Foreign investors to ﬂood Melbourne CBD with dingy ﬂats
Leader Community News
Kylie Adoranti and Nick Miller, Herald Sun
13 April 2015
Michael Buxton says there is a lack of planning regulations applied to
Melbourne’s new developments. Picture: Josie Hayden
FOREIGN investors have snapped up more than 70 per cent of development
sites sold in inner Melbourne in the past few years, mostly to build
low-quality high-rise apartments, a planning expert says.
RMIT Environment and Planning Professor Michael Buxton said research
showed foreign investment was about 13 per cent of turnover in the
total Australian real estate market but was much higher in Melbourne.
“Up to three-quarters or more of Melbourne Central Business District
(CBD) inner-urban brownfield land sales in recent years have been to
foreign investors,” Prof Buxton said.
And up to 60 to 80 per cent of the new inner-urban Melbourne apartment
market was investor-owned, made up of foreign and local investment, he
Prof Buxton said that in the 12 months to June 2013, Australian
commercial and residential property drew almost $6 billion in Chinese
investment, more than from any other country.
A 2014 report by Prosper Australia found more than a quarter of units in Docklands were empty.
But Prof Buxton said it was difficult to estimate the unoccupied
apartment rate because some were used by owners and investors as
Some might be left vacant as rent was not always an important financial consideration.
Prof Buxton said there was an absence of planning regulations applied to Melbourne’s new developments.
the worst quality and densest residential high-rise apartments in the world
“We are building the worst quality and densest residential high-rise
apartments in the world, that is pretty much agreed on,” he said.
Prof Buxton said the lack of height controls “led to a speculative
frenzy, which has bid up the price of CBD land” and some sites had
doubled in value in two years.
He also criticised the Foreign Investment Review Board for failing to
enforce laws preventing foreigners from buying existing dwellings.One
million Queenslanders who live in apartments want assurances from the
state's building watchdog that units are safe, in the wake of London's
Grenfell Tower fire disaster.
too small, too dark and badly ventilated
State Planning Minister Richard Wynne acknowledged some apartments in Melbourne were “too small, too dark and badly ventilated”.
“Melbourne is in danger of creating a monoculture of one-bedroom poorly designed apartment stock,” he said.
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