Are apartments cheaper than houses?

Costs of development, greenfield and infill sites

Australia’s five largest capital cities all have targets to increase the proportion of new housing constructed within established areas rather than on the fringe. The vast bulk of these dwellings will be constructed at medium to high densities i.e. apartments and townhouses.

Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne are each aiming for around 50% of commencements within established areas by 2030 while Sydney and Adelaide are aiming for 60 to 70%. In Melbourne’s case the target of 53% of commencements within established suburbs is a major step-back from the more ambitious target of around 70% set down in 2002 in Melbourne 2030 (also see here).

Yet in four out of five cities, it costs more to build an apartment within established areas than it does to build a detached house with a garden on the suburban periphery.

It costs $156,000 more to build a two bedroom infill apartment in Brisbane than a three bedroom outer suburban house. In Adelaide it costs $93,000 more, in Melbourne $115,000 more and in Perth $137,000 more. Read the rest of this entry »

A bigger agenda for Bixis?

While Melbourne Bike Share is struggling for riders, it isn’t struggling for attention.

I’ve been amazed at how the fate of the Bixis and reform of the compulsory helmet laws have been brought together and propelled into the public domain as a major public issue.

Before the Bixis, most people thought those who opposed mandatory helmets were the sorts of libertarian nutters who campaigned against obligatory seat belts and corresponded daily with the Unabomber. Now it’s widely recognised there’s a sensible countervailing argument.

There is clearly a power in the idea of Bixis. Melburnites won’t ride them but they like the idea of them.

Perhaps I’m over-reaching here, but I’m thinking that if a few blue bikes can do this with helmets, then they might be turned to a more powerful purpose, like promoting the legitimacy of all bicycles on Melbourne’s streets.

I don’t know if it’s their aspirational Parisian style or the fact that they’re an “official” government program, but the special appeal of Bixis could help to legitimise cyclists as valid road users in the eyes of drivers. Read the rest of this entry »