What Are They Thinking?

 In General

So, what is this really all about? A massive push by State Government to build units anyhow, anywhere they can. The buzzwords are “infill” “urban sprawl” ”smart housing”… but have they really thought this through? Now let’s look at who buys apartments? Well Investors used to, because they used to go up in value every year, they rented well and offered a good return. Well values are going down now and so have rents so investors are pretty much out of the market. Now, who else? Well, there’s young singles and couples, and yes they are still around, but as we all know they are staying home much longer and when they do buy they want a house with some outdoor area and generally buy, further out to get this. It’s the Australian mentality – always has been – we are used to space and are not that willing to give it up.

So are we going to continue to build more and more units that nobody is going to want and do we honestly think people are going to give up their cars and rely on public transport which is severely lacking? Please, don’t be that naive.

Now there is one market that does require apartments, and this is the “downsizer” market. This is the market we should be catering for, but we need to think through what kind of apartment will fulfil their needs.

More of 11/29 Hood Street

They need to be central to a shopping precinct, they need to be spacious, they need easy access and they need to be of a high standard. They don’t need expensive facilities that are going to create high strata levies as the people buying these will be in retirement phase and will not need gyms and pools and extra costs. So, if you are going to build apartments, let’s make them stylish, attractive, spacious, convenient, and generally appealing and cater for an ever increasing market that wants to downsize in some sort of style, especially around the Western Suburbs and CBD.

The one thing that has really held up in value is the “character home” – they are still hugely in demand so to think of destroying these to build units is absolutely ludicrous. Apart from actually destroying our history which is unforgivable, the problem that this would create in traffic management in the older suburbs would be enormous. Let’s leave our lovely old suburbs alone – people have worked long and hard to get there and deserve the lifestyle they have created.

You cannot punish people for working hard and elevate those who don’t. That approach doesn’t work – it’s called “communism” and is based on the mistaken premise that we are all the same. We are not. What we should be encouraging is self-expression, opportunity, choices, a sense of achievement and reward for contribution, so if you choose not to partake in any of the above, that’s fine, but you may have to take a train ride to town…

Source: “What Are They Thinking”, Western Suburbs Weekly, Residential – 16 October 2018.

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