1 minute read

The issue of the ‘missing middle’

The issue of the ‘missing middle’

by Grace Ormsby | January 28, 2020 | 1 minute read

A relatively low level of medium density building approvals has highlighted the need for new options to be made available for certain sectors of the Australian population, according to a residential research expert.

New townhouses
New townhouses
by Grace Ormsby
January 28, 2020

CoreLogic’s head of residential research, Eliza Owen, has outlined that Australia is being dogged by a persistent “missing middle” when it comes to property types.

There’s been a pause in new developments providing low-rise and medium-density housing options, such as townhouses and duplexes.

Some definitions of medium density also include low-rise unit builds.

According to Ms Owen, “medium-density housing options can be important for young families who seek a more affordable housing option close to city centres, but require more space than in a unit, or older Australians wishing to downsize in their current area of residence to reduce housing hosts in retirement”.


She pointed out that an average of just 14.9 per cent of dwellings across all 478 Australian regions that had dwellings approved over 2019 were for townhouses, duplexes or in-unit blocks with three storeys or less.

Despite this relatively low proportion, it still stands higher than the current stock – ABS data has reported 11.9 per cent of council-approved dwellings are medium-density.

As populations continue to converge in metropolitan regions, the researcher said demand for diverse housing options is likely to grow.

It’s especially important considering dwelling prices are expected to continue rising in 2020, with Ms Owen contemplating the resurgence of affordability as an issue for potential buyers.

In addition, “The development of more medium-density housing in Australia is particularly efficient for infilling major metropolitan areas, because it takes advantage of established transport and social infrastructure,” Ms Owen explained.

On the other hand, “if development continues to focus on the two extremes of density, metropolitan areas may see an erosion of diverse age and family demographics,” she countered.

The issue of the ‘missing middle’
New townhouses
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