Our Q2 2023 Greenfield Market Report has found that Plan Melbourne’s ambitious target for 70% of new dwellings to be delivered in infill areas and only 30% to be delivered in greenfield areas has failed to be met in recent years, with the greenfield sector proving ever popular with new homebuyers choosing house & land products over apartments.

While other cities of similar population size have embraced higher density living, the cultural shift away from greenfield land has not fully materialised in Melbourne and certain factors have bolstered its continued preference over infill areas. This includes the fact that growth on Melbourne’s urban fringes is heavily fuelled by overseas migration – buyers who see traditional house & land products as highly aspirational.

The leading narrative in recent industry discussions regarding Plan Melbourne’s targets suggest that greenfield areas would be met with buyer reluctance due to perceived drawbacks. Limited infrastructure and an assumption that there is a lack of desirable housing options were cited as reasons why buyers would prefer infill housing options over greenfield subdivisions.

However, RPM Buyer Surveys reveal the contrary. “Our research shows that there is a robust and unyielding demand for greenfield land among prospective buyers. These survey results indicate that the allure of spacious living – particularly in larger detached houses – continues to drive interest in greenfield developments,” commented Luke Kelly, National Managing Director of Project Marketing, challenging the expected rise in appeal for infill areas.

Ed Wright, National Director and Head of Transactions & Advisory added, “With recent announcements suggesting a slowdown in preparation of upcoming Precinct Structure Plans (PSP), developers are increasingly favouring greenfield locations with approved PSPs in place.” With such opportunities becoming increasingly rare, these sites are commanding hefty price tags, yet remain more affordable than infill land.

RPM’s recent development site sales in South Morang and Cranbourne East have been evidence of this, with developers eagerly competing to secure PSP-approved land and paying record rates in spite of a soft retail sales market, enabling them to fill their pipelines with longer-term stock.

In anticipation of an increased focus on infill development sites driven by these mooted changes, our Transactions & Advisory team is currently actively working throughout Melbourne’s established areas targeting both zoned development opportunities and potential rezones. Catering to townhouse and apartment projects, these sites are expected to be in high demand as the market picks up on the back of strong immigration figures.

In addition to this work, our team has recently listed several PSP-approved sites in Melbourne’s greenfield corridors which will be coming to the market soon.

This article references findings from our Q2 2023 Greenfield Market Report. For the full report, click here.