4 November 2015
Sydney in the midst of a ‘granny flat boom’
The structure in question was an old stable where the original well-to-do owners had once kept their horse.
“I liked the stable because I’m a country girl, but it was really run down,” Roberts says.
“We also knew it was a drawcard because at that point it was hard to get a second dwelling approved,” she says.
Since then, NSW has experienced huge growth in granny flats, with a 260 per cent increase over five years to June 2014.
Associate Director at research house BIS Shrapnel, Kim Hawtrey, says that while there’s been a lot of focus on the construction ‘boom’ of high-density developments, the rise in the affordable alternative has gone largely unnoticed.
“It is a granny flat boom. We are building almost 5000 granny flats a year in New South Wales,” Hawtrey says.
That figure translates to nearly one granny flat for every 10 new dwellings approved.
According to Hawtrey, there are plenty of reasons why second dwellings have become so popular, including the fact that children are living with their parents longer as well as an ageing baby boomer population.
“You could get a $400,000 apartment or you could build a $150,000 granny flat – so it’s the cheaper option.”
“International buyers often have multi-generational members of the family around,” Hawtrey explains.
“It means family members can come and stay or live and still have a degree of independence.”
The BIS Building Industry Prospects report shows that a granny flat can improve the rental income on the median house in Sydney from 2.5 per cent to 3.6 per cent – a return of $300 extra per week.
Some home owners are even moving into their granny flats and renting out their main homes, Hawtrey says.
Within Sydney, Bankstown, Blacktown and Parramatta in particular are seeing an increase in granny flats.
“It goes to show we don’t necessarily just need high rise buildings to solve the issue of a booming population and affordability crisis.”
For Penelope Roberts, her backyard stable turned granny flat has been used as a home office, an extra space for her teenage sons and a guest house where visitors can come and go as they please.
And now that her home is on the market, she thinks the second dwelling will definitely add value to the property.
“I think it is a big drawcard for potential buyers – it’s effectively an extra room with the house. It could be put on Airbnb or rented out as well,” she says.