Australians are building the world’s largest houses as the coronavirus pandemic forces people to spend more time at home.
According to CommSec’s latest Home Size Trends report, released today, the size of the average new Australian house built in 2019-20 grew by 2.9 per cent to 235.8 square metres, the largest increase in more than a decade.
Not only that, but the size of the average Australian apartment has grown too, jumping by 6 per cent over the last year to 136.8 square metres.
On average, the Australian Capital Territory is home to Australia’s biggest houses (256.3 square metres), followed by Victoria (250.3 square metres), NSW (235 square metres) and Western Australia (232.5 square metres).
Meanwhile, Tasmania has the smallest homes (179 square metres).
Victoria has the largest “other dwellings” – or townhouses and apartments – at 121.3 square metres, while Tasmania also has the smallest “other dwellings”.
Aussies have been downsizing for years – then Covid-19 hit
The figures defy a long-standing trend of Australians progressively downsizing their homes over the last few years, according to CommSec chief economist Craig James.
“So while Aussies built bigger homes over the past year, the big question is whether the decade-long downtrend in home size has ended,” he said.
The lockdowns have caused Australians to rethink what they want in a house, James added.
“With more time spent at home for both leisure and work, some Aussies are looking for bigger homes. Others are coming to the belief that the layout of their home needs changing.”
For months now, property economists have observed a trend of moving regional as the properties are more affordable than metropolitan cities’. The widespread adoption of remote work has further exacerbated this trend.
And this may trigger a preference away from city apartments in favour of bigger homes in regional or suburban areas, said James.
The demand for bigger homes have “enormous implications” for the building, construction and trades industry, who have been given a major boost by the major infrastructure projects that have been fast-tracked by State and Federal Governments as well as schemes like HomeBuilder.
“It is also clear that a raft of government agencies and businesses, especially those that are reliant upon or housing-focussed, will need to be agile in monitoring the new housing trends,” James said.