9 Jul 2018

The most expensive land in Australia might be graves. In this article, Urbis Senior Consultant Kate Ryan, explains why to Domain News

Inch-for-inch, Australian burial plots are among the most valuable real estate in the country.

And with one-third of all dearly departed Australians opting for burial over cremation, current projections have several Australian cities running out of space in 20-30 years.

And with a 2sqm grave in Melbourne General Cemetery already costing $14,585 – a “platinum” grave costing three times that not including funeral costs – and a resting place in Sydney’s Rookwood, the largest cemetery in the southern hemisphere, running from $8000-$40,000, prices could rise as space runs out.

Two problems are leading to the shortfall, according to UNSW and Urbis researcher Kate Ryan.

First, while graves in Adelaide and Perth are rented for 25, 50 or 99 years, those in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane are permanent – the crowded east-coast cities may soon need to follow the lead from the west.

There isn’t much planning or attention paid to cemeteries compared to residential growth.

Kate Ryan, Senior Consultant - Planning

And second, the majority of major city cemetery land was set aside over 110 years ago, with minimal additional land added in recent years, despite a booming population.

“There’s two solutions, finding more land and developing more cemeteries, or using cemetery space more sustainably,” Ms Ryan said.

“This is a new issue we’re grappling with. In Sydney, a lot of our larger cemeteries were established in the 1800s.

“There isn’t much planning or attention paid to cemeteries compared to residential growth.”

This article was first published in Domain News. To view the full article click here