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multi-residential development, the key trends

The Australian dream of home ownership is trending towards multi-unit apartments and townhouses, which offer inner-city lifestyles, suit smaller households and help avoid the high costs of residential land. But these smaller homes don’t necessarily mean that their residents are missing out. In fact these smaller apartments with a creative approach to planning can be incredibly high quality and offer a beautiful home.

In this edition we share with you some of the key trends we are seeing in multi residential developments.

1. A more creative approach to land use
Today’s multi residential developments can achieve a whole lot more on block sizes with a creative approach to master planning and design. There is often a lot more potential available than what has been traditionally gone before. Some examples include adjusting orientation and layout of the building to achieve greater yield and thus making it more affordable, as well as making the most of design to suit how the owners want to live.  On the recent Turton Road Development it was designed with an external living space, which was well connected with the inside rather than a backyard. The space is incredibly functional with a connected inside/outside room and at the same time incredibly low maintenance.

2. Street aesthetics
Often multi-residential developments will be built in older inner city suburbs so street aesthetics are important to ensure that the building will be attractive to buyers. This can be achieved using a tone and style in keeping with the surrounds, or alternatively designing a building that stands out to be noticed and is highly desirable. Landscaping is also a way to make a development more enticing with lush surroundings creating high desirability in residential developments.

3. Environmental performance
More so than ever people are looking at the environmental performance of their home, but primarily how it can reduce their bills rather than cost them more money. In multi-residential developments water tanks, choice of lighting, blinds, awnings and orientation can harness the sunlight and breezes to reduce energy consumption.

4. Flexibility in choice
In purchasing of the plan buyers want flexibility of materials that they can customise their home. Options such as benchtops, tiles, higher quality fittings and fixtures are incredibly important and can make all the difference in their selection of property.

5. Carparking
Depending on the location of the development carparking is important. In inner city locations at least one carpark is expected if not two. In outer suburb locations where there is street parking less carparking can be given. In planning a development this can often be a balancing act between the demands of the buyer and the yield to be achieved. For example when designing top end apartments close to the beach we look for two spaces as opposed to locations marketed for affordability where one is generally acceptable.

6. Location
In Newcastle there are some key locations that are desirable for multi-residential development, these can be inner city, beachside or in the suburbs. The trend of these locations is based around the buyer. We are seeing first homebuyers flock to multi-residential developments in the suburb locations as a more affordable way to get into property. We are also seeing baby boomers choose the lifestyle of inner city or close to the beach, choosing apartments as they decide to downsize.

In regards to the profile of buyer when speaking to Mathew Dein from Dowling at Wallsend they are seeing many of the buyers who purchase multi-residential developments in the suburbs are owner-occupiers and investors. He says that “The quality of multi-residential developments we are seeing in the Hunter is higher than ever before and offering them a real incentive to decide on apartment living rather than a home”.

We think that this trend is set to continue as more people choose to downsize their homes and the quality of multi-residential apartments continues to improve offering highly sought after developments with less maintenance and  greater efficiency.

Written by Jon Webber, Director at Webber Architects 

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