Greenfield summary 2020
Greenfield land is former rural land in Melbourne’s growth areas that is being developed for housing, typically detached houses. Melbourne’s growth areas are located in the municipalities of Cardinia, Casey, Hume, Melton, Mitchell, Whittlesea and Wyndham.
The Urban Development Program (UDP) has identified a pipeline of steps as land progresses from paddocks to lots for dwellings.
- At the end of 2020 there was enough englobo land to develop approximately 352,600 retail lots (lots for dwellings to be bult on).
- There are 227,100 lots already zoned for residential use and 125,500 on land that requires a Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) before it can be subdivided into retail lots.
- At the end of 2020 there were an additional 40,185 proposed greenfield lots in Melbourne’s growth areas. Bringing total greenfield land supply to 392,785 lots.
- In 2020 22,740 greenfield lots were released with a title across the growth areas. This is slightly more than the 22,288 lots released in 2019.
The Greenfield pipeline
At the end of the calendar year 2020, there was enough englobo land, both unzoned and zoned, to develop approximately 352,600 retail lots (lots for dwellings to be bult on) across Melbourne’s growth areas. Englobo supply acts as a pool for future retail lots. The amount of englobo land decreases as retail lots are developed. However, as the area of retail lots decreases, the supply of englobo land is extended.
Unzoned englobo land
There are 125,500 unzoned englobo lots across metropolitan Melbourne’s growth areas. The Hume/Mitchell growth area has the greatest amount of unzoned englobo land with an estimated 63,600 lots. Unzoned englobo land requires a PSP before the land can be subdivided. The development of PSPs can be led by councils or the Victorian Planning Authority.
Zoned englobo land
The Western growth areas (Wyndham and Melton) has the greatest level of zoned englobo supply with an estimated 141,200 lot. The Whittlesea growth area has the most constrained zoned englobo supply with an estimated 36,300 lots with a further 3,400 lots of unzoned englobo supply.
The planning status of the Precinct Structure Plans can be viewed on Greenfields - VPA.
Englobo Zoned and unzoned lots
Retail lot supply
Retail lots refer to land that has been subdivided from the large englobo greenfield land parcels into land that is available for individual users to build dwellings on. There are two stages that the Urban Development Program (UDP) tracks: Proposed lots and Lots with a title
At the end of the 2020 calendar year, there were 40,185 proposed lots in the growth areas. This is the number of proposed lots in the system at the end of December 2020. Lots are being added to the stock of proposed lots while others are removed as they are provided with a title or are removed as they lapse. The growth areas in Wyndham and Melton had the largest number of proposed lots across metropolitan Melbourne making up 53% of the total.
Lots with a title
There were 22,740 lots released with a title, or approved, in 2020 across metropolitan Melbourne’s growth areas. This is slightly greater than the 22,288 lots approved in 2019.
In 2020 the Casey/Cardinia, Melton and Wyndham growth areas experienced an increase in the number of lots approved. The Melton growth area had the largest number of lots issued with a title in the calendar year 2020. When viewing it on a subregional basis, the two western growth of Melton and Wyndham made up most new retail lots with 56% of lots released with a title in 2020 across the metropolitan growth areas.
Lots approved by Growth Area
Lot breakdown by Growth Area, Status, and PSP
Size of greenfield lots
The last decade has seen a gradual and significant change in growth area lot sizes. Currently 87% of lots with a title in the growth areas have an area between 1m2 and less than 500m2. This is a significant change when compared with the 2006-07 period when only a third of lots were below 500m2. Furthermore, lots less than 300m2 make up nearly 28% of new lots. Over the last decade the number of larger lots (more than 500 m2) has declined significantly, leading to more consolidated urban form in Melbourne’s growth areas.
The trend to smaller lots is set to continue with 88% of proposed lots having an area of less than 500m2.The area of proposed lots provides insight into the size of future lots. In the current proposed lots data, 8% of the new lots are expected to be between 500m2 and 650m2 compared to the 11% of lots released with a title in 2020. Lots with an area greater than 650m2 are a minority of those planned, making up 3% of currently proposed lots compared to making up 20% of lots released with a title in 2007-08.
The decrease in the area of residential lots is leading to a denser urban form in Melbourne’s growth areas. Additionally, the information about lot sizes feeds into the UDP’s estimate of future capacity of englobo land and the years of supply. This results in an increase in the capacity of the growth areas to accommodate residential development in the future and extends the life of greenfield development.
Proportion of lot size category per year
Land supply and take up – years of supply remaining
The Planning Policy Framework identifies the need to “Plan to accommodate projected population growth over at least a 15 year period and provide clear direction on locations where growth should occur.” Greenfield supply is one element of the land required to provide dwellings to service population growth.
The table provides an estimate of the years remaining of greenfield land supply in the growth areas. These estimates are based on the average rate of lots released over the long-term time period (between 2007-08 and 2020) and a short-term time period (2018 to 2020). The long-term average considers the variability of development levels while the short-term average recognises that over the last three years, there has been a record high level of development.
Using the long-term average, there is an estimated 25 years of land supply remaining in the growth areas. Using the short-term average, this is reduced to 18 years.
Supply and take-up are not evenly distributed across the growth areas with more mature areas, such as Casey-Cardinia, having limited supply and higher rates of approved lots compared to newly developing areas like Hume-Mitchell and Melton, where there is higher levels of supply and lower levels of lots approved.
Take-up scenario and estimated supply
Total supply (englobo and proposed)
Long-term average annual number of lots with a title 2007-08 to 2020
Long-term estimated years of supply remaining
Short-term average annual number of lots with a title 2018 to 2020
Short-term estimated years of supply
These estimates will change over time as the:
- Increased density of development increases the amount of supply remaining. The average lot size being developed in the growth areas has been decreasing since 2007-08. This trend is set to continue in the near-term as the lot size of proposed lots are smaller than the lots approved in 2020.
- Rate of development in the Growth Areas varies. The last three assessments (2018 to 2020) have seen record levels of lots approved for the construction of dwellings. If this trend continues it would result in a lower level of supply remaining. However, if the level of activity returns to its long-term average, then land supply will reflect the long-term estimate.