Wednesday, 6 July 2011

news.com.au: Backyard blitzed as Aussie dream shrinks

House prices in Australia's capital cities have fallen 2.7 per cent through the first five months of 2011.
 Roxanne Lawrence, Enrico Sedita and son Jordayne, 15 months, at their 266sq m Maroochydore house block. Picture: Megan Slade Source: The Sunday Mail (Qld)

THE great Australian dream faces a major reality check, with new home buyers being offered house blocks a quarter the size their parents bought.

As developers look to meet a market with more affordable house-and-land options, lot sizes are being squeezed to less than 200sq m for the first time.
Back yards, which have been shrinking for decades and in recent times have been swallowed by a pool and deck, may soon disappear.
Queensland developers have been closely following the downsizing trend, which has surged in the US since the global financial crisis, and sprouted in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria.
John Thurtell, general manager of Sunshine Coast-based builders PJ Burns, recently returned from a fact-finding mission to the US where he toured master-planned communities.
Mr Thurtell said the era of the McMansions had ended and small lots were in demand.
"We are now making sure we are ready for the arrival of rear-loaded blocks here. This could be as soon as the end of the year," he said.
A rear-loaded, or laneway, lot is one where a garage is built at the back, allowing car access via a laneway.
"There could be house-and-land packages for around $320,000, so it's very exciting news for those looking to buy their own home. We think they will sell like hotcakes."
Mr Thurtell admitted yards would disappear and "terrace" block sizes would be as small as 7.5m by 25m (187sq m total).
Mr Thurtell said the loss of the back yard followed a trend where people were happy to have low-fuss outdoor areas and pursue social and sporting interests away from home.
"There will need to be great innovation for us to provide three-bedroom homes with an ensuite, double garage at the back, walk-in robes and a drying court. We are looking to caravans and even boats for inspiration," he said.
Developer Stockland, which has the 50,000-resident Caloundra South project on its books, will release 111 lots between 187sq m and 250sq m at its Bellvista II estate at Little Mountain by early 2012.
The Urban Land Development Authority is close to amending and finalising its blueprint for Caloundra South, which could be approved by the Queensland State Government as early as October.
Stockland Sunshine Coast development manager Troy Wainright confirmed Stockland was working with council and the ULDA on plans to introduce a range of affordable housing and smaller block sizes into its communities.
"This is not just about affordability, but also liveability. More efficient block sizes situated near parks, public transport, places of employment and other amenities will make people less reliant on their cars," Mr Wainright said.
Investa Property Group's Queensland general manager Bruce Harper said it was inevitable more rear-loaded blocks about 200sq m would be included in upcoming estates, including his company's 7500-home Palmview project. Mr Harper said 5 per cent of homes in new communities were single storey, but he predicted this would rise to 40 per cent within five years.
Leading social analyst David Chalke said the rise of the small block was inevitable as the great Australian dream received a timely reality check.
"The days of kids kicking the footy with dad in the back yard are over and sporting pursuits are now likely to be more formal, organised - and expensive," he said.
Mr Chalke said smaller house-and-land packages would open up the market and be a better use of resources.
He said for many, it also was a more attractive option than high-rise living.
Lot sizes as small as 187sq m (7.5m wide by 25m deep) will be offered as part of southeast Queensland developments by early 2012Official pricing has not been set, but industry sources say they could be priced between $130,000 and $150,000, with house-and-land packages from $320,000Only 2 per cent of blocks in new estates are larger than 600sq m
Average block sizes:
1950s: 32-36 perches (810sq m-910sq m)1980-90s: 600sq m2000s: 350 - 450sq m2012: 200sq m - 350sq m
View the original article here

2 comments:

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