As a result of a little known “renewal” clause in the strata law changes, it will soon be much easier for apartment owners to redevelop their buildings themselves in partnership with developers, or to allow developers to completely upgrade their blocks.
“This opens up so many possibilities for apartment owners,” observed Catherine Lezer, a Sydney-based apartment owner and businesswoman. Lezer is also the director of the independent not-for-profit Strata Community Australia.
“It’s about proactively managing the value of your apartment asset. Before, it was difficult to organise and to finance. Now both are possible.”
Apartment owners may soon find themselves able to integrate extra units into their blocks, create car parking below, and add penthouses on top to bring in extra revenue and dramatically increase the value of their homes.
The new legislation includes a clause that permits just 75% of owners in a building (in lieu of the current 100%) to vote to initiate sweeping changes. Since it’s rare for all owners to fully agree on all proposals, this amendment could potentially revolutionise the apartment world.
According to a report by the UNSW City Futures Research Centre, Renewing the Compact City, 15% of strata schemes (2600 schemes) registered before 1990 could be redeveloped as low-rise buildings up to three storeys, and a further 33% (5729 schemes) could be redeveloped up to 10 storeys.
Already, there’s been a number of inquiries from buildings to financiers about taking out loans to pay for ambitious—and potentially profitable—redevelopment plans, particularly for older, crumbling buildings in the eastern suburbs, inner west, and lower north shore.
“It’s pretty exciting stuff,” said Guillaume Volz, Colliers International’s national director of development sites. “Apartment owners have lots of options there. The state government has done a great job in activating sites outside Sydney with master planned developments, but it’s the core suburbs like the east, inner west and lower north shore where a lot of people want to live.
“A lot of sites there aren’t making the most of their land and there are a lot of opportunities for apartment owners to unlock its real value.”
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