There are three major residential development typologies present in Australia:

  • Apartments (high density)
  • Townhouses (medium density)
  • Dual Occupancy/Duplex (low density)

Apartment or high density living encompasses the largest number of dwellings, typically ranging from a boutique development of 4 dwellings, to huge 1000+ apartment complexes. This typology usually produces the greatest return on investment. Replicating typical apartment designs, smaller dwelling footprint and construction methodology result in lower development costs.

Townhouse developments typically comprise of three or more dwellings, with two to four bedrooms. These are quickly becoming the next sort after building typology for investors who cannot quite afford a house, or for people looking to downsize with minimal maintenance. Like apartments, the design may be replicated and typically share a common wall, reducing the initial outlay for the development.

Finally, we have low density developments. This typology really favours the first-time developer, or a family looking to gain another income stream by dividing their property in two by erecting a dual occupancy or duplex. Dual occupancy dwellings are becoming increasingly popular house alternatives.

General Development Pros

  • Creating another stream of income
  • Unlocking equity
  • Return on investment

General Development Cons

  • General risk
  • Need to know and be confident in the product you’re selling
  • Research required
  • Time required for approval and construction must be considered.

Multi Residential

Multi-Residential properties range from bachelorettes and row houses to low, medium and high-rise apartments all with seven or more self-contained units. To be considered a self-contained unit, a unit must include a kitchen, a bathroom and a separate entrance.

With the growing popularity of urban living, apartment buildings have very specific requirements for construction systems to maintain healthy and safe environments for their occupants.


There are many advantages of owning multi-family real estate. These include access to easier and better financing opportunities, the ability to quickly grow one’s rental property portfolio and the luxury of hiring just one property manager. A few single-family homes spread out across the city require a lot of management or even a few property managers. With one Multi Residential building, you only need one manager.

Medium Density

Low rise medium density residential development is development that contains more than one dwelling and has a height of less than 10m. Typically, it results in a net density of 25-45 dwellings per hectare. This includes the following: terrace style housing on torrens or strata titled lots, dual occupancies and semi-detached dwellings, villa and townhouse developments, community titled, master-planned and medium density developments, manor houses and ‘one on top of other’ dual occupancies – buildings of between 2-4 dwellings.


One of the advantages of medium density housing is that it offers a greater diversity of more affordable housing options in areas that will be made increasingly desirable by virtue of their density. If comply with the required development standards and design criteria, then a number of medium density developments can be assessed as complying development and therefore bypass the rigmarole of the DA process. Medium density housing, as opposed to high rise apartment blocks or large, free standing houses on wide roads, has the potential to create community. Instead of being alienating or distancing, medium density housing is on an approachable, accommodating scale. It has the potential to be a major factor in the development of new centres where pedestrian traffic and public transport outstrip car use, where pockets of park greenery and narrow streets invite you to make contact with your neighbours, and where businesses are tucked in next to shops which are alongside bars which huddle up to supermarkets.

Dual Occupancy

A Dual Occupancy Development, or Duplex, is a residential building containing two homes that share a common central wall. This includes two-story houses having a complete apartment on each floor and also side-by-side apartments on a single lot that share a common wall.


Live in one, rent out the other or rent out both

To get a significant rental return from your duplex you have the option to rent out both homes and collect two rental incomes, or live in one and rent out the other. The rental income will significantly reduce the financial strain of your mortgage repayments and save you the hassle of having to actually live with roommates – bonus!

Get the most out of your land with two for the price of one

Because you can fit a duplex on a narrow block, you can fit two homes on the one block and get double the return than if you were building one home on the same sized block. For investors, you can sell or rent out two dwellings, as opposed to having the one income from the one property.