how much land do you need to build

You’re probably reading this article because you want to know how much land you need to build 2 townhouses or even how much land you need to build 3 townhouses.

And the reason you want to know this is because property developers can make serious money.

But like any investment venture, rushing in uninformed is tantamount to throwing your money away. And nobody wants to do that, right?

So, like all of our articles, this one is designed to inform you. In particular, it’s designed to inform you of how much land you need to build 2 townhouses and how much land you need to build 3 townhouses.

Why just 2 or 3? Because these types of townhouse developments are most common. These dual occupancy type projects are also the lowest risk with the highest potential reward.

So, let’s get into it.

Consider the Variables

This is the first step. When determining if a site is viable to develop 2 or 3 townhouses, there are variables to consider, particularly from a size and dimensions standpoint.

As with most things, when it comes to building townhouse developments, there are many moving parts.

Also, there isn’t a blanket answer for what might seem pretty straightforward questions.

Each site is different, and each project is different.

This means they require different approaches. There’s no one size fits all.

In this article, we will break down the land sizes and dimensions required as a minimum for various development types and sizes.

Land Size is Only One Metric

Land size is only one metric. And it’s a valid one for sure, but it’s not necessarily the only metric you need to look at.

To determine the viability of a site for a particular development type, you need to consider other things.

For instance, other equally important and sometimes even more relevant metrics are things like street frontage. You’ll also want to consider surrounding neighbours properties.

In addition, you even need to consider the orientation of a site.

Site orientation will determine what you can expect to achieve on that site as far as the number of townhouses and their sizes.

Furthermore, several other factors need to be considered as well.

Don’t worry – we’ll explain this throughout the article.

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How Much Land Do You Need to Build 2 Townhouses

how much land do you need to build 2 townhouses

Here we’ll answer the question about the land size required for a dual occupancy subdevelopment.

When we say this, we mean two townhouses, situated side by side.

As a guide, and generally speaking, a site with a 15m frontage is ideally what we are looking for here. This means that the frontage is 15m across left to right.

That said, we have done side by side dual occupancy townhouse developments with a 12m frontage.

We have even done them with a 10m frontage.

It is always going to be site and location-specific. Under the right circumstances, it can happen, for instance …

Where a site has a right of way out the back of the property. This means we could get the parking in the back.

Now the above example only worked due to the right of way out the back. A site without this with a smaller frontage in most cases (if not all) wouldn’t work.

Are you beginning to see how we need to approach each site differently? There’s no one size fits all in this game.

You will also want to look for precedence in the area that you are looking to develop.

This means doing your research.

Take a drive around the suburb. Are there sites with dual occupancy townhouse developments on them?

What are the dimensions, street frontage and land size of these developments?

Here’s a tip – you can use websites like Landchecker to find out this kind of information.

The above frontage metrics should get you heading in the right direction. Furthermore, precedence will always give you confidence.

However, it can be more challenging when it comes to land size as there are variables that will affect what is possible.

An Example of Potential Issues with a Site

dual occupancy land size

Here’s a good example of what can go wrong:

You could find a 300 square metre site that can get developed into a dual occupancy development.

Conversely, you could find a 500 square meter site that can’t get developed for various reasons. Some possible scenarios include:

  • Issues with setbacks,
  • Unfavourable orientation
  • Poor location

There is a host of other possibilities that could negatively affect what can be achieved with a site.

It is always going to be site and area-specific. Also, as mentioned in the introduction, there are no blanket answers to these questions.

“But why not,” you ask? “Investment should be simple!”

Investment Isn’t Always Simple

Unfortunately, you’re wrong here. Property development investment is a high-risk, high reward game. However, with suitable risk mitigation, you can come out on top.

And part of the risk mitigation is knowing that there are no blanket answers.

Thinking there are blanket answers to these questions is a mistake.

Why? Because it isn’t that simple.

We also know you can find “blanket answers” online, and you’ve probably already searched and potentially even read if you’re reading this.

Above all, these are all misleading. Because it isn’t that simple.

A standard blanket answer for a side-by-side dual occupancy development online, for instance, would typically say you need a minimum 400 square meters.

It might also say you need a 15-metre frontage.

Now on paper, this is awesome. It may be the perfect development site (under the right circumstances).

However, if you then run off looking for something that ticks those boxes, you will potentially get yourself in trouble.

Not to mention that you are most likely missing out on a world of other possibilities.

The main tip here is don’t look for blanket answers. Instead, build up your arsenal of knowledge and experience.

We say it here at Little Fish all the time – knowledge is not only power, but it is also money!

And in this game, making money is the primary goal.

Now, let’s keep rolling.

How Much Land Do You Need to Build 3 Townhouses

how much land to build 3 townhouses

We’ve covered off on how much land do you need to build 2 townhouses, but what about how much land you need to build 3 townhouses?

