Are new outer suburban homes getting smaller?

There was a flurry of almost salacious excitement in the media at the end of last year when an ABS study found that Australians have the largest homes in the world. Worse, it found Victorians have the biggest homes in the country.

The Age reported that houses and apartments in Australia are bigger than those in the United States, which has traditionally had the most spacious homes:

“While Australian home sizes have risen 10 per cent over the past decade, research shows sizes of new American homes have fallen from a peak of 212 square metres to 201.5 square metres”.

Now property group Oliver Hume has thrown some new light on home sizes in Melbourne. They say that excluding Melbourne’s west, the median size of homes in the other five growth areas actually fell slightly over the last three years.

The largest absolute fall was in Cardinia, where the median home size fell from 267 sq m to 209 sq m, or by 57 sq m. Home sizes also fell in Casey, Hume and Whittlesea but increased in Wyndham and Melton. This does not, however, indicate an across-the-board change in preferences toward smaller houses.

According to Oliver Hume’s research manager, Mr Andrew Perkins, much of the drop in house size can be attributed to the increase in the number of first home buyers in the 2007-2008 period, when they accounted for an unprecedented 70% of all sales across the growth areas. Read the rest of this entry »

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