Western Australia's first “micro lots” are on the housing market, as Perth block sizes start shrinking to suit smaller budgets and changing lifestyles.
The 80 square metre blocks in Ellenbrook are the smallest green title lots in WA.
The lots, about one-fifth the size of Perth’s median lot size of 410 square metres, are marketed as an affordable house and land package to people trying to break into the property market or home owners who want to downsize.
The idea originated from developer LWP Property, who in 2015 proposed to reduce the minimum lot size from 120 square metres to 80 square metres in Ellenbrook's town centre.
According to PerthNow, the Urban Development Institute of Australia figures reveal the average block price last year was $233,880, and Perth landbuyers are paying more per square metre, forking out $616 per square metre last year compared to $455 in 2009.
Some ABC Radio Perth listeners were very keen on the idea of scaling back their living space, after submitting the following comments:
"You don't need much space to grow your veggies and parks can be used as outdoors space. This seems like a great idea. It might get people more involved in their communities if they can't fit a three-metre big screen in their house."
"The idea is becoming more and more appealing as I look around at all the 'stuff' we have and use only such a small proportion of."
"Not everyone wants a four-bedroom, two-bathroom, two-garage, media room and everything else. Builders need to look beyond this."
"No way. People need space. Children need areas to run free and teenagers and young adults need their own areas. We live in this wide brown land so let us enjoy it."
"Tiny house? Yes. On a tiny block? No. You need some outdoor space to compensate for the tight living quarters."
"I worry about privacy and noise issues living so close [together]."
LWP Ellenbrook town centre Project Panager Megan Buckland said the lots would appeal to smaller households that did not need a backyard and wanted an urban lifestyle.
“First-home buyers make up around 40 per cent of purchasers in Ellenbrook and downsizers around 15 per cent, so we expect strong demand from these homebuyers,” she said.
The ABC said the micro-block concept could be a boon for people who want to downsize but dislike the idea of apartment living and shared spaces.
"Some people don't want to move into an apartment or a unit development with strata fees and common or shared spaces," UDIA WA Chief Executive Allison Hailes told the ABC.
They said research by Curtin University's Department of Urban and Regional Planning found that while people accept the idea that Perth needs high-density housing, many dislike the idea of living in apartments. They also found that people wanted to keep to themselves and had an aversion to the prospect of unexpectedly running into neighbours in the corridor, garden or other common areas.