just because it isn’t my cup of tea, don’t think I’m bagging them: they could be really nice for people who aren’t interested in gardens or large homes.

jr 8:36 pm 01 Sep 07

@Gungahlin Al:

I am in Ngunnawal. I have a 3 bedroom, single garage (town)house, which has a living area of 125 m2. My block is 268.7 m2. (my immediate neighbours have blocks of 260.7 m2 and 260.6 m2 respectively and a similar though not identical floorplan).

The houses are separate titled (no body corporate), with an “air gap” of 10mm between each of the properties (i.e no shared walls), but we do share common tiling on the roof… difficult to explain but it works. I can not hear my neighbours and they can not hear me (even with their stereo pumped)

It works and it works well mainly because there is a good mix of housing in the street (a range of modest housing types and no mansions built on postage stamp sized blocks).

Another reason why it works is it is not the Gungahlin Town Centre “Coronation Street”, entire block cookie cutter development.

What I do find scary is that I am sure I heard correctly on the Friday ABC TV news (and I’d have to sit down and replay Friday’s edition to confirm that I heard correctly…) is that these blocks will sell for between $200,00-$300,000. Now if that is without the house then that is hardly affordable housing.

Finally unless sensible common-sense planning is used to ensure that these smaller blocks are well distributed in newer estates and vast areas do not end up being identical smaller block (as per the “Coronation Street” mistakes already perpetuated in Gungahlin), future residents will be able to congratulate the ACT Government and bureaucrats on the creation of planned slums.

ant 7:54 pm 01 Sep 07

With Gunghalin, we saw the emergence of smallish blocks, with huge houses on them, and the prices are horrific. Maybe this kind of development, especially with “normal” places all around, will see them cheap enough for lower income earners, single people, old people and the many who cannot service a $300k loan.

hk0reduck 7:46 pm 01 Sep 07

The above is in reference to the below.

compact blocks shall be located opposite high quality open space. If this is not possible, then located
within the vicinity of 100m from high quality open space or parkland or alternatively adjacent to a wide
verge with high quality landscaping and medium sized street trees;

hk0reduck 7:45 pm 01 Sep 07

JD115 5:44 pm 01 Sep 07

I reckon the ugliest housing in Canberra is a little enclave of the type of townhouses the plan is advocating in the middle of Nicholls, it’s a little loop street on its own with… shall we say ‘distinctive’ look… of fugly dwellings all jammed in together. Krantzcke Cct is the place, rather apt for a dog’s breakfast all jammed in like sausages…

sepi 3:29 pm 01 Sep 07

How would it work – terrace style housing might be ok. As long as there aren’t whole suburbs of it, to become slums later on. If it is like units, but you own the land and have street access that would probably be ok. They’d want to be cheap. And have good sound insulation, with the neghbours right there.

noodle 2:08 pm 01 Sep 07

This is an interesting idea, and one I’d like to hear more about. If managed well and constructed properly I can immediately think of two types of people this type of housing might suit – young people trying to get into their first home, and retired people who want to remain in their suburb but in a smaller house without a large garden. I’ve had a look through the policy. One thing I don’t understand at this stage are the rules relating to cars and car parking. Thinking of some older relatives, I know their preference would be to have car parking access from the street (close to their front door) rather than round some back alley which can be scary at night. But as terrace housing I think this could be quite attractive.

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