A cultural shift has changed the type of property we’re now building

A cultural shift in Australians’ attitude toward housing has been gathering pace.

Australians are choosing medium-density housing over free-standing houses.

Approvals for medium density-housing, including units, townhouses and semi-detached houses have overtaken those for free-standing houses for the first time, according to Bankwest’s 2016 housing density report.

The analysis of approvals underlines the momentum toward medium or higher density, as Australians change the way they live, with Queensland seeing the fastest growth in medium density housing approvals of any state.

Key findings:

  • 89.5 per cent of medium density approvals were for dwellings in Australia’s capital cities last year and just 10.5 per cent for
    regional centres.
  • More than half (57.4 per cent) of approvals in capital cities were for medium density dwellings compared with 23.1 per cent in regional areas.
  • The Brisbane property market experienced strong growth in the number of medium density approvals in the 12 months to November 2015, with its 19,775 approvals 64.8 per cent higher than the 12,002 recorded in the 12 months to November 2014.
  • Queensland is unique in the national context in that the capital city of Brisbane accounts for just 75.9 per cent of the state’s medium density approvals, compared with more than 96 per cent in the capital cities of Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth.
  • Darwin was the only capital city to witness a fall in medium density approval numbers, with 39.3 per cent fewer approvals in the 12 months to November 2015.
  • Four capital cities saw medium density account for more than half of all housing approvals in the year to November 2015. Canberra had the highest proportion (74.2 per cent), followed by Sydney (69.4 per cent), Brisbane (64.5 per cent) and Melbourne (57.9 per cent).
  • Nationwide, there are 225 out of 330 (or 68.2 per cent) of local areas3 where in the four years to November 2015, the proportion of medium density approvals was higher than the proportion of medium density housing that existed at the time of the 2011 Census.
  • Tuggeranong in the ACT is increasing its housing density faster than any other local area, topping the list for the fourth year in a row. Over the past four years, 75.5 per cent of dwelling approvals in Tuggeranong were for medium density dwellings, while back in 2011 only 14.8 per cent of existing housing in the area was medium density (a difference of 60.7 percentage points). The popularity of medium density housing could be attributed to the lifestyle preferences of its relatively younger working-age population.

Medium Density Trends
Screenshot 2016-03-25 23.11.29

Medium density trends 2


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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit Metropole.com.au

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