9 Nov 2020 | Source: Business Insider
Photo by John O'Nolan on Unsplash
Australia is building the biggest homes in the world once again.
A new CommSec Home Size Trends report found that new houses built in Australia during the 2019/2020 financial year were on average 235.8 square metres, a 2.9% jump and the biggest increase in 11 years.
Average apartment sizes have ballooned as well, up 6% to a decade high of 136.8 square metres.
The report uses looks at the average size of houses and apartments over time, with data commissioned by CommSec from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
“Eleven years ago Aussies were building the biggest detached (free-standing) houses that they had ever built,” the report said. “And these houses were – not surprisingly – the biggest in world. But Australia seceded the title of builder of the world’s biggest houses a few years later in 2013.”
Australia had been building smaller homes from that point before recently pivoting to create large ones.
All up, the report found that the average new home, including houses and apartments, built in Australia during the last financial year was 195.8 square metres, a 3% increase to reach a six-year high.
Globally, new Aussie houses are bigger than in the United States. During the 2019 calendar year, houses built in the States dropped for the fourth year, tumbling 3% to 233.1 square metres.
In New Zealand, the average size of a new house as of June 2020 was 157.4 square metres and Canada, 221.1 square metres.
“The UK Office of National Statistics and United Nations indicate that the average floor area of new homes built in the US, Australia and New Zealand were far larger than in European economies,” the report added.
CommSec Chief Economist Craig James highlighted that there was a trend toward building smaller houses in Australia before 2019.
“Aussies had embraced apartments as well as smaller houses on smaller lot sizes,” he said in a statement. “In fact the size of the average house built last year (2018/19) was the smallest in 17 years.
“So while Aussies built bigger homes over the past year, the big question is whether the decade-long downtrend in home size has ended. And COVID-19 may play a big role in answering that question.”
How house sizes differ between states
Looking at the different Aussie states, residents in ACT built the biggest homes, which were on average 256.3 square metres during the 2019/2020 financial year. It was followed by Victoria (250.3 square metres), New South Wales (235 square metres) and Western Australia (232.5 square metres).
Between the most populous states in Australia, average house sizes in New South Wales are 6% smaller than its Victoria. Tasmania had the smallest houses built, at 179 square metres.
When it came to buildings such as apartments and town houses, the largest built were in Victoria at 155 square metres. Then came Western Australia (150.5 square metres), South Australia (149.8 square metres) and the Northern Territory (145.3 square metres).
The smallest of these buildings were built in New South Wales (121.3 square metres) and Tasmania (132.5 square metres).
James added that coronavirus lockdowns have caused Australians to reassess their housing needs.
“With more time spent at home for both leisure and work, some Aussies are looking for bigger homes,” he said. “Others are coming to the belief that the layout of their home needs changing.”
James believes the pandemic could pave the way for more changes across the housing market, which could have implications for both builders and retailers.
“There have been shifting trends in the sizes and styles of homes over the past decade and COVID-19 is throwing another element into the mix,” he said. “More Aussies could embrace working from home in a bigger way, opting to move away from apartments in, or near the CBD, in preference for a larger home in a regional or suburban ‘lifestyle’ area.”
Photo by Maximillian Conacher on Unsplash