Excavator operator Glen Payne from Online Demolition takes a coffee break against the business end of an excavator part-way through demolishing a house. Picture: David Caird
MELBOURNE’S most demolished suburbs have been revealed.
And rather than townhouse and apartment developers, it’s homebuyers and owners looking for bigger houses in the suburbs behind the wrecking ball.
New Victorian Building Authority figures show 5345 demolition permits were issued in the past financial year.
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Master Builders Association Victorian chairman Steven Peluso said for large parts of Melbourne 30 per cent of homes being demolished would be replaced by a family home — particularly in top demolition suburbs Mt Waverley, Glen Waverley, Doncaster and Bentleigh.
“And that has increased,” Mr Peluso said.
But the activity for townhouses and apartments had slowed down as requirements to have 30 per cent open space on a block cut back scope for development.
143 Greythorn Rd, Balwyn Northis priced at $1.25-$1.35 million, but expected to attract buyers willing to pay hundreds of thousands more to bulldoze and replace it.
Home builder Porter Davis has come close to doubling the number of new homes it is building to replace a recently demolished abode.
Hot spots include Blackburn, where they accounted for one in every five demolitions in the past financial year.
General manager digital and marketing Shaun Patterson said they were also seeing growth in Melbourne’s west around areas like Altona.
He said about 60 per cent of their customers were demolishing a long-time family home.
“The reality is, in today’s environment, it’s very easy to knock a house down and put a new one up,” Mr Patterson said.
“A lot of them look around but are attached to the location through kids at school or knowing and liking their neighbours.
“Certainly families and downsizers are driving it.”
Soaring house prices meant many homeowners were taking advantage of the added equity in their home to bulldoze it and build a new one, said Metricon sales and brand manager Damian Morabito.
“Rising house prices, if anything, have been a positive for this market, enabling families and empty nesters to leverage the equity in their land to assist funding their projects,” Mr Morabito said.
The builder had seen the highest demand for such projects in Glen Waverley, Mt Waverley, Bentleigh, Balwyn North and Doncaster — all in the top ten suburbs for demolitions in Melbourne.
“The larger blocks in these sought-after areas are perfect for new family homes to meet today’s lifestyle needs,” Mr Morabito said.
Online Demolition owner Andre Langley with a 20-tonne excavator used to demolish houses. Picture: David Caird
Online Demolitions owner Andre Langley said the wrecking business was booming at the moment.
Across all the demolition work he completed, the majority was for people knocking down a house to replace it with a more modern abode.
“A lot of them are demolishing family homes of a number of years,” Mr Langley said.
“People want to be in a modern home that’s more cost efficient and with more natural light.”
Mr Langley’s company demolished the 13-year family home of Forest Hill residents Lisa Croxford and Tony Barrett this week.
The suburb had 27 demolition permits issued last year, according to the VBA.
The Forest Hill home being demolished this week. Picture: David Caird
The family loved the street and their house, and their kids were in local schools, but the home “leaked like a sieve”, Ms Croxford said.
“It is also tricky to upsize in the area and near impossible to get a well-built modern home. Hence, our decision to stay put and demolish,” she said.
Their new home would be energy efficient, spacious and filled with natural light — making the best of their block’s orientation, but would be the first change in a street that consists entirely of weatherboard houses.
The process can be surprisingly precise when it needs to be. Picture: David Caird
“We are building a modern architect-designed home — so our neighbours are also saying goodbye to a streetscape that has been in place for some 50 years,” Ms Croxford said
“We know however that whilst we are the first others also have plans to rebuild.”
Many homebuyers are also purchasing a home with the intent to bulldoze it.
Upwards of 80 per cent of the older houses in Glen Waverley and Mt Waverley on a 650sq m or bigger block were being sold for $1.2 million-plus to buyers planning to demolish them, according to Harcourts Judd White director Dexter Prack.
4 Fairhills Pde, Glen Waverley goes under the hammer on October 13 — and could face the wrecking ball at the hands of a family wanting a new home soon after.
“An original home will be knocked down, that’s the area we are in — people won’t renovate,” Mr Prack said.
Aaron Kee is having a Burwood home knocked down and rebuilt by Porter Davis.
He said he bought the property in November last year specifically to replace with a new one after working out that it would be a similar cost to renovating his current home in nearby Mt Waverley.
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The Burwood house was recently demolished, with one of the key motivations being to have a comfortable family home for the long term where grandchildren could one day come to stay.
It would also help future-proof them for when homebuyers were looking at the home later in their life and didn’t want a home that needed to be updated.
“We have been thinking about this for two or three years and looking at different options,” Mr Kee said.
MELBOURNE’S MOST DEMOLISHED SUBURBS
Most demolition permits issued by suburb
Glen Waverley — 132
Mt Waverley — 125
Bentleigh East — 108
Reservoir — 96
Doncaster East — 66
Balwyn North — 59
Doncaster — 53
Glenroy — 50
Altona North — 49
Bentleigh — 49