The key driver of townhouse demand is not just affordability
but also quality of living

Townhouses have come a long way in community masterplans – and in maturing buyer mindsets about how they want to live.

While townhouses have been around for some time, the perception and indeed quality of townhomes has evolved significantly over the last 4 years. Once considered boxy, compact and cheap, the diversity, innovation and quality of townhouses today has made them a popular choice among buyers of all types including first home buyers, downsizers, families and couples.

RPM has been at the forefront of the development and growth of the townhouse trend.

Head of Communities at RPM Luke Kelly says over the last 3 years the number of townhouses featuring on estates has continued to steadily grow.

“The percentage of total lots sold up to 300 sqm throughout Melbourne and Geelong’s growth corridors has increased from an average of 11% to 12% to 18% last year,” he said.

While this comprises both smaller house and land packages and townhouses, we estimate the total proportion of townhouse stock in master-planned communities today is about 15%.

Luke also said the key driver of townhouse demand is not just affordability, but also quality of living.

“Medium density really gained traction during the last property boom a few years ago as an alternative to smaller house and land packages when prices were going up,” he said.

“In parallel with shifting demographic and lifestyle trends including an ageing population and low maintenance living, townhouses offer a very desirable way to live – particularly as the size, design and diversity of medium density product continues to evolve.”

According to Luke, the quality of the external facades and internal design has improved significantly.

“Our expertise in this type of product tells us many buyers are prepared to trade on the size of their home but not their quality of living,” he said. “They want a feeling of living in luxury, with features like stone benchtops, timber flooring, split systems, fast broadband, 900mm cooktops and ovens, walk-in laundries, natural lighting and blinds throughout.

“They also want a practical floorplan that maximises space that takes into consideration ceiling heights, storage, an outdoor area and a double lock up garage.

He said some buyers also like buying into a precinct of homes that evoke old-style terraces in suburbs like Carlton and East Melbourne but in a modern context.

“This symmetry also creates a sense of place in a master-planned community as well as providing certainty about what’s being built next to you.

“We’ve built a strong capability in medium-density in terms of product design and product mix through our buyer surveys and the volume of townhouse product we’ve introduced to the market,” he said. “It’s a real point of difference for us and our clients.”