Again, we wish it was a simple answer. Above all, we don’t want to give you a bum steer.

That’s why we’re so forthright in this article.

We want to get you heading in the right direction. Ideally, we want to set you up so you can identify potential lucrative 3 townhouse sites.

Additionally, we’re preparing you to spot the ones that others might not recognise on the back of their lack of experience and knowledge.

At the same time, you’ll have the ability, ready to go.

Think about it, what if you only know the basics like the lion share of others looking for similar opportunities?

In this case, you will have to compete with the Joneses when trying to secure a site. That’s the last thing you want to do as a beginner property developer.

What About the Competition?

buying land under competition

Competition, as we know, drives price. The key is to find the needles in the haystack. To find the diamonds in the rough.

These are the sites that require more knowledge and experience to give you the confidence to pull the trigger.

So, what should you do instead of trying to get simple blanket answers?

You need a long game. It’s worth taking two steps backwards to learn as much as you can. This means you can take a significant leap forward.

It will pay dividends in the long run. It will also get you miles ahead of the competition.

Let’s keep talking about how much land do you need to build 3 townhouses.

Victorian Government Changes to Developments

Now the Victorian government has made a change to development requirements. They require a certain amount of what is referred to as garden open space now.

So, after May 2018 what would typically suit a 4 townhouse site would then be a 3 townhouse site. This is because of the garden open space requirement.

As such, old 3 townhouse sites would be more suited as 2 townhouse sites these days.

This is basically due to the government requirement of needing to provide more garden open space.

Prior to this garden open space rule coming in, 650 square meters for a 3 townhouse site might have been perfect.

However, today you will generally require 750 squares. This is particularly if it is a standard site. By standard, we mean not a corner site.

Remember, if you are doing a standard site and developing front to back then you are going to have common property as well.

This will eat into what you can achieve with the individual dwellings and land parcels too.

Typically, here at Little Fish, we only look to do 3 townhouse sites on corner sites.

This is so that each dwelling has its own street frontage, and there is no need for common property.

This means you can potentially do a 3 townhouse build on a 500 square meter site. How’s that for bang for buck?

Remember, though, these are rough guides/estimates to get you thinking like a property developer.

Don’t take it to mean that every 500 square meter corner site is perfect for a 3 townhouse site. Because that isn’t the case.

What it means is that it is a good place to start.

So you would continue to peel the onion back and tick the other boxes you would want to tick before acting on a site.

Remember that saying – knowledge is power, but it’s also money.

What is the Minimum Land size for Subdivision in Victoria?

minimum land size for subdivision in victoria

Remember what we said about there being no one size fits all? Keep this in mind for this question.

That said, town planners can be particular. They seem to like the rule of 300 square metres per dwelling. This isn’t set in stone but is a good rough guide.

They make be flexible depending on other factors, such as precedence and zoning.

With that figure in mind, the minimum block size would be 600 squares.

But we mentioned above we can build 3 townhouses on a 500 square site.

Are you beginning to see that there are no blanket rules? We hope so because if there’s one point we want to drive home, it’s that.

We cannot understate the importance of identifying the correct type of site right.

It can literally make or break your project. If you get this wrong you will be chasing your tail for the duration of the project which is not much fun, I can tell you!

We have often seen people rush into buying a development site. They get emotionally attached and go bust.

We always advise people to stay calm and collected and think with detachment.

The likelihood of a negative result because you’ve rushed acquiring a site is very real.

So, take the time you need, gain the knowledge and learn all that you can. This way, you can make decisions with confidence.

A Word About the Building Envelope

Now, we need to mention this. Sometimes a site may seem perfect, but it just won’t work.

This is because it is simply too small to fit the number of dwellings you want to build.

townhouse building envelope

We call this the building envelope. This term means the area of land within the title boundaries of the site – where all the buildings can sit.

This is within all the legal and zoning requirements.

This measurement does not appear on any titles or documents; it’s something that needs to get identified.

This means you need to do your due diligence. As we said, don’t get emotionally involved because you like the area or like the block.

Be prepared, always.

If you aren’t already confident you should learn everything you can about the stages of buildinng a house.

Want to Get Involved in Property Development?

little fish property developments

Now, what if you’ve read this and you want to become a property developer too?

You can keep learning and practising and embark on it yourself – we wish you the best of luck.

But if you want to reduce the risk, you can partner with Little Fish. We manage projects day in and day out for investors like you.

These are people that either have land or have some capital and want to generate wealth.

We run the project, keep you informed, and increase the likelihood of you walking away with a return on your investment.

To learn more, call us now on 1300 799 277. We’re always happy to have a chat and help people like you learn.