The Residential Design Codes (R-Codes) in Western Australia have recently changed, affecting development property owners. The new R-Codes, published on 23 February 2023, include changes to development requirements for R30 to R60 sites, known as the Medium Density or MD Codes. In this article, we’ll explain some of the changes that take effect on 1 September 2023 and how they impact developers and development site owners.
The new R-Codes have a positive aspect in that they’ll bring about more livable-sized homes and increased greenery and trees, which will be good for the environment and residents’ enjoyment. However, they’ll reduce the number or size of houses that fit the site, as developers will have to give up housing space to provide the area for the greenery.
The changes affecting grouped dwellings, such as villas and townhouses, include a minimum garden space requirement, soft landscaping requirement, and room and house sizes needing to comply with set minima. Additionally, each lot must have a tree and allow space around it for the tree to develop.
There’s a deferral period for people who want to get designs approved quickly before the changes take effect. If your development application is decided before September 1st, 2023, it will be under the old R-Codes.
One new concession allows a small 70 sqm house to be built on a lot 35% smaller in size than the standard lot size for that zoning. This concession can provide a great benefit where it allows an extra concessional lot where a full-sized lot wouldn’t fit, and can increase profitability.
Where pricing in the suburb justifies double-storey development, the new codes can generally be implemented without losing site yield. The extra area needed for the outdoor requirements and lost to the house footprint can be made up in a second storey. However, not all suburbs allow for profitable double-storey development.
In areas with median prices up to around $700,000, double-storey development may not be viable, and development site owners need to find the best solutions for their sites with single-storey homes. Where developers would like to assess their best options, consultation with Property Wizards, a designer or a town planner would be a good place to start.
Overall, the changes will challenge developers, but they’ll lead to more livable-sized homes and increased greenery and trees, making developments better, more sustainable and nicer to live in. In the long term, homes built under the new codes are likely to be more attractive and valuable than those built under the current codes. For now, designers and developers need to consider how to optimise the new codes and find the best solutions for their sites.
In conclusion, while the new R-Codes may have costs for developers, they’ll bring about more livable-sized homes and increased greenery and trees, which will be good for the environment and add amenity for residents. Developers and development site owners need to consider how to optimise the new codes and find the best solutions for their sites, including exploring the available concessions and consulting with Property Wizards, a designer or a town planner.
If you’d like to learn more about development options, home buying or property investment in Perth or clarify your buying strategy and goals, feel free to call us on (08) 9381-7450 or fill in this no-obligation Getting Started form to get the ball rolling.
If you’d like to learn more about property investment strategies, or you’d like to clarify your own strategy and goals, why not request our 4 Strategies Download to get the ball rolling.
Established in 2004, Property Wizards works with local, interstate and overseas home and investment buyers seeking to buy property in the greater Perth metropolitan area.
Property Wizards takes away the stress of buying property and saves you time and money. Regardless of market conditions, our research, knowledge, and access to silent sales means we find and negotiate properties with potential to outperform the market in capital growth and rental returns. Importantly, we provide home buyers and property investors with the same level of representation that property sellers have benefited from for years.