A survey by the Urban Taskforce has found that Sydney design standards add $150,000 to the cost of the average apartment.
Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson said the Sydney standards were controlled by the State Environmental Planning Policy 65 and the NSW Government's Apartment Design Guide, which set standards for areas, solar access, cross ventilation and other requirements that end up adding around $150,000 to the purchase price of an average two bed apartment compared to a Melbourne equivalent.
With the help of Sydney planners HDC, architects Turner Studio and Quantity Surveyor John Ferrarin, the standards required between the various cities in Australia were measured, and found the average two bedroom, two bathroom apartment in Sydney costing $750,000 could be bought for $600,000 if Melbourne standards were applied.
“The NSW / Sydney standards are from well-meaning planners wanting big apartments that get lots of sunshine, but these amenities come at a cost that is forcing many purchasers out of the market,” Mr Johnson said.
“The apartment dwellers of Melbourne and Brisbane are not very different from those in Sydney so the Urban Taskforce believes we should relax the Sydney standards particularly in urban precincts so more people can live an urban life in apartments.”
The Urban Taskforce identified the main different in costs was the square footage for a two-bedroom apartment in each state, where Sydney’s average two-bedder requires 75 square metres to meet design standards, whereas Melbourne apartments only need 65 square metres.
Mr Johnson said to help cut the cost different, Sydney apartments could reduce the requirements for cross ventilation, solar access in winter and building depth requirements, which adds $24,000 to the sales price in Sydney compared to Melbourne.
“A combination of more flexibility for above ground car parking that is well screened, excessive ceiling heights for kitchens, and lower floors along with additional open space all add up to a further $33,000 difference in costs over a Melbourne equivalent,” he said.
“All up, this amounts to more than $150,000 that Sydney apartment purchasers pay more than the Melbourne standards require.”
Mr Johnson said the Ubran Taskforce will expect the NSW Government to support changes to apartment prices in conjunction with the recently released 'Plan to Improve Housing Affordability' included as Policy 18: 'The Minister for Planning will issue guidelines to facilitate smarter and compact apartments.'