Turf wars: Zoning changes set to push townhouses back where they belong.

Key points:

  • Brisbane’s current City Plan allows townhouses to be constructed in low-density residential areas
  • Townhouse developers in these low-density areas have angered locals, concerned the character of their suburb is under threat
  • Council have progressed a proposal to block this loophole in consultation with residents
  • The proposal will stop townhouse supply in low density residential areas.

Brisbane City Council have announced a proposal for a major change to their 2014 City Plan to stop the development of townhouses in low-density residential zones across Brisbane.

The current City Plan stipulates townhouses can’t be built in low density residential areas – unless the developer owns 3,000m2 or more of land. In recent years, developers have exploited this loophole, buying-out multiple residences to construct highly-concentrated townhouses on leafy, single-dwelling streets. “We’re seeing blocks being amalgamated to get to the 3000 square metre threshold, which is seeing more of those medium- to high-density type of developments in areas which are traditionally one- or two-storey homes,” Brisbane City Council planning chairman Matthew Bourke said.

These developments have angered local residents, claiming they’ve had enough of townhouse developments changing the character of their communities, with a campaign to “protect the Brisbane backyard” receiving over 100,000 responses. Classic Queenslander houses with their large backyards, pitched roofs and iconic wrap-around verandahs are in stark contrast to the modern developments quickly going up beside them.

brisbane property news, townhouses

The State Government recently gave the Brisbane City Council the green light to progress to the next stage of the process to get these changes implemented. Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner was pleased with the State Government’s decision to back their campaign. “Brisbane is growing, but Council is committed to maintaining the character of our suburbs and ensuring any development fits in with the existing surroundings,” Cr Schrinner said.

In the right location, townhouses have an important part to play in residential housing – their construction is encouraged by Brisbane City Council in low-medium density areas. An affordable entry point to the market, they’re becoming ever-more popular as family structures change and the need grows for housing options that blur the lines between apartments and houses.

Typically, townhouses are found on the fringes of central hubs including shopping centres, train stations or universities. “Demand for townhouses has grown dramatically over the past 10 years,” says Ironfish Head of Property, Will Mitchell. “They serve their communities and residents best when they’re near suburban centres and they can fill the gap between where apartments are built, and houses begin. This change to the Brisbane City Plan is a positive one, and will mean townhouses are developed in appropriate locations throughout Brisbane. A consequence of this change though is that future townhouse supply will be significantly reduced across Brisbane’s suburbs.”

Community consultation for the proposal begins on the 29th of July and will go for 20 business days to give the public opportunity to share their feedback. The proposal is highly likely to be given the go-ahead once consultation has ended. Once approved, the supply of townhouses is expected to reduce significantly at the same time as demand for this convenient and affordable housing option continues to rise. We will be monitoring how this plays out in the Brisbane market.

Click here to read the QLD Government’s full statement.

Are townhouses the new house? Read more by clicking here.

Ironfish Brisbane property investment

Want to find out how this planning change affects your Brisbane investments? Make a free appointment with one of our experienced strategists today.

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