AUSTRALIA’S love of huge houses with extra bedrooms, a study, media or family room may be coming to an end but our homes are still the biggest in the world.
The latest figures show the average new home built in Australia is still 10 per cent bigger than its counterpart in the United States and 9 per cent bigger than in New Zealand.
The average floor area of a new free-standing house in Australia is 243 square metres.
In the US, house sizes shrank over the last three years to 222 square metres and in Denmark they are 137 square meters, the biggest homes in Europe, according to Bureau of Statistics and other data compiled for Commonwealth Securities.
But the average size of the Australian family home, after increasing by 40 per cent in the past 20 years, might have reached a peak.
NSW still has the biggest houses in the country. Victoria’s were fourth largest at 246 square metres after the Northern Territory and Queensland.
Changing consumer behaviour, an ageing population wanting to live is smaller homes close to amenities and less interest from Gen Y in buying a home had resulted in average home sizes “going sideways” over the past five years, the CommSec research said.
While that was the overall trend, in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, homes were still getting bigger, but in South Australia, the ACT and Tasmania new houses were smaller than those built a decade ago.
Over the past few years, the number of people living in each house had risen to about 2.66 per household, up from 2.53 people in the early 1990s, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates.
“At face value, the modest increase in average household size may not seem significant,” the Commsec research said. “But it has been the first increase in household size – and as a consequence, the average number of people in Australian homes – in at least a century.”
The change might reflect that children were living at home for longer periods and, with houses having ample bedrooms, bathrooms, family rooms and other spaces, different generations were choosing to stick together in the same dwelling, the research said.
It could also have implications for the building industry if Australians were looking to better utilise existing dwellings, it might reduce demand for building materials, increase demand for renovations and lead to people moving house less frequently, the research said.
Simon Johanson, theage.com.au