2015 in review

2015 in review
Mark BaljakDecember 20, 2015

Another year is about to slip into the annals of time, although 2015 was more interesting than most from a development perspective. Melbourne's rampant push toward apartment living marched on and it was met for the first time with tangible policy from the current Victorian Government.

Urban.com.au too continues to evolve with 2015 being our third year of existence.

The headlines of 2015

No surprises that Planning Minister Richard Wynne's move to curtail Melbourne's growing skyscraper list by implementing new restrictions over the CBD and Southbank ranks as one of, if not the biggest headline of 2015. It is worth noting that there are currently 35 towers of over 200 metres in Melbourne between planning and construction; a mass in anyone's language.

Equally as noteworthy are the proposed changes to apartment standards with May's announcement of the "Better Apartments – A Discussion Paper" which seeks to initiate new benchmarks for apartment design.

Looking ahead and 2016 will be another exciting year with the Victorian Government set to receive its first 30 year infrastructure strategy via Infrastructure Victoria, while the fate of planning in Fishermans Bend and how the Victorian Government may wish to adapt the new residential zones introduced under the previous government will become clearer.

Growth in readership

In terms of Urban.com.au's total audience, we have had 440,000 unique visitors over the past 12 months. As 290,000 of these were from Melbourne, roughly six percent of the city's population has visited us at least once during the year.

And we are now attracting a broader audience: chances are 35% of the people who read this article today will not be located in Melbourne. Contrast that with our first year where a very slim 15% of the site's audience were located outside Melbourne.

These numbers are underpinned by the Urban.com.au Project Database which has expanded rapidly during 2015, with no less than 1,022 listings of current Melbourne projects; that is projects between planning and construction. The vast majority of the listings are residential in nature with 2016 shaping as a bumper year for apartment releases.

We have been saying it and providing the raw data for three years now: there is an enormous amount of project work in the middle-ring suburbs which are not high-rises and if we were to make a prediction, we will see it expand further. We are a good two years beyond the introduction of the new residential zones and we are now starting to see the database expand rapidly in 3-6 floor range.

The low and mid-rise suburban apartment complex really is becoming the engine house of Melbourne's push to accommodate an increasing population and we expect low-rise high-density planning and urban development headlines to have just as much emphasis next year and beyond.

Off The Plan Melbourne

With that in mind, we are excited about 2016 as early in the new year we will be launching of our second website: Off The Plan Melbourne.

The new site will act as a self-contained extension of the Urban.com.au Project Database with its own content-base and a focus of connecting our existing and expanding property-buyer audience with developers and their sales agents. Marketers, agents and developers are encouraged to contact Alastair Taylor (alastair@urban.melbourne) for more information.

From all of us at Urban.com.au, we would like to wish everyone a rewarding break and happy new year. We will be back to publishing articles on the 18th of January.

Mark Baljak

Mark Baljak was a co-founder of Urban.com.au. He passed away on Thursday 8th of November 2018 after a battle with cancer. He was 37. Mark was a keen traveller, having visited all six permanently-inhabited continents and had a love of craft beer. One of his biggest passions was observing the change that has occurred in Melbourne over the past two decades. In that time he built an enormous library of photos, all taken by him, which tracked the progress of construction on building sites from across metropolitan Melbourne.

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