Fence Posts – Don Ravida, Ravida Group Managing Director

Fence Posts – Don Ravida, Ravida Group Managing Director
13 Mar 2008

BASEMENT TRENDS IN BUILDING

Basements in residential dwellings were once a trend that was reserved for the likes of Toorak mansions. However, as Melbourne’s land value is rapidly increasing, the concept of using less land while utilising the same amount of space is seeing a rise in the number of new homes built with underground car parking across the suburbs.

The cost and availability of large blocks that allow for big luxury houses offering an outdoor lifestyle complete with Alfresco entertainment area, a pool and still room for a double or triple garage is rapidly diminishing, especially in the inner city suburbs of Melbourne.

Blocks allowing enough space to fulfill these requirements are rarely available on the market throughout established inner city suburbs and when they are, they are very expensive with prices often further inflated by competition from developers seeking quality sites for medium-density dwellings.

Buyers looking to build a luxury home with all the added conveniences are now seriously considering the option of basements. Like many standard American homes, these are usually used as garages but can also include home theatres, rumpus rooms, workshops, wine cellars, music rooms and laundries; and it’s a trend that doesn’t look likely to end soon.

As luxury home builders, we have noticed a sharp increase in requests for homes with basements to provide these luxuries even beyond the borders of Toorak to places including Hawthorn, Malvern, Balwyn, Kew, Camberwell, Bayside and more.

The benefits that can be gained by designing a home with a basement in terms of the aesthetics, the size of house/garage/storage/backyard and maximizing the use of your land can well and truly offset the associated costs.

Most commonly, the request for basements is to service the need for undercover parking and basement garages are the ideal solution. Not only does it save land for outdoor lifestyle, but it increases the home’s size, allowing more space on the ground floor and enhances the façade by taking away ugly garage doors or cars parked in driveways out the front.

The inclusion of basements has seen another additional trend emerge, the use of elevators. Having fallen in price over the last couple of years due to competitive businesses vying for commercial contracts, lifts can be installed and maintained at a much more affordable rate than once thought.

Of course, there are many expenses involved in the inclusion of a basement, however, if purchasers saved money on the land and spent it on the creation of an underground level, they would reap many benefits in the long run as they have automatically increased the value of their property which will secure their initial investment.

Although there are only a handful of residential builders who have the knowledge and expertise, learned from building multi level developments, that enable them to include basements into residential dwellings, I believe it is something that buyers should look into as a huge space saver and indeed a great lifestyle option.

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