Architect AJ Bala wants to see shell apartments take off in Kingston Foreshore. Photo: Katheirne Griffiths
A housing concept where people buy just the shell of an apartment could provide more choice and diversity in the multi-unit development market, a local architect says.
DNA Architects' AJ Bala said he came up with the idea while examining the possibility of introducing new dwelling types into the capital. He said buyers would initially purchase the outside of the apartment and then would decide exactly how the inside would be designed and fitted out.
It would enable both cost-effective solutions, if needed, and diversity, with each apartment a completely individual design.
Mr Bala first saw the shell concept when he was working in Vietnam and prime land was sold to locals who then picked their choice of fittings out of display suites.
He said in the ACT, the idea would create another avenue for first-home buyers to get into the market because it would lower the base cost of an apartment and, in turn, reduce stamp duty.
Mr Bala said it would also be a good initiative for the investment market because it would allow the individual designs to be created within the same development.
''It's to give a bit more choice so you don't get a complex where everything is exactly the same, and when 90 per cent of them go out for rent you're going to be competing against other investors,'' he said.
''There's a thousand different ways you can design a space, I suppose, and everyone's an individual and everyone's needs are different.''
The architect said initially it would have to be an off-the-plan concept in the ACT until the idea became popular enough to allow apartment blocks to be offered as completed groups of shells.
But he said it would require a bit of a tweak to the planning laws and the support of the housing industry.
''You have to have a developer that's willing to take a risk on something that hasn't been trialled before in Australia, but then the banks and the planning authority need to get on board for it to work.''