Not so long ago the great Australian dream was a three-bedroom house on a block large enough for the children to play, and room for the backyard barbecue. But that trend has shifted dramatically in recent years.
The average Australia home is now among the largest in the world, with features like spare rooms, multiple bathrooms, numerous living spaces and outdoor entertaining areas.
So let’s investigate how the Australian home has changed in recent years.
According to research recently outlined in The Conversation the average Australian home has more than doubled in size within the past 60 years, increasing from around 100 square metres in 1950 to around 240 square metres today.
“This makes them the largest in the world, ahead of Canada and the United States. At the same time, the average number of people living in each household has been declining. This means that the average floor area per person has skyrocketed from 30 square metres to around 87 square metres.”
And within Australia, New South Wales is home to the largest houses. The Australian Bureau of Statistics notes between 2003 and 2013, the average size of new house in NSW increased from 252.2 square metres to 266.2.
So where within the home is this increase taking place?
Room to spare
Australians love the luxury of a spare room for guests. In 2016 the average household size was 2.6 people according to the recent Census, but the average number of bedrooms per private dwelling, which includes apartments, was 3.1.
Almost one third of Australian properties (32.2%) have four bedrooms or more, while 41.1% are three-bedroom homes.
CommSec notes since the first Census was conducted in 1911, the number of persons per dwelling consistently fell until 2006.
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 have more homes been built over time but other factors like fewer children and divorces have resulted in smaller families,” CommSec explains.
“Then, as more children chose to stay at home, and multi-generation households became more common, that statistic steadily shifted. From 2006 to 2013, the number of people per dwelling rose.
“At face value, the modest increase in average household size may not seem significant. But it was the first increase in household size – and as a consequence, the average number of people in Australian homes – in at least a century.”
Meanwhile these rooms are getting larger. A 3m x 3m bedroom used to be more than enough to suffice, but as people take to their rooms for activities other than sleeping, rooms are getting larger and generally they feature more storage than they used to.
Inbuilt cupboards are now the norm, with room for a desk, TV or sitting area in main bedrooms also more common.
Where once a family would share a bathroom, that’s no longer likely to be the case, with two or more bathrooms common in most homes. An ensuite off the main bedroom is now a fixture, and chances are there’s an additional toilet to the main bathroom as well.
Extra living space
Australia’s switched on, plugged in and endlessly entertained lifestyle is also impacting property sizes. Multiple living areas are now common, including additional spaces like a media room for the sole purpose of watching TV or gaming.
The outdoor entertaining area
The backyard barbecue has always been a big deal for Aussies but now it’s better catered to. Entertaining areas where life seamlessly transitions from the interior to the exterior are common, with patios often incorporated into the roofline of new builds.
Meanwhile a two-car garage that’s part f the home is more common than ever allowing us to move easily to the two or more vehicles that 54.3% of the population is likely to have.
With all our gadgetry, toys and trophies, storage has become a big deal, and it’s now factored into our homes. From built-in bedroom cupboards to linen cupboards, butler’s pantries and garage shelves, we now build and expect the storage to accommodate our lifestyle.
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