While the apartment building boom is slowing in Australia, it seems regional NSW and the Riverina have been left out.
According to the Housing Industry Association, the apartment building boom is slowing; but where?
A Wagga builder, Wayne Carter, said Wagga never really experienced an apartment building boom.
“You don’t have as much to work with in Wagga, as far as apartments go,” Mr Carter said.
The apartments in Wagga are few and far between: the Waterview Gardens on Tarcutta Street, Globe Apartments on Peter Street and the new apartment complex on Edward Street next to The Mill.
Not to mention, the two apartment proposals, plans for a Riverside apartment complex situated behind Romano’s Hotel and a four-storey hotel complex.
Mr Carter said it’s important to separate the metropolitan areas to the regional areas, because they’re all different.
“Apartments are different here to what they are in Sydney; in Sydney apartments are just a big power block,” he said.
However in Wagga, Mr Carter said units are more “prominent”.
“These are stand alone homes where there might be two to three on one big block,” he said.
Wagga falls under the southern NSW and Canberra HIA, with the managing director, Greg Weller saying there are many factors which contribute to the need for high-density living.
“There seems to be a bit of a trend of detached homes,” Mr Weller said.
“I think across the government and local councils, there tends to be increasing density because of the consolidation of providing better services, such as access to health care and public transport.”
Mr Weller said affordability is a major factor contributing to the rise of high density properties in the metropolitan areas.
“The cost of land is becoming higher, where as the actual building of homes have remained around the same price,” he said.
Changing demographics and urban areas expanding, means people might become a little bit more accepting of higher density areas.
A nation with an ageing population could have some currency in Wagga, according to Mr Greg’s predictions.
“An ageing population in the Riverina and the investment in hospitals and healthcare, Wagga is becoming a regional hub and likely to become a magnet,” he said.
“Ageing rural residents may seek to move closer to access these services and may be interested in higher density areas, because they want less work and a more compact and low maintenance property.
“While this might not be as pronounced in Wagga as it is in Sydney, it will slowly be an evolution rather than a revolution.”
Propertyology’s head researcher, Simon Pressley said while 110 new apartments were approved in Wagga between 2013 and 2014, since then, apartment approval numbers are below average.
“Wagga has approximately 26,400 residential dwellings, of which only 10 per cent are apartments, below the national average of 13 per cent,” Mr Pressely said.
“85 per cent of Wagga’s dwellings are detached houses.
“Buyer demand in Wagga will always be higher for detached houses because they are so incredibly affordable.
“That said, apartment sales have been solid with 137 transactions over the last 12 months compared to 121 in the previous year,” he said.