COVID-19 related uncertainty, high rental demand and low interest rates are predicted to make micro development a key property trend in the coming years.

Perth-based Zegna Building has launched a new micro development arm and released its first project using the model in Innaloo.

“The days of being able to buy an established property in Perth and see it double in price every seven to 10 years are gone so finding ways to get into the market where you can create equity at the start, not the end of the process, is vital,” said Zegna founder Robert Zupanovich.

“While most people can’t afford to undertake an entire project themselves, they can become a micro developer and reap the rewards of apartment development with very little financial outlay and low risk while also generating equity swiftly.”

In micro developments, individuals join together to build a small project – constructed and project managed by professionals – where, typically, each investor develops one apartment. 

The group shares the cost of purchasing the land and individuals are named on the land title of their own slice of the property. 

Some of the funds provided initially are returned at the end of the project and individuals can sell, rent or live in their apartment on completion.

“With our bespoke Botanica development of nine executive residences in the heart of Innaloo, the average micro developer generated 15-18 percent equity in 18 months and equity is the key to property ownership in the post COVID-19 age,” said Mr Zupanovich.

“With this model, you can build equity faster by being the developer of your own apartment rather than hand that money to the developer if you buy an established property.

“Each buyer only had to put down for their portion of the land and set up costs to get into the project and the majority of that went back to them in cash when the development was finished.

“With all-time-low interest rates, keeping that amount of money in the bank is not going to get you the same return as micro developing.”

Botanica, at 3 Dongara St, is tucked behind Innaloo shopping centre offering great facilities, good freeway access and proximity to the city and ocean.

“As with all good developments, micro developments are all about picking the right locations like Subiaco, Shenton Park, Fremantle, Innaloo, Nedlands, Victoria Park, Como, and Booragoon,” Mr Zupanovich explained.

“With a great area, good planning and a builder with a solid history of self property development, micro developing is an ideal way to get into property cost-effectively, or for parents to help their kids get in to the market.” 

A registered builder since 1991, Mr Zupanovich created Zegna in 2013 after working for builders as a site supervisor and project manager building mid-rise apartments for ten years. 

Zegna is also working on a $5.3 million boutique project in Innaloo.

Acumen Apartments on Minilya St features nine apartments.

Construction is also soon to get underway on a $7.45 million three-storey boutique apartment building in Brechin Court, Duncraig which features 16 apartments.


In micro developments, each buyer is jointly responsible for the construction finance and the costs of development applications, architect designs and more, are shared.

The land purchase is funded by the buyers, while a bank finances the development of the project, arranged by Zegna.

The risk of the development falls equally with each buyer.

As an owner-occupier micro developer who is part of the project from the outset, there are no transfer costs, stamp duty on the end value, or capital gains to pay if you live in the property for 12 months and it’s your sole place of residence.

Buyers only need to be able to pay cash for their share of the land, plus select costs at the outset of the project. Individual finance for each buyer’s apartment is not required until the development is finished but pre-approval is necessary from the outset.