Melbourne is slowly becoming denser than some of the world’s most crowded cities, a leading industry report reveals. 

The report produced by Oliver Hume Real Estate Group has revealed that Melbourne’s increasing level of new projects and high-rise developments is putting the city ahead of the likes of Hong Kong, New York & Tokyo in terms of housing & dwelling density. 

It has also shed some damning light on the industries waning standards in terms of apartment sizes and the growing trend towards designing smaller apartments per square metre, whilst simultaneously developing ‘super structures’ that cater for more units per tower.

The average size of a one-bedroom apartment has decreased from 47 to 44 square metres, already from a very low base.

For two-bedroom apartments, the average size has fallen from 62 to 59 square metres in the final quarter of 2014, the Australian Financial Review reports.

Just two years ago, the average size of a new one-bedroom Melbourne apartment peaked at 55 square metres, whilst the average size of a new two-bedroom apartment was more than 70 square metres.

Standards in minimum size requirements have dropped significantly, and this is creating new opportunities for developers to maximize their profits by squeezing as many units into their developments as possible.

This phenomenon is a growing concern for IPRG, and confirms our views of staying well away from over-supplied, poorly designed and built developments within the inner ring of Melbourne’s CBD. 

To combat this growing problem, co-ordinator of city plans and policy at Melbourne City Council Leanne Hodyl argues that Melbourne needs to develop far tighter CBD density rules, greater separation between towers and stricter design standards.

Ms. Hodyl said that Melbourne’s hyper-dense skyscrapers are being built with little regard to local residents, the impact on the streets and neighbourhoods with which they sit, or the value of neighbouring properties.

How and why is this all happening?

Ms. Hodyl puts it down to “weak, ineffective or non-existent state government policies.”

What’s the affect of all this?

“It will create a legacy of… homes that lack access to light, air… and that diminish the quality of the streets and parks below.”

What’s the solution?

Melbourne needs to establish, enact and implement far tighter CBD density controls; greater separation between towers; and stricter apartment design standards.

The city should introduce “density bonuses” so developers can get “hyper-dense” apartment tower approvals on the condition that they offset them with new open space or other benefits.