High-density development requires large land parcels, but fragmented land ownership can impede redevelopment. While earlier compact city development in Sydney occurred on large-scale brownfield sites, redeveloping and re-amalgamating older strata-titled properties is now integral to further densification. The purpose of this study is to examine collective sales activity in one Sydney suburb where multiple strata-titled redevelopments and re-amalgamations have been attempted. The authors explore how owners navigate the process of selling collectively, focusing on their experience of legislation introduced to facilitate this process, the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015 [New South Wales (NSW)].
By reviewing sales listings, development applications and media coverage, and interviewing owners, lawyers and estate agents, the authors map out collective sale activity in a case study area in Sydney’s northwest.
Strata collective sales are slow and difficult to complete, even when planning and market drivers align. Owners find the Strata Scheme Development Act 2015 (NSW) difficult to navigate and it has not prevented strategic blocking attempts by competing developers. The long timelines required to organise collective sales can result in failure if the market shifts in the interim. Nonetheless, owners remain interested in selling collectively.
This case study is important for understanding the barriers to redevelopment to achieve a more compact city. It highlights lessons for other jurisdictions considering similar legislative changes. It also suggests that legislative change alone is insufficient to resolve the planning challenges created by hyper-fragmentation of land through strata-title development.
The research upon which this paper was based was funded by an Australian Research Council grant DP200101744. We would like to thank those people who were generous enough to speak with us about their experiences with collective sales. We would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper.
Corrigendum: It has come to the attention of the publisher that the article: Easthope, H., Crommelin, L., Gillon, C., Pinnegar, S., Ruming, K. and Liu, S. (2023), “Redeveloping the compact city: the challenges of strata collective sales”, Journal of Property, Planning and Environmental Law, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPPEL-04-2023-0016, included some text which was legally incorrect. The sentence ‘Meanwhile, Kahu Holdings Pty Ltd and 2-4 Lachlan Avenue Pty Ltd commenced proceedings in the NSW Land and Environment Court (NSWLEC) as dissenting owners’ should read ‘Meanwhile, Kahu Holdings Pty Ltd and 2-4 Lachlan Avenue Pty Ltd joined proceedings in the NSW Land and Environment Court (NSWLEC) as dissenting owners.’ The authors sincerely apologise for this error.
Easthope, H., Crommelin, L., Gillon, C., Pinnegar, S., Ruming, K. and Liu, S. (2024), "Redeveloping the compact city: the challenges of strata collective sales", Journal of Property, Planning and Environmental Law, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 51-67. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPPEL-04-2023-0016
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