How Does Zoning Affect Your Property?

Damian Coad
March 14, 2019


Zoning affects every piece of land in Australia, but it still remains a mystery for many property owners.

We’ve outlined what zoning is, how it affects what you can do with your land and what happens when an area is rezoned.

What is zoning and how is it determined?

Zoning refers to regulations that dictate what each parcel of land can be used for and the type of building that can be constructed. For example, a lot might be zoned for residential use, meaning no one can build or operate a retail store and no business can open there. Alternatively, if it’s zoned industrial, building houses are prohibited.

Local councils use zoning as part of their regulatory plans, allowing them to control how quickly development happens and the direction any development can take.

What types of zoning are allowed in Victoria?

Zoning generally falls into four overarching categories – residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural – which are then split into subcategories for specific types of use.

In Victoria, residential zoning subcategories include:

  • Neighbourhood Residential Zone, which refers to areas with minimal planned change, meaning the existing single and double storey residential development must be strictly adhered to.
  • General Residential Zone, these areas can change moderately so diverse housing types can be added in some places, so long as they respect the neighbourhood character.
  • Residential Growth Zone, these areas are changing a lot to accommodate growth. Diverse housing types can be found here, including medium density dwellings such as townhouses and apartments.

Each suburb will have different compositions of each type of zoning, depending on how the council wants those areas to grow and change over time. For example, Blackburn and Mitcham are predominantly zoned for general residential and neighbourhood residential, with small residential growth zones.

Wantirna, on the other hand, doesn’t currently have any neighbourhood residential zones and also has much smaller pockets allowing for residential growth.

What does zoning mean for your property?

When it comes to residential property, zoning determines the size and density of the property. This can cause issues for homeowners wanting to convert their house into townhouses, add a granny flat or add an extension, as there’s a chance your land won’t be zoned for that type of use.

So if you’re house-hunting with a large renovation project in mind, it pays to research the area’s zoning before making an offer.

You should always be sure to check what’s planned for the site of your home, especially if you’re hoping to buy in a certain area. The quiet residential street you have your eye on might have apartment blocks or other developments on the horizon, or your home could become the interest of developers if your land allows for higher-density residential use.

This is often the effect of rezoning.

What is rezoning and what happens when an area is rezoned?

Melbourne is currently going through a population boom and every level of government is making plans to accommodate more residents. On a local level, this can translate into an area being rezoned to allow for more apartment buildings and potentially increased commercial spaces.

Rezoning like this is a regular process, where local governments consider the future needs of their municipalities and adjust zoning accordingly.

This can be good news for owners wanting to extend their existing homes or make room for another residence on their land, but it can also be much bigger than that. In certain areas, there can be a lot of interest from property developers looking for large parcels of land for their next residential projects. If your land is rezoned, it may be possible to sell your home to developers for a premium. You can read more about that phenomenon here.

Unsure how zoning affects your property in Melbourne’s East? Get in touch with us today.

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