You may have heard the saying ‘location, location, location’ when it comes to property. But what about zoning, zoning, zoning? Planning zones are often overlooked, yet can impact a properties value and future potential considerably.
The planning zone a property sits in determines its development potential. In suburban Melbourne, zoning typically follows a pattern where the main streets are zoned for commercial development, surrounded by a general residential zone to encourage denser living (more homes per block and higher dwellings) close to the central strip. Further out, a neighbourhood residential zone will have tighter controls, with the height of dwellings is usually limited to two stories.
Finding out the planning zone of a property will tell you four important things:
What could be built over the back fence?
It’s possible the property may sit in an area bordered by multiple zones such as a commercial, industrial or capital city zone. This matters, because it will determine what can be built around you in the future. That unassuming villa on a big block of land could become multiple apartments, or that little Indian takeaway place could become a multi-story commercial complex.
Is the property attractive to developers?
Property developers regularly look at planning zones to determine what can be built on a given site. For example, a property in a Residential Growth Zone is very attractive to property developers as it allows for a denser apartment-style building up to four stories high. Finding out if property developers are interested in the property will prepare you come auction day, and will also give you an idea of the resale market in the future.
What will the area be like in the future?
As well as looking up the planning zone of your individual property, you should zoom out to get an understanding of the zones in your suburb compared to nearby suburbs. This will give you an idea of the local government’s vision for the area in the next 2, 5 or 10 years. For example, do the zones encourage the area to remain as a quiet neighbourhood suburb with freestanding homes, or is a denser style of living encouraged?
How significantly can I renovate the property?
If you’re thinking of renovating your home and building extensions as your family (or hobbies) grow, be sure to check the planning zone to see if there are any restrictions.
Common residential Victorian planning zones
- The Neighbourhood Residential Zone includes areas of predominantly single and double-storey homes with identifiable characteristics and historical value that distinguishes the properties from others in the local area. This type of zone has minimum requirements around garden areas, height restrictions, but allows for a small number of non-residential buildings that serve the local community such as schools, clubs, and libraries.
- The General Residential Zone covers areas where population and housing diversity are expected to evolve to provide more diverse housing, such as Melbourne’s outer suburbs. This zone includes minimum requirements around garden areas and height restrictions but aims to encourage development while respecting the existing neighbourhood character.
- Residential Growth Zones are areas where increased housing density and residential development is expected to keep up with population growth near activity hubs like town centres.
The planning zone only tells you half the story. Your property may have other planning controls such as overlays impacting it. Type your address into Landchecker and complete all your due diligence checks in one place.