Australian home size looks set to fall

By webmaster

Australian houses and apartments remain larger than their international counterparts, yet data suggests this may be changing, a report has found.

The average floor area of new homes (houses and apartments) stood at 214.1 square metres in the nine months to March 2011, up five per cent over the past decade, according to data commissioned from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) by CommSec.

This was estimated to be 10 per cent bigger than in the United States and 9 per cent bigger than in New Zealand.

“The biggest homes in Australia (houses and other dwellings) can be found in Western Australia (229.4m²), followed by Northern Territory (228.7m²), Victoria (219.2m²), NSW (218.6m²), Queensland (214.0m²), South Australia (177.5m²), Tasmania (174.3m²), and the ACT (164.6m²),” Commsec said.

But the size of houses is declining, Commsec said.

“Despite still building the largest homes in the world, Australia has constructed a larger number of smaller apartments over the past two years, resulting in a reduction of the average home size. In the nine months to March the average new apartment was 133.7 square metres, the smallest result in a decade,” it said.

Commsec said the size of Australian houses appears to be nearing its peak, a statement supported by home builder Stockland earlier this month.

“In 2008/09, the average new house hit a record high of 248 square metres," Commsec said. "The average house size eased to 239 square metres in 2009/10 before edging back up to 243.6 square metres in the nine months to March 2011. In the March quarter alone, the average house completed was 247.4 square metres.

"In terms of apartments, the peak was probably back in 2004/05 at 143.7 square metres," Commsec continued.

"The size of a newly-built apartment fell sharply to 133.7 square metres in the nine months to March 2011 – a decade low. In the March quarter alone apartment size was even smaller at 128.9 square metres."

It appeared Australians were making more use of their homes, Commsec added.

“For more than a century, the number of people occupying a dwelling has been falling. But the latest data suggests that the number of persons per dwelling rose from around 2.53 in 2003 and 2004 to around 2.66 persons currently.”

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