Written by Terry Taylor of Specific Property
Now if you’re not Mother Goose who could live in a shoe, it is unlikely that you could live in a shoebox - which is bigger than a shoe. But unfortunately many of the new developments being brought to capital city markets have properties in them that can only be described as shoeboxes. In fact we often see people referring to properties that are small and poorly planned as ‘dog boxes’.
In an article which appeared in The Age in Melbourne and was published on 18th December 2016, the commentary referred to new planning laws which are to come into effect in March of 2017. A copy of that article is below.
At Specific Property we have always said that there is no point in buying residential property if it is not a good property. Now there are many things that make a property a good property and these things include of course, location, aspect and general amenities near to the property. Whilst a better location and a view are always desirable the one thing that will destroy the long term performance of any residential property is its floor plan. This means that for a property to be lived in long term it MUST be able to accommodate real size furniture.
Now in the article above the new laws which are to come into effect simply do not address this most critical aspect of a residential property. Of course one bedroom, two bedroom and three bedroom properties and even larger properties all require differing spaces to accommodate a smaller or larger number of people who are going to live in those properties. In the article attached the President of the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects said the new laws had not gone far enough to ensure quality apartments.
Developers often overrule the advice they get from their architects so that they can fit more properties into a development and to make the project financially viable. We have no concern, in fact, we should all want the developers to produce quality projects and be financially viable so that they are around to come back and fix any problems that may occur after a development is complete. But we also agree with Ms. Bird when she says in the article that “The city we build today is the city our children and grandchildren have to live with.” That is particularly difficult if the apartments are not well designed and not large enough to accommodate the long term lifestyle requirements of the residents who are expected to live in those properties.
Here are some basic guidelines that you need to think about when buying a property either for your home or an investment.
Bedroom sizes need to fit either two single beds or a queen size bed, most people don’t like or buy double beds any more. In terms of the width of a room you could actually have a bedroom that was 2.7m wide which is below the standard 3m x 3m size, but would work because a queen size bed has a width of 1.5 metres and if you were to have bed side tables on either side of the bed of say 0.5m wide each, that would give you 2.5m and that would fit comfortably into a width of 2.7 metres. The length of the bedroom however needs to be at least 3m long, and a little bit longer would be better. That is because the length of a single/queen size bed is about 2.1m plus any bedhead that you might like and then you need to allow a space between the bottom of the bed and wall to walk through (typically 0.5m or more), and perhaps even more for a chest of drawers at the foot of the bed (0.45m). Which means that you need at least 3m in length to fit all of that into the room. Bigger is always better of course, but it costs more money.
As far as living and dining spaces are concerned, from our long experience, we can tell you that the living room area alone needs to be a minimum of 3.6m in width and perhaps the same for the length. Broadly 4m x 4m is a generous and appropriate space for furnishing a lounge room. This sized space will allow for what we call a conversation square or circle, where people can sit on 4 sides of the room, or where the seating furniture can be on 3 sides of the room and an entertainment unit on the fourth side, Sometimes spaces slightly smaller than this if designed well can work, but we would need to look at the design of the floor plan for you and advise.
Clearly the dining room is likely to have the same width as the lounge room and if you want a table and say 6 chairs for your dining room furniture, you will need a space that is a minimum of 2.4m by the width of the room, perhaps 3.6 - 4 metres.
So what is really required for a living/dining room area that will work for furnishing correctly is approximately 6m plus in length and a room width of say 3.6m. Once again we like more space and clearly bigger will always be better. When you get the floor plan right you can live in the property long term. If your property is an investment your tenants will stay longer, because it is hard for them to find anything that is better and in addition they will likely pay a higher rent.
An example of what spaces would look like with similar square metres but workable furnishing layouts and spaces that just don’t work is below. The slightly smaller 6m x 4m layout provides adequate circulation space around the lounge and dining furniture, as well as easy access to the balcony/terrace. The slightly larger 5m x 5m square living area is actually too wide and too short meaning there will be no circulation space around the dining furniture. Whilst this might look good on plan there is probably only as little as 2ocm or 8 inches in the old language of space around the dining room table and that is without the dining room chairs pulled out or in use which would require them to be further out from the edge of the table. Of course you can use smaller furniture to make any space work. But that would accommodate fewer people and certainly would not work if you would like to entertain. You must be able to do this if you want to live long term in any residence and that applies equally for tenants or if it is your own home.
