Melbourne development numbers: Building size & Project Status - January 2015

Now that we have collectively recovered from the Christmas and New Year period and plodded our way back into work, it's time to pay attention! As at the time of publishing, we are tracking a total of 568 residential projects across four different project statuses.

Of the projects where we do have total residential data, there is a total of 58,478 units. Overwhelmingly the most common building type is the mid-rise representing 51% of all projects on the database yet these projects contain 30% of total residential units with high-rises, naturally, dominating the raw unit numbers.

Over the break we've completed a large-scale update of the database and utilising the fresh numbers from the Urban Melbourne Project Database, here's a high level look at the current state of play.


Building Types

  • Low-rise: a building which has up to 5 levels.
  • Mid-rise: a building which has between 6 and 12 levels.
  • High-rise: a Building which has 13 or more levels.

When counting the levels in a building, the ground floor which has an entrance opening onto the footpath is always the first level and the first floor above the ground level is the second level and so on.

Project Status

  • Planning Assessment: a developer has lodged a planning application and it is currently being assessed by the Responsible Authority (either the Local Government Area's planning department or the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure).
  • Approved: the Responsible Authority has approved the developer's planning application.
  • Registration & Sales: the development is actively being marketed and sales agents are taking registrations of interest.
  • Under Construction: builders and contractors are on site and the development is heading skyward.

Many developers begin pre-sales campaigns for developments during assessment or approval stages - think of the Registration & Sales phase as when a development is being marketed on Urban Melbourne or through other media channels that Urban Melbourne editors and contributors have cited.

Total number of residential projects, broken down by building type and project status

Building Type Planning Assessment Approved Registration & Sales Under Construction Total
Low-rise 17 (53%) 23 (83%) 51 (37%) 33 (60%) 124
Mid-rise 56 (63%) 84 (77%) 78 (50%) 75 (80%) 293
High-rise 44 (66%) 42 (83%) 25 (72%) 40 (75%) 151
Total 117 149 154 148 568

The Urban Melbourne Project Database aggregates public domain information from planning applications, marketing material and in more cases than not, directly from a developer, architect or planning consultant. That said, there are some gaps in the data we have and the numbers in brackets in the table above represent the percentage of projects where we have total residential unit data.

It's all about the volume: buildings with 12 levels or less make up the bulk of Melbourne's urban development scene - Image from

Total number of residential units, broken down by building type and project status

Building Type Planning Assessment Approved Registration & Sales Under Construction Total
Low-rise 427 972 1036 1088 3523
Mid-rise 2797 6526 3519 4424 17,266
High-rise 10,884 13,146 5199 8460 37,689
Total 14,108 20,644 9754 13,972 58,478

The data above is compiled from all the projects on the Urban Melbourne Project Database where total residential unit data exists.

High-rises naturally contain highest number of total residential units - 661 Chapel Street, South Yarra - Image © Bird De La Coeur

Based on our records where we do have total residential unit data, the average number of residential units for each of the building types is as follows:

  • Low-rise: 52 units
  • Mid-rise: 66 units
  • High-rise: 335 units

Next time, we'll break down the numbers by suburb.

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