Granny flats becoming groovy accommodation option in rising property market

Jun 29, 2014

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Ever considered downsizing, but know you would rather find a way to help your kids build an asset at the same time?  Ever contemplated a smaller home, without paying rates?  Ever discussed with your children how they could transform their home and unused land to bring you closer and reduce the cost of living for both of you?  Or ever contemplated putting one into your home to bring in some extra income for your retirement?

Several years ago one of my industry peers had her parents move into the downstairs of their Queenslander where their two adult-two teenager family lived comfortably for many years.  Their Mum and Dad had sold their inner city unit and their inner city business and were ready to find the next option in their life and had moved in briefly to “bridge the gap”.  But that bridge took on a whole new meaning when they sat around together one day, whilst in limbo and decided that they might just be better off if they pooled some of their money to invest in the renovation of their children’s home in a good suburb to put in the downstairs that had eluded them for many years, then live in it.  And that they did.  Their parents invested over $150,000 on a decent sized renovation, adding significant value to the beautiful home, but also adding a comfortable place they could live.

The humble granny flat has become something rather powerful in the search for the ideal style of accommodation for the future.  It can unlock the downstairs area of a high set but not built in house, or it can maximise the yard usage on a house block to bring in a second source of income or allow a loved one to live nearby without “living in”.  With the lack of affordable housing in many cities, they are no doubt going to become more prevalent.

According to Census data released in 2011, most Australians aged over 65 years old lived in a private house with a partner. Only 26 per cent of people aged 85 years and over lived in aged care facilities or retirement villages, dropping from 39 per cent in 1999.  And less than 8-9% of Australians will ever go into Aged Care.  And it is because of this that different, flexible and connected styles of living may become more prevalent.

Renting out a granny flat can yield you good money too, especially if you are prepared to let it to people that you would not consider family, or at “mates rates”.  Some granny flats in central areas can draw an income of up to $300/PW.

“Adding the additional dwelling onto your property does require council approval however it will attract buyers to your home when you sell and increase the selling price” said Nathan Helmsley from Ray White Central.

In 2009 the NSW Government released the Affordable Rental Housing – State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP). It encourages people to build more granny flats and allows investors and buyers the chance to grow their property portfolio.

Granny flats can be build as a renovation, with the guidance of a builder, or from a pre-fabricated option and range widely in price.  Prefab options can be purchased from approximately $35,000 base cost, and look like a very entertaining way to share the cost of living with others in your family who might be looking to do so also.

Could a granny flat be the accommodation idea you are looking for?

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