Given the push for urban infill and escalating property prices, small and narrow blocks are becoming increasingly common in Australian cities. Many current owners also often consider downsizing due to the desire for a lifestyle change, a shift in financial priorities, or retirement or changing family circumstances. Other Australians are keen to take advantage of the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder grant, which currently offers owner-occupiers $25,000 to build a new home. So what should you consider before buying a narrow or small lot?
How small is a small lot?
In Australia, a small lot is defined as having an average width of less than 15 metres and/or an area less than 450m², or an area less than 600m² (excluding access way) if it is a rear lot. A narrow block is defined as having frontage anywhere between 8.5 metres to 12.5 metres.
What are the advantages of a small or narrow lot?
With consumer needs, circumstances and lifestyles changing, many property owners are making the switch to living in a small or narrow lot homes. This is because they are:
One of the main benefits of narrow or small lot homes is their affordability. It allows homeowners, including first home buyers, a chance to purchase property that may normally be in their price range. It also offers the opportunity to buy or build in an area that’s closer to work or family or in a location that suits their ultimate type of lifestyle.
As our population grows, the diversity of options in the residential land sector is necessary to ensure the market meets demands. Increasing land prices also means developers need to innovate to adjust to market conditions.
Today, many young people and downsizers are looking for low-maintenance living and narrow lot homes allow for a ‘lock and leave’ lifestyle. It affords convenience to those who travel a lot for work, and retirees the freedom to enjoy their on-the-go lifestyles into their twilight years.
Because of the dimensions of narrow block house designs, they can be very effective at collecting solar energy — both passive and active. A combination of solar panelling on the roof and a thermal mass (like concrete floors) and natural sunlight in the interior can lead to a significant reduction in energy bills.
What to consider before buying
There are a number of considerations those purchasing property should keep in mind, regardless of the type and size of the block. These include:
Smaller block considerations
In terms of small or narrow lot considerations:
- The location of neighbours and in particular retaining walls, external walls and other landscaping features. There are some limits to construction options if it interferes with neighbouring structures.
- The width of the frontage — 10 metres plus is recommended, as there can be challenges with designing a home (for example, a double garage) on a block less than this.
- The location of services including storm water pipes, sewers, power poles and street trees. There can be limited flexibility with negotiating narrow lot home designs, particularly around large stormwater pipes.
Keen to downsize to a narrow or small lot and need a builder with this specific construction experience? As a family-owned business with over 25 years’ experience, building is in our blood. Contact us or phone (07) 3050 5652.