In "The Age" article attached they suggest a living space of a minimum of 10m2 or 12m2 depending on apartment size. We think that this area is totally inadequate and will not work to accommodate real size lounge and dining room furniture. We say that space needs to be a minimum of just under 22m2 and we would like 24-25m2 for the combined living/dining space. One bedroom apartments can have slightly smaller living spaces, but not that much smaller if they are to work well.
I think you would agree that many properties that you look at appear to be poorly planned especially from a room size and layout point of view. At Specific Property we only recommend properties that meet the criteria that we set for safer residential investing. Notwithstanding that we need to point out that the measurements we are recommending are meant as a general guide only to help you in your search. We often find that something smaller, well designed will out perform a larger poorly designed property. Why not let us help you select your next property in Melbourne or Brisbane - the two markets that we are active in.
Written by Terry Taylor of Specific Property
Melbourne and Brisbane
On December 16 2106 an article appeared in The Age Melbourne, titled Victoria’s $60bn transport underspend. The significance of this article cannot be understate because of the impact that it will have on property prices in two of Australia’s largest cities. These cities are Melbourne and Brisbane
A link to that article is attached.
Of greatest interest to us and will be to you, if you are a property investor or perhaps intend to be one, is the recent statement from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that Victoria accounted for 36% of the nations population growth in the year to June 2016. Previously projections had been for Victoria to have a population growth of a much lower percentage of Australia’s overall population. The change to Victoria’s population growth is huge and will have an impact on the properties required to house the increased number of people moving to that state.
In raw figures the ABS says that Australia added 337,821 people of whom 123,131 settled in Victoria - the largest annual population growth Victoria has ever had, in fact this is the largest population growth of any Australian state ever! Victoria’s capital Melbourne gets the vast majority of that population growth which comes from overseas and interstate migration and migration from regional areas within Victoria itself to Melbourne. This actual population growth is well above previously reported projections and must now be taken into account when considering where to buy your next property.
Our view on Melbourne was more conservative recently because of the price growth that has already occurred there, but the new population growth figures presented by the ABS suggest that there is still further growth to come and perhaps for the foreseeable future. There have been projections for some time now that suggest that the Melbourne population will surpass that of Sydney’s in the future. When this is understood and with the fact that Melbourne has been named the world's most liveable city for the last 6 consecutive years means that the city will continue to attract new residents.
If you live in Sydney or Melbourne then, whilst prices already seem high and especially to those who live in other states, those price rises are likely to continue and particularly in Melbourne where massive population growth is occurring. If you can find good value property in Melbourne then you should buy it because the population growth basically underpins and ensures that prices are going to rise for properties in good quality areas close to the city.
The Brisbane property market provides another compelling proposition. Brisbane property is undervalued at the moment, but it is undervalued for a reason. The state of the Queensland economy is being affected by poor government and political weakness to do what needs to be done in that state. Eventually politicians on both sides of the political fence will find some intestinal fortitude and do what needs to be done to lower the State’s debt burden. Brisbane property offers the best growth potential on a percentage basis of any capital city in Australia because the level of population growth has in recent years reduced considerably.
This population growth rate will turn around when the State’s debt issue is tackled and new infrastructure can be built. Industry will respond and new jobs will be created. People will flock from the other states, particularly Victoria and New South Wales, as once was the case, when Queensland had no net debt. Southerners will see the opportunity of a job and cheaper housing in Queensland, and in Brisbane in particular as very compelling. The much better climate and lifestyle on offer will be too irresistible for people living in the much more expensive capitals and wondering how on earth they are going to get their foot on the property ladder. Population growth is the key to price growth and it is a matter of when, not if, the Brisbane and Queensland market will turn around. Smart investors with a decent long term horizon will see this opportunity for what it is and grab it with both hands.
And on a final note, for those of you who think that the property market in Queensland will never recover, I would remind you that Sydney was closed for business for ten years with virtually no price growth. When that price growth came it caught everyone by surprise in terms of the speed and intensity of the price growth changes. Brisbane's turn for growth is coming and it will catch most people by surprise just as it did in Sydney.Read in full + comments 0 Comments
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