New housing trend: Aussies want more space


Every week we seem to hear of a new development or trend to come about as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – and one seems set to impact the housing market for the foreseeable future.

4a5e07e900000578 5522757 There Are Six Bedrooms Including A Large Main Bedroom With A Dre A 3 1521812823364You see, after years of house sizes shrinking, and of Aussies favouring low-maintenance homes with petite yards smaller footprints, new homes are getting bigger again.

It comes about as part of a general “rethink” of living arrangements, according to CommSec chief economist Craig James, who says that in recent years, home builders had been overseeing progressively smaller houses on average.

During 2018-19, the CommSec Home Size Trends Report confirms that the average house built was the smallest in almost two decades.

That trend appears to be flipping, however, with the 2020 CommSec report confirming that the average size of a newly built house in Australia in 2019-20 is 235.8m2 – up 2.9 per cent on the previous year.

Newly built apartments also increased in size, with the average new apartment hitting a decade-high of 136.8 square metres, up 6 per cent year-on-year.

“Before last year, Aussie home buyers had been building progressively smaller houses on average. Aussies had embraced apartments as well as smaller houses on smaller lot sizes. In fact, the size of the average house built last year (2018/19) was the smallest in 17 years,” James says.

“So while Aussies built bigger homes over the past year, the big question is whether the decade-long downtrend in home size has ended? COVID-19 may play a big role in answering that question.”

The CommSec Home Trends report shows that even before COVID-19, Australian homebuilders were indicating their preference for slightly bigger homes, James says.

However, government-imposed lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic “have prompted more Aussies to re-assess their housing needs”.

“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,” he says.

Which state is leading the pack?

Interesting, the state-by-state breakdown of home building trends reveals some interesting trends relevant to different markets.


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