SIZING UP A GOOD BUY
What is the perfect fit in Melbourne’s market of shrinking apartments
WHEN looking for a onebedroom apartment size really does matter and buyers might have to look in a middle suburb to find the right space.
“The golden rule is that size does matter if you’re after a one-bedroom apartment,” Advantage Property Consulting buyers’ advocate Frank Valentic said.
“The bigger it is the better for resale value. Having more space, a larger living area, a larger bedroom and bathrooms is always going to be more valuable.”
Mr Valentic said a checklist for features or amenities should also include available storage, a central bathroom where visitors don’t have to walk through your bedroom, an offstreet car space and a balcony.
This advice was not only sage for owner-occupiers, but was handy if you were planning to rent it out later, he said.
Knight Frank residential project marketing director Daniel Cashen said apartments were becoming smaller and more expensive, so buyers should look for homes that better used space.
“They want to know when they’ve got their friends over that they’ve got a living area for your lounge and TV and a dining area so three of your best friends can have dinner and you’ve got a decent-sized kitchen with a bench space,” he said.
Mr Cashen said built-in robes and storage or a linen press were essential features.
“I’ve lived in a one-bedroom with a linen press and without a linen press, and where do you put all the towels and stuff,” he said.
Mr Cashen, who’s firm is handling sales of the Royal Como development in Chapel St, South Yarra, said a square outdoor area rather than a linear one was a clever element that created an additional living space in a small apartment.
“Rather than have a table and two chairs, you can have a circular table with four chairs. I think those differences make a point of difference,” he said.
Mr Cashen said while CBD apartments were at the smallest end of the scale, buyers were demanding more space in the inner suburbs including Fitzroy, Richmond and South Yarra.
But for developers, price still dictated a ceiling on space, so packaging apartments internally and externally was becoming more important.
“Primarily, what people are looking for is the external amenity, what is surrounding the building, and what is the internal amenity — how liveable is my apartment?” Mr Cashen said.
“When you talk about amenities in a building, it’s a swimming pool, gym, things like that. Amenity at ground level is about whether there’s a supermarket nearby, a running track, a gymnasium.”
Melbourne developer Hamton set tongues wagging when it revealed a prototype convertible apartment at Abbotsford last month.
Development director Matthew Melseed said the concept was suited to owneroccupiers as a long-term home because it was loaded with heaps of storage and the flexibility of movable joinery.
“It’s something you can live in for a long time,” he said.
Hamton engaged architects Rothelowman to research small apartments and distilled ideas to create the convertible apartment, including using a fold-out bed and sliding cabinetry to add several metres to the living space.
Mr Melseed said the concept, being used in the third stage of the Sanctuary on the River project, had been shown to developers, designers and representatives working on the State Goverment’s new apartment design guidelines.
“We were trying to show those guys that apartments of a certain size can still be really functional and great to live in provided that you implemented good design,” Mr Melseed said.
Rothelowman principal Chris Hayton said improving the amenity of smaller dwellings was important as Melbourne’s urban density increased.
“That doesn’t mean that we believe dwellings are going to shrink from where they are at the moment,’’ Mr Hayton said
“We’re probably at a point where we’re getting to that minimum size.
“There is a lot of room to improve what is being offered in terms of how small dwellings can be occupied and lived in well.”
Mr Hayton said an apartment loaded with clever design was going to attract progressive buyers.
“If I’m looking to sell my apartment in 10 years time, I’m going to be a bit behind the eight-ball if I haven’t bought into innovative thinking,” he said.
“They really want to be in possession of something that’s going to appeal to a more mature apartment market that understands how to live in a smaller space.”