LIVING LARGE IN SMALL SPACES
BUILD small, live tiny.
Apparently if you consider that an attractive housing option, or you simply want less square metres in exchange for quality, central location or view, you are no longer allowed to make that decision because our state governments believe size, or lack of it, is potentially the source of a poor quality housing product.
My opinion, as someone that spent many years working in the central London real estate market is, sorry NSW, you are completely wrong.
Actually, lenders have this rather bizarre size obsession too.
Creating legal blanket style minimum sizes for a studio, or one, two- and three-bedroom units is about as worthwhile and desirable as a leather bound, hand stitched ejector seat in a helicopter.
It sounds great until you consider the practicality.
I do understand why this legislation has been implemented.
There is a general misconception that if a property is too small it will not be an attractive place to live. That simply is not the case. I presume the aim is to avoid creating the slums, or other undesirable and unlivable housing accommodation of the future.
But, such dictatorial legislation will not have the desired effect; the same old mistakes will continue to be made, just a bit bigger.
Consider who would buy or rent and live in a studio or a one-bedroom unit. It would be a single person, maybe a couple, in maybe their first home.
It is a chance to get on the property ladder, or a good value rental option to avoid sharing.
If the property is too small for their particular needs they will not buy, rent or live in it – that is called market forces, but it gives the public choices.
Why do we need the government telling us we have to live in more space?
Options to build smaller can equate to a chance for people to be able to afford somewhere of their own or in a location more desirable for them.
Banning small does not aid the affordability crisis in any way; in fact it makes it potentially worse.
Legislating and focusing only on size does not stop the national obsession with high rise unit building, apart from when you are young, holidaying or after a pied a terre, who do you know that wants their full time home to be in a high rise?
Yes there are a few I appreciate that – a niche market – yet Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and others all think it is great to build more high-rise units for overseas buyers and misguided investors to sink their money into.
Creative forward thinking and innovative design is what is needed.
If a developer is seeking approval for their scheme, why on earth cannot the floor plans of the scheme be considered on their own merit?
Rooms can be small providing they function correctly and in my experience have sufficient access to natural light and some form of aspect; these elements are more vital for the well being of a resident than arguing over a few square metres.
Let great design reign, let natural light be paramount, aspect considered and cease thinking building to the sky in all our cities is the only option.
I recall in my early days of UK real estate in the mid ’80s – surprise, surprise there was a housing affordability issue then – the market and developers were allowed to address the issue. One major house builder designed a creative answer and introduced a two-storey house design built in clusters of four; each one-bedroom home measured no more than around 45sq m.
Not only did buyers and tenants adore their own front door, they accepted this space and this concept worked.
It created affordability and a home people wanted to live in for a certain stage of their lives. Three decades on they are still a popular housing option.
Dear government, is it not about size, it is about innovation, liveable designs, light and allowing developments to be considered in their own right.
A tiny studio in the outer suburbs is quite simply pointless and should not be permitted, but right in the heart of the CBD, why not?
THINK BIG: The focus should be on design, not size, when it comes to clever planning for city apartments.