Australian property prices have seen strong performance across most of the country, and as a result, many property investors and homeowners are now exploring their options of downsizing, selling to realise the profits, refinance to release equity, and others starting to explore what their property development options may look like. It is this final option that we’ll be exploring today – how can you identify and take advantage of subdividing and splitting up your existing assets to unlock more value.

This week we’re not going to go into detail about the process of renovating or the types of properties that you should build, but rather we will explore how the zoning rules work in the different states and territories across the country. Unfortunately, this isn’t uniform across each of the states and territories and each has its own nuances that all prospective property developers and even property investors should be aware of. A change in the zoning rules on your property or the surrounding area could have an impact on the valuation of your property, as it may make it more attractive to potential developers.

There are currently approximately 517 local councils across Australia, and arguably thousands of different zoning codes, so this is where it can get a little tricky. By understanding zoning codes, we can start to predict population growth, and identify opportunities in property markets.

Let’s explore how each of the states and territories’ zoning rules work.

Western Australia (WA)

WA designed a metric logic to their zoning codes, which are commonly known as R-codes. They are designed to indicate the density of housing that is allowed to be built per hectare of land. This gives you an indication of where townhouses, units, single dwellings or mixed-use developments could be built.

The R-codes in WA can also factor in the following criteria with respect to the property that can be built there also, including:

  • The type of site work that will be required
  • Where parking and access is needed
  • The type of dwelling that is allowed there
  • The maximum height of the dwelling
  • The maximum plot ratio, particularly for apartment buildings
  • The minimum amount of open space needed

Simply put, the R-codes are as follows:”

R-Code Minimum site area per dwelling m2 Average site area per dwelling m2
R15 580 666
R20 350 450
R25 300 350
R30 260 300
R40 180 220
R60 120 150

From R40 and above, multiple dwellings can be built on the site, such as apartments. Originally, they were designed to state that for R20, for example, that twenty dwellings could fit on one hectare of land, and 40 for R40 for example. They have been altered slightly since then though.

New South Wales (NSW)

The key codes in New South Wales are relatively straight-forward and are as follows:

–       R1 ─ General Residential

–       R2 ─ Low-Density Residential

–       R3 ─ Medium Density Residential

–       R4 ─ High-Density Residential

–       R5 ─ Large Lot (Rural) Residential

–       B4 ─ Mixed-Use

Stash is a useful tool, as is the NSW Planning Portal to search addresses and get a clear idea of the current zoning maps in your area.

Victoria (VIC)

In Victoria, they recently went through an overhaul of the zones, which meant that a number of them were changed based on the Government’s agenda throughout the regions.

The key zoning codes in VIC are as follows:

–       NRZ ─ Neighbourhood Residential Zone

–       RGZ ─ Residential Growth Zone

–       GRZ ─ General Residential Zone

–       C1Z ─ Commercial 1 Zone

–       C2Z ─ Commercial 2 Zone

–       MUZ ─ Mixed Use Zone

–       LDRZ ─ Low-Density Residential Zone

–       TZ ─ Township Zone

Queensland (QLD)

QLD as a state has 77 Local Government Areas (LGA), which makes their zoning code system quite complex, and there are many sub-codes in different areas, so this is certainly one to do your homework if you’re considering development options in QLD.

You can check out the City Plan Map in QLD for an idea of the zoning rules, which also allows you to search by address. Given all of the codes and sub-codes in QLD, to avoid any confusion, and this article becoming too lengthy, we want list all of them below.

South Australia (SA)

The zoning codes and system in SA, unfortunately, is not as unified as some of the other states such as NSW, which makes it a little more tricky. They do however at least distinguish between Residential and Commercial, with the following two codes:

–       SAL/C – Commercial

–       SAL/R – Residential

Similar to QLD, there are many Local Government Areas working to different agendas, which again can make development planning perhaps more different in SA. In SA, you can check out the online tool, which allows you to search by address and get an idea of the zoning rules in a particular area.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

The ACT is one of the most simple coding systems to understand, and the codes are as follows:

–       RZ1 – Suburban Zone

–       RZ2 – Sub Core Zone

–       RZ3 – Urban Residential Zone

–       RZ4 – Medium Density Residential Zone

–       RZ5 – High-Density Residential Zone

If you have any questions about the zoning rules or want to explore your options when it comes to financing a development, reach out to our team at Loansuite for a complimentary discussion.



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