A city of hot spots

DEVELOPERS are tapping into rising housing demand with several new subdivisions either approved or on the books.

The developments will take advantage of an eight per cent increase in Goulburn’s median house price in the past year and a 20.5 per cent rise over three years.

Smart Property Investment magazine this week also named Goulburn as among the top 50 centres to invest. The ‘investment hot-spots’ were chosen based on population growth, demand for housing, income level, employment, vacancy rates, previous capital growth and current gross rental yields.

Bathurst and Muswellbrook also featured among the NSW regional towns chosen by a panel. Recently released land valuations reveal a slight increase in residential values in Goulburn Mulwaree. Goulburn Mulwaree Council conditionally approved a 112- lot subdivision at Mary’s Mount at its December meeting.

Local firm, Mount Properties and an adjoining owner are developing lots ranging from 705 to 2046 square metres on the northern side of Marys Mount Rd (near the Middle Arm Rd intersection) across three stages.

The site takes in the former boarding kennels and will be named Merino Country Estate. The development is one of the largest in the area, joining the Belmore Estate, Mistful Park on the corner of Crookwell and Marys Mount Roads and the large Monastery Gardens Estate.

All up, the council is expecting 1700 blocks to be developed at Marys Mount. Up until now, most have been concentrated on the southern side. However planners told a recent meeting they’re receiving more applications and inquiries for lots on the northern side.

Mount Properties consultant, Greg Todd of Southern Region Land Engineering, said his client had done his research.

“He did his homework on the interest from the Canberra market. He’s been very specific with the lot layout,” he said.

Mr Todd told the Post he’d been working in Goulburn for the past nine years, but set up his own here business in mid-2011.

“During that time, the huge housing demand of 2004/05 has dropped off to a steady flow and you see subdivisions like Belmore Estate ticking along nicely,” he said.

“The demand is still there for small size lots rather than the larger ones (2000 square metres), which is an awkward size.”

The development was approved subject to revised staging and reworking of the internal road network, especially connections to the adjoining land. Meantime, Ganter Constructions has started road work on its Mistful Park estate.

Director Basil Toparis did not wish to comment on whether he still intended the originally planned 220 lots. A concept plan lodged several years ago with Council also included a 15- acre commercial development near the Marys Mount and Crookwell Rd corner, which included a small supermarket. It’s not clear whether this component is going ahead.

Kenmore subdivision

Elsewhere, the council last month also conditionally approved a 20-lot residential subdivision at Kenmore Hospital, lining Taralga Rd.

However the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage has yet to sign off on the development. Consultant Alf Lester, of LFA Pacific Pty Ltd, said the site owners would maintain and restore nine existing houses and build 11 new homes along the strip.

The new houses would complement the current ones in terms of setback. Landscaping and uniform fencing are also planned.

The project is designed to raise funds for developing the rest of the Kenmore site. However at this stage the NSW Heritage Council has not approved a master plan, submitted by Mr Lester’s firm last year.

It contends there is insufficient information about development of buildings with high heritage value. Approval of the master plan also affects the Taralga Rd houses but Mr Lester is hopeful of a breakthrough by the end of the month.

He said it was difficult to provide information at this stage on individual building use, as the Heritage Council required. Like the chicken and egg scenario, parties interested in leasing or buying parts of Kenmore Hospital were unlikely to do so until a master plan was approved.

“We’re preparing a best case scenario of what development will take place, which we’ll soon be lodging,” he said.

Mr Lester told the Post the owners could either call for expressions of interest in construction or directly enlist a developer.

In other parts of Goulburn, the council is hoping to open up more housing development around the Shannon Drive area (near Ridge St, west Goulburn). It is awaiting approval from the NSW Department of Planning to reduce lot sizes from two hectares to 2000 square metres, complementing nearby areas like Bonnett Park.

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