Speculative Projects - Fremantle

On Saturday 5th December, The Henry Project hosted an event where a couple of speculative projects for co-ownership scenarios in the Fremantle, WA area were presented. This post will give a summary of those projects. The intention with presenting these conceptual designs was to give a clearer idea of what these co-ownership ventures could look like, as well as an opinion of the costs associated with them.

The properties chosen are currently on the market in the Fremantle area. When making selections, we focused on properties that appeared to be in good physical condition, and of a large size - preferably four bedrooms, with two or more living spaces. Regarding the designs, we have tried wherever possible to use existing rooms and wet areas and to limit the extent of modifications - this is primarily to limit the budget.

What we hope these examples will show, and what is worth stressing, is that the conceptual solutions shown here are by no means the only solution. Depending on the needs and budgets of the parties interested and ready to enter into a venture, numerous different solutions could be possible.


One property that was explored is in Beaconsfield. It is a large four bedroom house, with a study and several living areas. The images following show the existing conditions of the property.

What we suggested could be done to this property, is to retain the current kitchen/ dining / alfresco area, which forms the core of the house, and alter the remainder of the house into four one bedroom apartments. The communal living area would be accessed separately via the rear garden, with each unit having its own separate entry - either from the front or from a side access way. There is a shared rear garden also.

From previous discussions, it was clear that people are keen to embrace the idea of communal living, but still wanted to have their own privacy and independence. So for this reason, whilst allowing for a generous communal area, we have also allowed for each unit to have their own living spaces, and also their own kitchenettes and ensuites: to be entirely self-contained. This means the occupiers can choose the levels of their social interaction with more flexibility. Below are the existing floor plan by the realtor, and a proposed floor plan of this scenario.

Existing Floor Plan

Proposed Floor Plan

(Communal areas shown in orange, units in blue)

To give an opinion of the costs involved for four parties to enter into co-ownership of this property, a purchase price for the property of $850,000 has been assumed, and a renovation budget of $150,000. The costs for each party are based on the proportion of the overall building that they will exclusively occupy:

Unit 1 26% $272,000 Unit 2 27% $277,000 Unit 3 24% $246,000 Unit 4 23% $241,000

(Note: these costs include stamp duty, but exclude conveyancing, building inspections, co-ownership agreements and planning or building permits. This applies to all costs to follow.)

Another scenario for this same property, which owners could explore, is to replace the communal area shown above with an additional studio apartment; this would allow five parties to occupy the site, with a breakdown of costs as below:

Unit 1 22% $226,000 Unit 2 22% $230,000 Unit 3 20% $204,000 Unit 4 19% $200,000 Unit 5 17% $175,000


This next example is of a similar quality building, in that it is in good condition, and quite large. This property currently has the living areas on the first floor, to take advantage of the ocean views, with the bedrooms on the ground floor. It also has quite a large rear yard, which currently has a large shed in it – this was advertised as a possible ‘granny flat’. Following are images showing the existing conditions for this site:

One scenario for this property could involve altering the building into four self contained two bedroom units: two on the ground floor, with direct access to the rear yard, and two on the first floor with access to a shared balcony facing the ocean. Each unit would again have separate entry, with the ground floor units entered from the front and the first floor units accessed from both sides. The 'shed' could be upgraded to a communal kitchen/ dining and laundry facility. There would also be a shared rear garden. Below are the existing floor plans by the realtor and the proposed floor plan for this scenario.

Existing Floor Plan

Proposed Floor Plan

To give an opinion of the costs involved to allow four parties to enter into co-ownership in this scenario, a purchase price of $1.1M has been assumed and a renovation budget of $350,000. This scenario would involve an extension of the building to the rear, and this is reflected in the higher renovation budget. Again, based on a proportion of exclusive space each party would own, the costs would look like this:

Scenario 1 Unit 1 25% $375,000 Unit 2 27% $405,000 Unit 3 24% $360,000 Unit 4 24% $360,000

An alternative scenario for this same property could involve altering the building to accommodate a two storey four bedroom unit, with a two bedroom unit adjacent on the ground floor and two one bedroom units on the first floor. A similar arrangement for the communal areas would be adopted, as can be seen in the following plan.

An opinion of costs for this alternative scenario, assuming a purchase price of $1.1M and a renovation budget of $320,000 would look like this:

Scenario 2 Unit 1 25% $368,000 Unit 2 47% $690,000 Unit 3 13% $191,000 Unit 4 15% $220,000


These conceptual designs are not intended to be an iron clad representation of what could, or should be done with each property. Rather, they are intended to show broad solutions, and to highlight that what will drive each solution are the specific needs of the parties involved. The budgets, locational preferences and spatial requirements of each group, and their desired level of social interaction, will dictate the architectural solution. Not only this, but how aligned the co-partners opinions are on the day to day running of their household will also obviously impact how harmoniously they live together. For these reasons, it's pretty clear that the partnership between a group of co-owners will undoubtedly be the key ingredient in a successful venture.

For this reason, our current focus is on providing a platform and venues that give people the opportunity to meet others interested in co-ownership and to start discussing their needs and aspirations. We have set up an online group where people can create a member profile, and start interacting in various forums, based on common interests, desirable properties or any topic which is of importance to them. We hope that, should you have an interest in co-ownership, even if you are not clear on how that interest might transpire, that you take a few minutes to become a member and start engaging with our online community. We invite you to visit the online group by following the menu links.

Do you have an opinion on the properties shown here or on the idea of co-ownership? We welcome your comments below.

#CoLivingOpportunities #Fremantle