Micro-lot houses offer potential.

Article originally published in the Sunday Times Homes Magazine, May 13, 2018.

The building of micro lot houses won’t suit everyone, but they will provide increased diversity and affordability to our existing housing market. Master Builders director Michael McLean reports.

THE WA Planning Commission has released a draft position statement for housing on lot of land less than 100sqm meeting outdoor living and balcony size requirements, minimum dimensions for room sizes as well as aligning courtyards and dealing with setback requirements.

This initiative has come in response to growing interest and demand for more medium-density housing lots, and follows similar developments in the eastern states involving both new (green titled) and existing (in fill) residential areas.

Although I was originally sceptical about the practicalities and functionality of two-storey homes being built on such a small portion of land, I am now convinced this type of housing has a place in our increasingly diverse housing industry.

The motivation for building on such small lots is to improve housing affordability, create dwelling diversity and to facilitate downsizing or right-sizing opportunities.

You have to visit these homes with under 100sqm of living space to appreciate their potential for the right occupant.

Development on lots less than 100sqm needs to be integrated with the streetscape and surrounding infrastructure in order to receive planning approval.

I believe innovative housing solutions, such as micro lots, are needed to stay ahead of Perth’s changing market.

A list of criteria has been proposed for lots less than 100sqm in development zones which have approved structure plans in place or special council approval prior to the development occurring.

With changes in demographics as well as housing and lifestyle needs, alternative and affordable housing products are needed to facilitate this change.

Following a tender process, Now Living, in partnership with the Department of Communities, was awarded the contract to build 11 homes in a trial innovation development precinct, located within LWP’s Ellenbrook estate.

With a green title block and no strata fees/ regulations, they offer a solution for those not wanting to live in high-rise buildings, but to have an easy, lock-up-and-leave property.

Lots were to be green-titled with a minimum of 80sqm, and were positioned directly in the town centre, close to amenities and current and future public transport hubs.

Targeted at rst homebuyers, downsizers and investors, these compact new homes will suit those looking for a smaller home, without the additional maintenance that comes from owning a traditional block.

Two of these homes have now been completed and I was fortunate enough to inspect them a few weeks ago.

Whilst the cost of land remains high compared to the cost of building and people prefer to live close to public transport, shops and leisure centres, micro lots will offer an attractive alternative to a growing number of homebuyers.

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