The West Australian

The answer to the ever elusive goal of converting the great Australian dream of owning a home into an affordable reality may be hiding in plain sight.

In tracking his personal housing journey, Urbis director Michael Webb put a spotlight on two cities, Perth and Brisbane, comparing the suburbs of Innaloo and Chermside.

Essentially, he said, for dual income families wanting public transport, a home within 10km of the CBD in a suburb with a median house price of $600,000, which he described as “relatively affordable”, there were some interesting comparisons.

Mr Webb uses a Coca-Cola product mix chart to make suburb comparisons.

In this case, a two-litre bottle equates to a large lot, 1.25 litres equals a medium lot, 600ml is small, a 375ml can is a terrace lot, a 200ml can is a micro lot and a six-pack is a multi-unit development and a 10-pack is an apartment building.

In Innaloo, using the Coke analogy, families had a choice of small lots (600ml bottles) or a multi-unit villa development (the six-pack) as the remaining single-house blocks were earmarked for development.

However, in Chermside in Brisbane, “the variety of housing choice is incredible”, Mr Webb said. Chermside housing options included one, two or three-bedroom apartments, three and four bedroom terrace homes and detached homes on large lots with many selling for less than $600,000.

The only Coca-Cola option not on offer was micro lots, confined to new developments.

Mr Webb said a variety of housing allowed people at every life, career and relationship stage to live in Chermside.

People did not have to leave the suburb when their circumstances changed. “Housing choice means that people will generally stay in the same area, creating a richer and more vibrant community,” he said.

In the case of Innaloo, he said, where blanket R-code densities apply, infill targets had been achieved, but at a cost.

In Chermside, land next to activity centres and transport hubs was zoned high density but the impact was offset by what he called low-density “character residential”.

Innaloo had “blanket density” and Chermside had “focused intensity”, he said.

This focused intensity kept the character of the area and its green and lush precincts with leafy suburban streetscapes as well as cafe and services spawned by higher density, which he said “drives demand for the missing middle”.

This delivered choice, flexibility, affordability and a vibrant community, he said.

Mr Webb said if you wanted a great place, you needed to start with people and build homes that suited, say 20 per cent young couples and professionals, 35 per cent young families, 10 per cent single parents, 10 per cent traditional families, 5 per cent multi-families and 7 per cent downsizers.