A strong trend in the evolution of higher density cities in Australia is the increasing demand for properties tailored to the white-collar rental market.

To gain further understanding of this trend, a recent Census paper by Urbis gives statistical insight into a range of trends and observations ROTHELOWMAN have been seeing for some time. Entitled ‘Australia’s Embrace of Medium and High Density Housing’, the research highlights a number of factors and forces at play in this trend.

Residential apartment projects are often associated with a demand driven by price conscious investors yet the Census reports on the “attractive” market that exists in catering to the ever-increasing number of white-collar renters and owner-occupiers seeking dwellings.

Identifying a clear market for “higher income, 25-39 year old white-collar renters without many kids”, the report confirms a higher proportion of professional workers living in medium to high-density urban areas (80.3%) along with a higher rate of renters in these areas (48.7%).

ROTHELOWMAN Principal Nigel Hobart has witnessed this trend first hand and says that working professionals who choose to rent are a discerning market with requirements more closely aligned to owner-occupiers than typical renters.

“Location is an obvious key motivator, with proximity to work, dining, sporting and entertainment all driving the choice to reside in the inner city. On the wish list for both owner-occupier and white-collar rental tenants are not only the obvious features such as larger floor plans, high quality finishes, fixture and fittings, generous internal storage, and good external space but also a desire to live in buildings with high quality, distinctive architecture that incorporates attractive communal spaces to facilitate interaction both with other residents and the surrounding community.

“These tenants seek amenity criteria similar to owner-occupiers, and are prepared to pay higher rents and sign longer-term leases to secure such apartments, making them an attractive market for investors”.

Habitat, a residential development designed by ROTHELOWMAN for MaxVic, is an example of a project designed to meet the demands of the white-collar rental market. With its distinct patterned façade rising from the Sturt Street arts precinct, the building is readily identifiable as a Southbank landmark. With its central location, well laid-out kitchens, rooftop sky garden and large, landscaped, three- storey outdoor volumes providing accessible outdoor space, Habitat provides the high level of residential amenity that this sophisticated market seeks.

Hobart says in the increasingly competitive development marketplace, projects likely to succeed must have all of the right ingredients. “It is not enough to rely simply on location and brand alone. Today’s more informed purchaser requires these fundamentals as a given, but also demands insight into their lifestyle needs or the needs of their target tenant in the case of the investor. Responding to these needs by executing innovative design is fast becoming a ‘must have’ in the minds of property purchasers.”

Habitat Aparments Melbourne