Smaller lots deliver greater opportunity for WA buyers

For decades, the Australian dream was tied to a quarter acre block – but for new generations of homebuyers, the dream is changing shape.

A growing population, shifts in planning policy and demand for greater choice in housing have seen the average size of residential lots in the Perth market shrink.

An increasing focus on providing housing options in established suburbs has seen a growing trend towards small and narrow lot home sites – and the good news for buyers is that this means a genuine range of options in terms of location, affordability and lifestyle.

Now Living General Manager Troy Gorton said for builders, the rise of small and narrow lot living presented both a challenge and an opportunity.

“Small and narrow lot housing presents a way for more people to access owning their own home, which is a great outcome,” he said.

“Diversity of housing choice is key to affordability. When you consider that more than 82 per cent of home buyers have one or more spare bedrooms – including three quarters of couple with children – it’s very clear that there is a real market for smaller lots.

“For builders, the challenge is to ensure we’re using clever design and innovation to show homebuyers that a smaller lot size doesn’t mean compromising on quality or space.”

Mr Gorton said there was no question the challenge presented by small lot design in turn provided a better outcome for buyers.

“As builders, we have to work closely with land developers to ensure land use and visual amenity is maximised on these lots,” he said.

“This puts the onus on builders to be incredibly thorough in the design process, which ultimately benefits the buyer.”

Now Living is working on a line of small and narrow lot housing designs, including a Terrace range designed for lots offering frontages as narrow as 4.5 metres.

While on smaller lots, the homes offer up to four bedrooms and create a sense of space, openness and light through the clever use of design features including light wells and full-width balconies.

“For many homebuyers, houses such as these mean they’re able to enter the market without compromising on location and lifestyle,” said Mr Gorton.

“We have made a decision to use innovation in housing design to deliver real homes for real people in different situations, and to expand our focus beyond the standard 4×2 family home on a larger block.”

Mr Gorton said while lot sizes and median lot prices had fallen in recent years, the average price per square metre had risen ­– highlighting the importance of offering well-designed, liveable homes on smaller footprints.

“This means designs that maximise space and incorporate affordability throughout the construction process are vital,” he said.

“Smaller lot homes also deliver cost benefits beyond the build process, such as reduced maintenance, energy use and associated costs – and if and when homeowners decide to sell, they’re likely to be selling into a bigger pool of potential buyers.”

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