Australian home size hits 20-year low

How big is your home?

Probably bigger than you need, considering many Australians have a spare room or two at home.   36250101_l

But maybe things are changing?

According to a recent CommSec report the average floor size of an Australian home (houses and apartments) has fallen to a 20-year low.

The average new home is 189.8 square metres, down 2.7 per cent over the past year and the smallest since 1997.

This in reflects the increased building of apartments (around half of all new building is apartments) as…-

We’re still building big free standing homes.

The average new house built in 2016/17 was 233.3 square metres, the biggest in four years and more than 11 per cent bigger than 20 years ago. 

In fact the average house built today is over 30 per cent bigger than 30 years ago (the 1986/87 financial year).

In fact Australia is still building some of the biggest houses in the world, but, on average, US houses are still bigger by around 5 per cent.

And US homes (houses and apartments) are 8 per cent bigger.

 Victorians are building the biggest houses in Australia, ahead of Western Australia and NSW.

But notably the average size of houses built in South Australia in 2016/17 was the biggest in the state’s history.

still building big houses

home sizes fall

Home size peaks, more apartments, occupancy falls again

Since the first Census was conducted in 1911, and up to 2006, the number of persons per dwelling consistently fell.

In 1911 there was an average of 4.5 people in every home. But by 2006 this ratio had almost halved to around 2.4 people in every home.

Not only were more homes being built but other factors like families with fewer children, more divorces fewer marriages taking place had resulted in smaller families.

fewer people bigger homespeople per dwelling

What are the implications for interest rates and investors?

Australians continue to build some of the biggest houses in the world.

But an increasing proportion of Australians – especially in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – also want smaller homes like apartments, semi-detached homes and town houses.

As a result, the average home size continues to fall – now at 20-year lows.

Generation Y, Millennials, couples and small families want to live closer to work, cafes, restaurants, shopping and airports and are giving up living space for better proximity to the desirable amenities.

So consolidation is occurring in the eastern states. Property Market

Older free-standing houses are making way for apartments.

And while building completions hit record highs in the year to March, approvals to build homes are rising again.

It is important to note that there are differences in house size across Australia.

In the past year the average size of houses built in both South Australia and Western Australia has lifted.

In fact South Australia built the biggest homes on records going back 30 years.

And on average Western Australian houses built in 2016/17 were just short of record highs for the state.

Clearly the changes in housing demand and supply, and the differences across the country, have major implications for builders, developers and  property investors.


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Bryce Yardney


Bryce is a property development specialist, having successfully sourced, project managed and completed hundreds of development projects for Metropole’s clients, helping them create substantial wealth.Visit

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